Places of joy and delight by day, unearthly creatures by night.
Playgrounds are the ultimate encapsulation of innocence. They’re places filled with the laughter of children as they scamper over sand pits, swings, and slides. For adults, they have a certain nostalgia to them, ripe for talented artists to twist in unusual ways.
Enter Kito Fujio, a law university graduate who traded an office worker’s life for a camera in 2005. Now a freelance photographer, he travels around Japan taking pictures of mini amusement parks situated above department stores. His works have been featured in several photo exhibitions, and according to his website, Kito’s ambitious goal is to register the amusement parks as World Heritage Sites.
Kito has recently taken a liking to Japan’s playgrounds, showing us that even these cheerful of places can take on a sudden eerie hue when captured at night with clever lighting and skilled photography. He makes the playgrounds almost come alive, instilling a primal fear and awe in us.
Here’s 20 of our favorite photos and their locations.
▼ 1. Aichi Prefecture, Takahama City, Otsubo Park
▼ 2. Tokyo, Tachikawa City, Nishikidaini Park
▼ 3. Chia Prefecture, Kashiwa City, Kashiwa Park
▼ 4. Hokkaido, Eniwa City, Komaba Park
▼ 5. Aichi Prefecture, Takahama City, Tatsuta Park
▼ 6. Tokyo, Katsushika-ku, Minami Mizumoto Park
▼ 7. Tokyo, Katsushika-ku, Minami Mizumoto Park
▼ 8. Saitama Prefecture, Konosu City, inside Fukiagedanchi Terrace House
▼ 9. Tokyo, Machida City
▼ 10. Saitama Prefecture, Miyashiro-cho, Himemiyaika Park
▼ 11. Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City, Chuo-ku, HAT Yume Park
▼ 12. Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Suminoe-ku, Konan chu housing
▼ 13. Chiba Prefecture, Narita City, Nagahara Daiichi Jido Park
▼ 14. Tokyo, Kita-ku, Minamibashi Park
▼ 15. Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsukuba City, Donguri Park
▼ 16. Aichi Prefecture, Okazaki City, Daijuji Park
▼ 17. Aichi Prefecture, Takahama City, Hekikai Park
▼ 18. Chiba Prefecture, Katori City, Wanpaku Park
▼ 19. Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Sumiyoshi-ku, Sugimoto, 1-3
▼ 20. Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Sumiyoshi-ku, Abiko higashi
Kito’s photo collections of these playgrounds can be found on his website. Aside from these, he also dabbles in beautiful black and white snapshots of animals and scenery.
We never knew such innocent places could look so alien or spooky. But thanks to this experienced photographer, we’ll never look at the playgrounds of our childhood the same way again.