Demon Mouth (1)
When I exited the hallway, I found myself in a vast, rocky pit. It literally looked as though it was a demon opening its mouth. It seems as though the participants looked down from here, as the ritual to choose the Shrine Maiden took place on the bottom level.
Demon Mouth (2)
At the bottom of the Demon Mouth, there is a huge stone gate. According to the folklorist who was investigating Himuro Mansion, through here is an altar where the most secretive ritual of all was performed...
The Abyss extends beyond the back of the Moon Shrine. A large waterwheel turns slowly by the waterside, and the sound of the water being lifted flows through the air near the bank.
The row of neatly lined-up lanterns seem to lead visitors to the bridge which stretches across the sandbars. What could be up there?
A thick fog hangs in the air above the lake's surface, and I can't see the opposite bank. The only lights are the fireflies shining in the distance, which fly around above the water's surface like wandering souls.
Shrine path deep in the grove
The path leading to the shrine. Towering trees line both sides, with shimenawa wound around them, reminiscent of some kind of ritual. A large, black space stretches out far back behind the trees, and not even electric lights can pierce it...
Narukami Shrine (1)
Inside the shrine, there is a strange altar. Something important seems to be enshrined within it, but the door won't open. On all sides surrounding it there are large mirrors, reflecting the images of visitors.
Narukami Shrine (2)
The statue enshrined within the lattice has no head. Rather than having decayed away, it looks like it was chiselled off...
Out behind Himuro Mansion there is a bamboo thicket, where there are rows of abandoned gravestones. They seem very old, and it's impossible to read the epitaphs on them.
There's a heavy wooden lid on the old well, so I can't see inside it. But, apparently, someone saw the lid move...
One Himuro Mansion's windows which is visible from the backyard has had boards firmly nailed over it, seeming to cover some kind of forbidden room. It is said that a small hand can be seen dangling through the latticed window.
Rubble Room / Corridor
Many years ago, a man bought Himuro Mansion and tried to renovate it. However, paranormal phenomena occurred frequently, and apparently construction was finally abandoned...
A long corridor stretches out behind the room full of rubble. The structure is painted an impressive, showy shade of vermilion, and seems to have been used in an important ritual.
Deep inside the corridor is a ritual site called the "Demon Mouth", which is said to have been where the Shrine Maiden was chosen in an important ritual. Now, though, the door is tightly shut.
Moon Shrine (1)
In the courtyard is the Moon Shrine, inside of which there is a large miniature shrine with double doors. It is said that the body of the first girl to become the Rope Shrine Maiden is enshrined here, but no one has ever seen it.
Moon Shrine (2)
A large mirror is suspended above the miniature shrine. It seems to be used to reflect the moonlight which enters the Moon Shrine down into the depths, but...
In old documents, it is recorded that the Rope Shrine Maiden would descend to the basement using the Moon Well, which is somewhere within the mansion, where she would purify herself in the moonlight. It's said that the Moon Well is within the Moon Shrine...
Cherry Atrium (1)
Himuro Mansion's courtyard, where the cries of birds echo in the air. The Moon Shrine stands before a row of simple torii gates.
Cherry Atrium (2)
Perhaps because it has been exposed to the elements, the courtyard-facing porch creaks violently. A steady, cold breeze flows from the dark space under the porch.
Looking down from the Moon Observatory, you have an unbroken view of the entire courtyard. From the conspicuous, dead sakura tree, it's said that you can hear an agonised voice intermingled with the wind.
Burial Room (1)
A room lit with countless candles. It's said that the altar here is used to soothe the souls that were lost in a great disaster which happened here long ago.
Burial Room (2)
Perhaps the beautiful decorations above the candles are for appeasing the souls. Maybe the lights remain lit because the souls are not yet at peace.
Burial Room (3)
The dark passageway leading out to the burial altar. Light trickles out from the gaps underfoot. There is a small altar at the end, but it doesn't seem to open.
Upon entering the hallway from the courtyard, you find yourself in an intricate, complex space. At the bottom of the stairs, around corners, the darkness swallows you up whichever way you turn.
The first and second floors are connected by a large stairwell. Moonlight shines through here, casting a dim light over the area. It's said that there's a well-sealed, forbidden room here.
Upon exiting the hallway, there is an indoor pool where fish are stored. Unstable-looking bridges cross the dark, undulating surface of the water. It feels as though you're being watched from the depths...
Doll Room (1)
Girl dolls are lined up on what looks like a tiered doll stand. It's said that they are dedicated to the children who were sacrificed in the mansion's rituals. It also seems as though people have heard the whispering voices of the dolls from outside of the room...
Doll Room (2)
The dolls are arranged so that they surround the female doll covering her eyes. It looks like they're playing Kagome Kagome, but is it connected to the ritual somehow?
Doll Room (3)
Enshrined at the back of the room is the doll of a woman, dressed in a burial costume. It seems special somehow, larger than the other dolls, and is surrounded by shimenawa. The girl enshrined here must have been an important person to this mansion...
Dim moonlight streams into the room structured like a library. This seems to once have been an elegant, tasteful room. The only remnant of that now is the pair of decorative hanging scrolls on the wall.
Damp air flows through here, and it has decayed the sliding door. People say that you can hear an eerie voice coming from the closet in this room. I wonder who that voice belongs to...
The door of the room adjacent to the library is firmly shut. Inside, there is a row of Japanese clothes, standing there ominously...
Rope Hallway (1)
A large mirror at the end of the hallway reflects the images of those who visit the mansion. It's said that people see a shadowy figure in white behind them...
Rope Hallway (2)
In the ceiling of the hallway is a small window, covered with a sliding paper screen, through which a faint light shines. Is there a room with lights in it above the hallway?
Rope Hallway (3)
The narrow hallway stretches for quite some distance, seeming to entice visitors onwards. Old ropes hang from the ceiling, and swing as though someone has only just passed by them.
Grand Hall (1)
A large hall, divided up by sliding screens. If all of the screens are opened, one can see the entire room, but there are spaces in the corners that still seem as though someone could be lurking in them.
Grand Hall (2)
At the back of the hall is a dignified family shrine. It's said that right below the shrine there was a massive pool of blood, but it's gone now. There are rumours that blood indicated the spot where the family master committed suicide, after massacring his entire family.
Grand Hall (3)
The sliding doors are broken, and won't move an inch. Through the gaps in the broken paper screen, I can see the hall. People have said that, whilst peeping through the paper screens, they have seen the closed sliding doors begin to open one by one...
Fireplace Room (1)
There is lots of faded furniture in here, a mere shadow of its former glorious appearance. I can sense traces of life from the fireplace, and it seems like it's recently been used. Have people been here before? Where on earth did they all go?
Fireplace Room (2)
A small amount of light enters the pitch-black room through the paper screen. It seems to be the same screen I saw from the Rope Hallway. Through the door to the right, I can hear a chorus chanting Buddhist sutras...
Fireplace Room (3)
A wide area, spanning the entire ceiling, has criss-crossing beams extending across it. It's a unique structural feature of old Japanese houses. Bright moonlight filters in from above.
A room with a mask hung on each wall. Four masks, each representing a different emotion, are on each side of the central pillar. There is apparently also a mask with eyeholes in it, through which one can peek...
Next to the Mask Room is a hidden room. Writings say that a taboo ritual called the Blind Demon Ritual was performed here.
The only way to get to the Blinding Room is through a hidden passageway. The passage has fallen into ruins, and is narrow and complex. People have seen a wandering shadow, searching for the Blinding Room...
Collapsed beams, broken paper screens... Himuro Mansion became completely dilapidated after it was abandoned. It's said that forbidden rituals, told of in this area, were performed here...
There is a large hole in the floor, and I can see the darkness within it over the edge. A sound like moaning seems to rise from it on the tepid breeze. Is there something deep within that darkness?
Apparently, large shimenawa were tied around the doors on the day of the ritual to keep anyone from getting out. Now, they only ever open when it's time to welcome a new visitor.
Tatami Room (1)
A room located in the centre of Himuro Mansion's second floor. From here, one can go out to the Moon Observatory. In the corner of the room is a folding screen with a sad-looking girl painted on it, faintly visible in the darkness.
The Antechamber seems to have been used by a girl, and many accessories and small items have been stowed here. There are rumours that a woman's sobs can be heard coming from around the two dolls here.
Tatami Room (2)
Adjacent to the surveying room is a study. It's said that the folklorist who was investigating the region's rituals used this room. It's also said that, looking over from the Moon Observatory, you can see the image of a man's shadow...
Koto Room (1)
It's said that this stunning room was made for the Himuro family girls. People have heard sad melodies being played by the old koto in this room.
Koto Room (2)
Was the broken gramophone put here by more recent residents? And the person who took those photos scattered on the nearby desk...?
Second Floor Hallway
People say that you can hear the sound of someone crawling coming from the second floor hallway's ceiling. As you follow the sound, it moves from the other side of the ceiling into the Koto Room. I wonder who on earth is going back and forth on the other side of the ceiling...
Buddha Room (1)
Himuro Mansion's Buddhist chapel. It appears to have been used in the ritual. There is a grand, towering altar here, which doesn't appear to have been opened in a long time.
Buddha Room (2)
Both sides of the room are lined with massive Buddha statues. They each have a broken arm or leg. Could this mean something...?
Buddha Room (3)
A pleasantly cool breeze floats in the air between the intersecting beams below the high ceiling. There's supposedly a hidden, sealed door, reachable by crossing these beams...