Kyusha Cemetery: </br> Where Old JDM Cars Go To Die
A curious sighting

I love Japan – I really do. I wouldn’t have spent more than half my life here if I didn’t. But there are some peculiar things about this country which casual observers just wouldn’t understand. Japan can be a curious place that’s full of bizarre surprise. From the sheer differences between Eastern and Western culture, to traditions and the weird things you come across during your day-to-day life. After a while that initial element of surprise slowly fades away; you continue to notice peculiarities, but – just like the locals – no longer give them more than a uninterested glance. Here’s a good example: if I happened to see a middle aged man dressed as a woman and sporting a disturbingly-short mini skirt as he casually awaits his stop on the train, it wouldn’t be anything that would particularly grab me. Live in Tokyo for some years and these sorts of things become frequent occurrences. Cars too, fall into this category. It’s actually come to the point where I just don’t even acknowledge exotics driving by anymore.


There are so many supercars out on the streets of the capital, and with the line of work that I’m in, even modified domestics have began to seem almost normal. Therefore, I can say the element of surprise is somewhat missing in my life. It’s not that I’m jaded, but more a case of being a little spoiled, if that makes any sense.


So I’m very glad that back in August, when I dropped by Rocky Auto to shoot its carbon Hakosuka, we decided to take the half-hour drive up to Watanabe-san’s private garage in the mountain area around his house. Because it was there – just a few kilometers from our destination – that I spotted abandoned Japanese classics scattered randomly across the hilly terrain on each side of the road, an culminating with a sudden high concentration of cars in a wide open space. So once I had finished photographing Watanabe’s garage…


… I just had to take the Lexus IS350 press car I was driving back down the road for a closer look.


It turned out that a long time ago this was a yard where Watanabe-san stored some of his stock. As business picked up he ended up moving his operation to the center of Okazaki city, while this area and the hills around it – which he owns – remained a space to keep cars he no longer needed.


After jumping a little fence I walked down the gravel path where a welcome sense of surprise hit me.


What the hell did I stumble on? But more to the point, ‘What a bloody waste.’


There is no hiding the fact that the sort of work Rocky Auto performs on vintage cars generally requires donor cars to be sacrificed. Engines need to come from somewhere…


… as do transmissions…


… and of course, the occasional body panel too. Over the years Watanabe-san has sourced an incredible number of donor cars – vehicles that were found at junkyards or bought cheaply at auction, like this four-door Skyline.


They have served their purpose and after being gutted they have been left here to rot away.

Stuck in limbo

Seeing years’ worth of vegetation growing out of dashboards and engine bays was almost poetic. Once the pride and joys of their owners, they were now stuck here, in limbo, rusting away into nothingness.


I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing the potential in every single car that I noticed sticking out of the tall grass…


… cars like this S30 Fairlady, which wearing bolt-on fender flares and a ducktail rear spoiler, had obviously been someones modified project. The correct offset wheels are long gone, but even with chunks of paint missing, it’s hard not to think, ‘What if.’


Not too far away was this GC10 Skyline 2000GT; that unmistakable Hakosuka front-end instantly striking a cord with any enthusiast…


… despite this being a pretty run-of-the-mill four-door sedan. It was among some of the best condition cars in an eerie place I couldn’t help but baptize, The Kyusha Cemetery.


Nothing a bit of a sand-down and a fresh coat of paint couldn’t fix? Probably not…


Other cars however, didn’t fair too well – like this rolled and very sorry looking KGC10. A shell that could still donate both of its doors perhaps.


Did I say doors?


With cars filling the whole area right up to the…


… thick neighboring forest, I continued my walk.


The element of surprise was reintroduced with pretty much every other glance I took.

The element of surprise

There were some slightly more modern cars laid to rest too, like this R30 Skyline sedan.


The one next to it, still proudly displaying its 1984 Nissan 50th Anniversary badge on the grille.


This 280Z was buried in foliage so deep that only a few sections were visible.


In fact, I had to take a bit of a hike in my flip-flops just to get to the front of the car.


This Mazda Savanna RX-3 looked like it hadn’t spent too much time sitting in the same spot…


… and seeing that it was positioned sort in the middle, I think it was probably one of the last cars to be added here. Curious faded light purple body color aside, this thing appeared to be in totally salvageable condition. With a bit of rust here and there and a nice set of Watanabes, it was just begging to be rescued!


The RB20DET….


… much like the 2JZ-GE or GTE, are some of the most popular engines that Watanabe transplants into the restomod classics that he creates, hence the R32 sedan and this Soarer being some of the other cars I spotted.


If you recall my story on the Rocky Auto secret garage, I did touch on the fact that the Autech version of the R32 sedan is a sought after model for Watanabe-san…


… mainly because it came with a hand-built naturally aspirated version of the RB26 – the RB26DE. Add a nice custom exhaust and a set of velocity stacks into the equation and you have the perfect engine to swap into a ’70s Nissan classic.


Out of all the cars I stumbled across, this one was probably saddest looking – a mid-’60s Datsun Fairlady 2000 that had been cut in half and turned into a place to stack random body parts.


All of this was conjuring up the same exact feelings I had back in 2009 when I came across a few decaying old Skylines up in Tochigi-ken parked in an abandoned gas station.


It’s exciting coming across a sight like this, but at the same time very depressing. Perhaps 20 or 30 years ago nobody really cared about these old cars…


… but now, as the vintage car scenes continues to grow every year, well it’s almost upsetting.


One more for you rotary guys. Gotta love the kaido racer influenced rear spoiler on this SA22.

Rust has won the battle

Here is another unique find – a Datsun 410 Bluebird…


… a popular sedan from the mid ’60s that has done a decent job of fighting the unavoidable decay that years of exposure to the elements brings.


Underneath all that rust there is still lots of character from a bygone era.


The next generation of the Bluebird, the 510, was also well represented with this 1600 Deluxe sedan.


However for a lot of the cars there, there is no denying the fact that rust has very much won the battle…


… there is very little that can be done for many of these cars…


… they have literally become part of the environment that surrounds them.


After spending 30 minutes or so wandering around I had to get back to my second photo shoot of the day…


… so I slowly began to retrace my footsteps back to where I came from; quietly leaving these cars in their undisturbed, and likely final, resting place.


So it seems that Japan can still surprise me. My Speedhunting adventures definitely take me to some pretty cool places, but this particular ‘car yard’ is one that I definitely won’t be forgetting anytime soon.



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Aaaah no! We need to get us a necromancer out to that graveyard stat!!


I feel sorry for those car.


Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo! We must save the Hakusoka and the RX3!  My dad used to have an RX3 4 door sedan in red, i still remember the day we paid a scrap yard £10 to haul it away, standing there as a child not realising what a great car it was, i dont think i'll ever get over it.  I still think about that day 20 years later and wish i could go back in time to save it :(


Excellent post, Very refreshing !
Did that Zonda help you become immune to "exotics"? haha
But yes, I can completely relate to being indifferent to "exotics"after awhile. Being born & raised in Hong Kong, Mclaren's MP4-12C are more common than the BRZ/86 in my eyes haha. 
That said junk yards are pretty awesome, I've always thought of them as treasure troves of future projects which will never happen haha. 
Very enjoyable, keep up the good work!


Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....... SO MUCH SADNESS :(


It's amazing what feelings we humans can project onto pieces of metal. It really feels like a graveyard. It amazes me that it's legal in Japan to just store cars in a middle of a field though. You can't do that here, due to environmental reasons I guess. You have to store them properly or take them to a scrapyard.


If those do not rotten the existing would have less value.


This reminds me of the group 5 celica LB turbo that was found in a junkyard similar to this. Very sad.


I love junkyards as a whole, but seeing one with those cars in it makes it even cooler. Not that I want to see cars in pieces and rotting away, but there's something about the look and feel of junkyards that is so cool. Especially when it's old cars that everybody loves.


I love junkyards as a whole, but seeing one with those cars in it makes it even cooler. Not that I want to see cars in pieces and rotting away, but there's something about the look and feel of junkyards that is so cool. Especially when it's old cars that everybody loves.


Eh, saw 4 ae86s, 2 2nd gen rx7s, an s15 and an s13 all in reasonable condition languishing unused in a japanese junkyard earlier this week. No love for them :(


EricSeanDelaney Yep exactly :)


@zz Must hunt more


LouisSoon lol


PaulDYuen Not immune, only excited if I get to drive them haha


Paweł Skrzypczyński Very cool!


maxvr6 Sounds painful!


@randomswede I've seen some abandoned cars in the centre of tokyo too, just parked up in front of houses, or under apartment buildings, all covered in dust. Remember this? 
BTW if there is one thing the Japanese aren't, it's environmentally conscious!! They declared war on nature a long time ago lol


Lol "kaido racer spoiler," group c wing, very popular and much more well known though I suppose it's just not jdm enough


Im in auto body. I would go freaking nuts in that place.


This is making me sad seeing all these cars rots. I really do hope someone plans on reviving some of the cars. =(


Does Japan have any "U-pull-it" type locations for someone to enter with their tools, remove parts, and then pay for them?


I could use a few of those to make into a desk or couch....


This is hauntingly beautiful. :( I can almost imagine some of these cars driving through the mountains. In the state they are I mean, new internals but old rusty exterior.


speedhunters_dino That's insane. I remember seeing that article, atleast it looks to be somewhat shielded from the elements lol. I've not had a moment that jaw dropping, but discovering a series 1 Jaguar E-type Roadster in showroom condition in an old, decaying barn in the middle of nowhere was quite the surprise. It's like time freezes for a moment and you are almost starstruck I guess. You stand there with an open mouth and just stare. The owner saw my face, started it up and revved it slightly, I was giggling like a schoolgirl lol :D
They aren't environmentally conscious?! I thought Japan had some of the strictes laws found anywhere when it comes to the environment :O


What I place, one tend to react with mixed feeling like you said!
Something caught my by now I'd say fairly trained eye, in the pic of the Skyline that is missing it's roof and most everything else there is a part I need that seems to be in ok condition. I guess the Hako in question is a short nose 4-cylinder as it has the three-piece tail light in the trunk. I seldom see any, and just have to ask if this one would be avaliable/for sale? Of course I'm also up for other suggestions if someone stumbles upon another one in good condition or even a NOS-piece...


che spettacolo....


It just kills me to see a G-nose sitting in a junk yard like that. Luckily the duck bill, flairs and G-nose will all survive long after the rest of that poor Fairlady rots into the ground.


Great post dude


It dawned on me reading Mike's Amemiya post the other day (seeing the parts just sitting in the alley) and strikes me again now; the honor of Japanese car guys is incredible.  Here in L.A. the vandals would've reduced all of that to bare frames in under a year or two.  Fender flares, emblems, grills, you name it - gone.
My unicorn of rotary vehicles, one that can't be found in salvageable condition anywhere without someone wanting to bend me over the trunk on the price, is just sitting there rotting away.  So sad.
Dino, you bastard.


Thinking about the time it would take a car to rust into nothing, this gives speedhunting a completely new meening..


jah1mon Yes and No. Back in 2003 (when I was 14), I lived in Okinawa, Japan. I would take a tool box with the bare essentials (10mm, 12mm and 14mm wrenches and sockets) and carry as much parts as I could. I used my skateboard sometimes to help carry the bigger items.
I would walk to the owner of the yard and ask how much? Since I was a common shopper I always got a good deal, and he thought it was great that I was into cars at such a young age. Also thought it was quite hilarious that I like taking the badges off all the cars. But for non pop-up S13 fenders I payed about $40. 
I went back to Okinawa this past month and everything has changed. The Car scene kind of died in Okinawa. The owners of the yards are now super strict and won't let you in. I mean for me I am half Okinawan so it helps but if you are American they either are really nice towards your or the complete opposite. You have to ask for what parts you want now. I think it has to deal with the military bases being there and a lot of theft. 
So I mean I can't speak for mainland Japan, but I know it's not as easy and they are not as open as they used to be.


Excellent write up Dino!!! Felt the emotion and the present torment of seeing this decay...


Excellent Friday afternoon reading taking a break at my office. Thanks for the very interesting write up and pics.


wow this is depressing .. seeing that i just bought an S30 . great find and post


That red fairlady and that purple rx3 still looks good. This is just sad. Heart breaking even... :(


I lost it when i saw the RX3. Thank you for this beautiful tribute for these gorgeous classics. may them rest in peace knowing they are truly never forgotten and always loved.


Great post. Depressing that so many great cars where in there... RX3s, S30s... :(


speedhunters_dino You gotta go on a treasure hunt for this thing! I find it stupidly sad that such an amazing race car abandoned like that.
Here it is:


This makes me sad


Does this remind anyone else of that one episode of Adventure Time?


That iron mask R30 looks like it's in salvageable condition... right? =[


well, all I can say is...
Real men don't wear flip flops


Laurel hardtop. The man is a monster.
Hey Dino, I don't suppose you want to buy that RX3 and do a Speedhunters sponsored build?


FUCK YOU ROCKY AUTO  . All these beautiful cars left to punish like this . tadashi endo needs to take these cars in Pronto /


Its hurts my heart to see such beautiful pieces of history made and used, to just be left to rot away slowly with time. Such things like these should at least try to be preserve some how. Sell them at least if you have too! Too someone who will appreciate it and care for it. I just can't bear to look anymore. Its too depressing man.


Is that a stagea wagon in the background of the last three shots? Dam that's still good


speedhunters_dino Paweł Skrzypczyński Thank you speedhunters_dino! Take a look at this theme on my blog The same place as in the previous one, different time, differently shown. You may also find some stuff related to it on my site Hope you enjoy it!


this is by far my favorite post. its a perfect resting place for such amazing cars. thanks for this one speedhunters_dino


very sad to see such cool cars rotting to nothing. when I was at 2nd school there was a mk1 2dr escort at my local scrappy, I was so giddy to buy it (they weren't worth a lot but still really cool cars) but the yard owner was never around just his mate so after maybe 5/6 trips to see him he told me not to bother "it's been robed to death son" was his answer.  so I left it for a while but popped in once and awhile (looking round scrapyards is my kind of fun) he saw me one time and angrily said " aren't you that bloody kid that pestered me about that old mk1,then never bought it!!" I was so pissed off I didn't go back for years. wish I'd just bought the thing would be worth a small wedge now, maybe next time?


Sucks that these awesome cars have been left for dead. I would love a Skyline someday, but dont we all?


aussieANON You sponsoring me? lol


pidjnr Sure is


JjCruz speedhunters_dino No problem :)


@project_aw11 thanks man :)


fabulous71 :)


TimothyCorbin Thanks


ZachKasperek Amen.


CeejayMode Thanks!




MartinBrandan I think so


@Its Just Me It was 40 degrees that day


jah1mon I'm sure Watanabe-san would have nothing against doing that.  There are tons of parts and some cars that can be used and saved


jah1mon I'm sure Watanabe-san would have nothing against doing that.  There are tons of parts and some cars that can be used and saved


jah1mon I'm sure Watanabe-san would have nothing against doing that.  There are tons of parts and some cars that can be used and saved


NolanBjorn Cool idea!


RBJKT Thank you Mr. Takeshi Kitano


Simply P LOL


This is the most depressing speedhunters post OF ALL TIME.


How did you leave that day not in tears? No, wait...I know you had a box of tissues with you.
Those poor RXs...those poor fairladyz...


Id like to see more of that 280zx with the spoiler hiding next to the van.


I certainly would've found myself in tears. As inevitable as it as to do this to some of the less fortunate cars to give life to others, it would be overwhelming to be surrounded by so many cars with so much soul laid to rest.


I love going to junk yards. Yes, it sucks at times to see cars rusting away but there is something about them just being there. Makes me want to grab my Pentax and head to the local backwoods junk yards.


Amazing post Dino. A great find and some amazing photos! An awful shame to see the cars decaying but I guess that's just the other side of the vintage scene.


Nothing worse then old cars sitting in a field.Its actually quite irresponsible aswell.The fuilds can leech into the soil and pollute the groundwater which may be used for drinking water.
You wouldnt dump your old computer in a field so why should you do it with a car ??.


Do they sell them??? that rx3 would be nice to buy


Hate things like this, it makes me want a ton of money and time to fix up all of the cars that are fixable!


MarcKelsey I'm sure they would


JDMDONG #becausejapan


MilesHayler Thanks :)


@guest Do it!!


DavidKarey That was a bit hard to get too...


AmericaMan Haha


This breaks my heart to see such beautiful, and even some rare cars just left to rot like this. :( I wanna pick them all up, and just rebuild all of them to their former glory.


It is sad to a degree but if there were no donor /parts cars there would be even less shining examples of things like the cars rocky auto produces. It enables them show the world how awesome all of these vintage cars are and recieve the exposure they truly need to keep the good examples on the road and driving.Sure here in NA we all cry tears and what not seeing those kind of things but I'm sure there are plenty of people in japan that if they took a walk around a sun bleached junkyard in AZ or somewhere comparable they would see fields of old gm mopar and ford products and think just the same of us.We all want what we don't have right?

Great article but this pretty much describes how I feel now. Such a shame to see some of those cars rotting away like that, particularly the RX's and the S30 (and the Autech), but I guess donor parts have to come from somewhere...


@Its Just Me obviously don't live in a hot/tropical climate. They're the only way to go!
This is all a bit sad, and I wonder to some extent how much of an enthusiast he is letting some of the very salvageable cars just rot away....RX3 for one.
On the other hand, it amazes me that people are stealing stuff like parts off the RX3.....good on the Japanese for being the way they are in that respect!


It always makes me sad to see stuff like this. I understand the point that not every car might be used forever, but i see a lot of parts there that could be sold for great money and i've been looking for a car like the Savanna RX-3 for forever so i wonder why noone in japan ever searches for cars like these, buy's and sells them. this sound's like a great business idea for me. Buy cheap abandonned cars, part them out or if they're restoration worthy restore them or sell them as projects.
I hate the fact that people like me have to search complete classics or a lot of rare parts for their japanese J-tin, just to see the cars and parts scattered around any abandonned backyard or a random field in japan. too sad.


JDMDONG  Wouldn't it be the same way with every junk yard on earth?


U can bury me there. I want that autech r32 shell... N the shark nose z? Is the a place where they keep zombie drift missiles?


d_rav Haha yes, the delays of life


Dino I never got this. Can you please explain
"happened to see a middle aged man dressed as a woman and sporting a disturbingly-short mini skirt as he casually awaits his stop on the train, it wouldn’t be anything that would particularly grab me" 

Why is this normal in Japan?
Btw great story


half of these beauties are begging 'rat' rod or sleeper!


StantonTylerWarner JDMDONG  In most parts of Europe it would be illegal to store cars like that. You would require a concrete yard to prevent the fluids entering the soil.


Absolutely breaks my heart to see these wonderful cars in such a state of disrepair... I want to save them all! Interesting story though, nice one Dino.


datsunsss I'm really glad to see this went down so well with everyone, well not the state the cars are in of course lol


daskulthomas Now you are talking!!


reno808 Because it happens so damn often in Tokyo! Get close to "strange" neighbourhoods like Akihabara and the freak count shoots up. I keep seeing so many old dudes dressed as girls...must be a popular thing these days lol


Wonderful story, and although they are well past their last legs, thank you for placing them on a pedestal which we can call appreciate equally albeit with a tear or 10. Do you know if there is a contact number for Wanatabe-San, That Fairlady must be saved at all costs?


@Dante Sure just head to the Rocky Auto website :)


@HLSilver Indeed, most have helped create something, they have perished for a reason :)


damn shame the junkyard aint in Sweden ;) just love it !! top job Dino


Sweet read. As much as I would have liked to fix up and drive one of these cars. I love seeing pictures like this. Its almost like an art form seeing a bunchof cars that have just been parked for an extended period of time


Has to be one of the most depressing yet beautiful articles I have read...


Well I could show all of you many yards just the same as this here in Japan, if you go to the Tokyo-2u Facebook page you will see many there also. Go to the Tokyo-2u workshop / wrecking yard in Sendai and see 25 x 510's  .........


Kinda reminds me of my dads farm, except its rotten escorts and old quattros. Ill keep buying lotto tickets.


This is just sad... very sad...


RIP To the cars were.....This is so sad.... :(


Any body else spot the 350z so sad


I love to go there and save the Mazda Rx3. I love old school rotary cars. That is my dream to get a RHD RX3


I see a yellow Nissan Stagea next to the Datsun 410 Bluebird! That is also a classic!! No pics of the Stagea?


OMG tHAT old syline is rare as fck


wtf,rb26de skyline? still rarae than rb26dett


To own all those cars, some still with the potential of a good life. And to just let them fade away with the elements of time. Should it be a wasteful disgrace, or an honorable final resting place. Can't say id argue against being buried amongst the fairladys in the shadow of Japan's skyline....


I want a 4door skyline


This reminds me oh so much of my dads own "stache", except its full of wrecked modern cars, American muscle, and even a B110......


haha thats were i picked up my datsun 2008 it was mising the left door and interior but it was the car i was loikng for no my datsun has camberd whells and slamed ASF


I just want to take them all... And then telling them it's going to be allright.


Wow... just wow..


I want move to Japan


i need believe we can repair them, There must be some way!


we need to save them !!! how could we just let them sit there and rot away im going to japan just to save at least one of those beautiful cars


I wonder if I can buy a couple car's from this place I love the jdm car's I have a datsun 280zx ttop 5 speed 1/81 in the year of 81 I'm trying to restore it I want to own one of each a car


do you guys have any r32 gtrs or dastun 24 z please contact me as soon as possible


I Hiran From Sri Lanka.I have a Toyota 1970 , 2 door ,2000cc corona mark11 twin car in bad shape.only one car in Sri Lanka.I saw your web site speed hunters .their is a car in kyusha cemetry amended .if you can send me to address is that place.Please let me know. if you know car like this please let me know.