Spartan cells line the central corridors in five wooden prison blocks, showing how the convicts who built much of early Hokkaido lived out their years. Used between 1912 and 1984, the prison is now a museum with cell blocks, watchtowers, and farm buildings. Only the most heinous criminals were banished to this forbidding northern outpost, the Alcatraz of Japan. English information is entertainingly lost in translation, but anguished-looking mannequins illustrate the grimness
of life behind bars, and how for the who did escape it could be even worse.