The Grand-daddy of all Love Hotels

MJG Haikyo, Kanagawa, Sex Industry 29 Comments

The Hotel Royal haikyo is the grand-daddy of all love hotels, streaking 7 empty stories up into the big blue sky, a giant vermillion flag on the lakeshore calling out to all and sundry in a mega-watt alto- ‘Need some discreet time alone with your loved one? Come on down!’

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I couldn`t find out any historical information about this haikyo, and I doubt there is anything much to be found. It probably went up in the last 10 years, came down in the last 5, and for the most part passed unremarked in the life of the area. It just seems like a bad idea, for several reasons. First off, it`s basically a classy love hotel, across 7 floors with around 35 rooms of varying sizes, all of them decorated in a unique manner- some of them a bit wacky, most fairly plain. It`s in a quiet area, on a road far from the nearest train station, overlooking a peaceful lake.

So who was the target audience? Young people looking to sow their wild oats in private would unlikely have access to a car, so we can rule most of them out. Couples trying to get away from the kids would be going out of their way to come here, so why not then have a properly classy time in a ryokan, where they could still do any of the deeds a love hotel is famous for. That leaves a third class- married men and women on surreptitious affairs, looking for an out of the way place where they wouldn`t be seen conducting their illicit liaisons. And how many of them could there be? Obviously not enough.

Add to all that- the idea is just tawdry, like Las Vegas without the limbo-ish in-between location or any of the relaxed local laws.

I went to this haikyo with my buddy Geoff- the first time for him, and now the last, since he’s going back to the USA in a week or so. Ah, what a transient place Japan is. The Love Hotels go up and come down, and friends come and go.

There are two types of haikyo really- the old ones and the new ones. The old ones may be anything abandoned for longer than 20 or so years, the new ones for less. They have very different charms- with the old ones you get the creative destruction of Nature rippling through the fabric, but not so much of the just-lived-in feel of the newer ones. But- that feel from the new ones is often not that interesting, because the people in question are only distanced from us by a short time. So, I like the old ones better.

As for this place- it could almost have been closed just a few days ago, for all the chance nature has had to get in. First off, as is my usual style, we cased the place thoroughly front and back.

Out back there were steps down to a utilities/generator room, which was filled with pipes and engines more tired and overwrought than any other part of the structure. Were they perhaps overclocking?

Back up the steps and behind the kitchen were a bunch of old arcade machines, and these tarred gloves, left to ‘dry’ on a rusted shelving unit.

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Entering the place was remarkably easy, all the doors were open, so we breezed right in. The kitchen was just a junked up kitchen, stuff lying all over the place. Through the door and down the hall was the lobby- pitch black inside.

This is how you choose your room in a Love Hotel- there’s a whole board of these photos of each room. You choose the one you like- then tell it to the attendant, who is in a walled-off booth with normally only their hands showing. Discreet. Of course we went to 701, though it was less impressive without the LED rings lit up.

We went on to the second floor, me snapping photos, Geoff pausing to examine the remainders of life to backwards-engineer the hotel’s last few moments.

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At an ash-tray: Look at this, 3 butts, all facing different angles- looks like 3 different people, maybe the same 3 who had the final 3 drinks in the lobby?

In a room filled with porn and bits of food: Look at the date on this cheese receipt, only 2 years ago, you think it was closed then, or this was from a homeless person?

It was weird how the place had been neither overtaken by Nature nor yet vandalized. A few rooms had had fire extinguishers let off in them, and one or two had broken windows, but for the most part every room looked like it must have the day the place closed down. Not a wreck, just bed sheets slightly rumpled, bits of trash in the trash cans.

Between the first and second floors was a cool fire-safety chute.

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Geoff climbed up it halfway, then came back down and we just took the stairs- we only had one flashlight and it was pitch black inside.

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In the corner room on each floor the bathroom was illuminated with a bright blue light.

The top floor was a big function area, maybe 2 large dining rooms with their own kitchen. Now a bunch of junk was lying around- video cassettes, books, manga, TV’s.

We couldn’t get onto the roof, the way was blocked by a solid metal door, but out the side of the top floor kitchen there was a mini balcony, and I could get this shot of one of the regal R’s:

And that was it, really. Geoff and I walked the long way to the next station in the gathering dark, having a good final chat about real and heavy stuff. There was another haikyo I wanted to see nearby- Sun Hills- but it was far too dark, and would have to wait for a second trip out.

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FACTFILE

Entry – Simple, all open doors.

Highlights – Geoff Sherlock Holmes-ing everything, top floor, fire chute, just-vacated vibe.

Source- Thanks a lot to Brian at gaijinbash.com for telling me about this place, and its location.

RUINS / HAIKYO

You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:

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Comments 29

  1. I find the architecture of the hotel really creepy. Who would like to have sex in a place like this?
    If you have pics (or videos 😉 ) showing the view from the rooms onto the lake I’d like to see them. Usually when I read your haikyos, pictures of the surrounding nature helps getting in the mood, but for this one it feels more like a tourism attraction. I’m sorry I can’t clearly explain what I think.
    Anyway, I tend to agree with you about older haikyos. New ones don’t have “that special thing” that makes them unforgetable. Well, at least that’s how I feel when I read your “adventures”, having never done an haikyo in my life.

    You said the hotel is far from everything, who do you think is responsible for trashing the place with the fire extinguishers? Haikyoers or just random people (teenagers?) having “fun”?

    The picture of the telephone is kinda surreal, the dust makes the phone look like a candy to me.

    PS: I think 2 pictures are missing (the one about the 3 butts and the cheese receipt).

  2. Nice, you beat me to it. I was planning on going there after I got some new motorcycle tires. Looks like they boarded up the front entrance… what’s the point?

  3. Again, I am surprised to see things like perfectly good microwaves, TVs, phones, and other items. I guess further proof that Japanese people really don’t like to buy used stuff. In the US, when a place like this goes out of business, the owners sell all they can and people would buy the used stuff like microwaves.

  4. can’t believe there is TVs and stuff just sat there untouched, unstolen , un -thrown out of Windows rock-star style!!!Looks like new except for all that powder. Really liked this Haikyo cos i find it so weird that it has been left intact. In uk it would be trashed beyond belief and full of junkies/homeless/reprobates who had sold all the stuff. And the doors were open!!!!!! xxx

  5. Wow! And this place was just walk-in?? The untouched nature of some of the rooms almost make it disappointing. I can’t believe people haven’t either stolen or trashed things in the rooms. Definitely different to over here in the UK.

    Did you find many interesting items? It seems to be pretty unspoilt, so maybe there were a few things left around?

  6. It is an interesting find, although you could have been in leaving a love hotel by the looks of the pictures which as you said doesn’t give the haikyo feel, still I think there could have some value in taking pictures of the beds and a wonder of who was the last person to sleep there. In terms of photography, it may be more interesting (to me anyway) to get up close to some of the objects or down on your knees (its a love hotel cmon) to give a different story-telling perspective

  7. another nice haikyo, mike. you’re getting to be an expert on this thing. ^_^;;

    I like the photo of the almost untouched vcr, tv and microwave. I wonder what’s inside those video tapes lying on the table?

    The first time I saw haikyo photos was at a Japanese site who shot really creepy photos of decrepit buildings. Have you ever spent a night or two in one of these places? I bet that would be an adventure in itself. 🙂

  8. This is cool. Thanks for showing this hotel. For me it has a Cool/Sad effect. I love looking at
    old buildings.
    I wonder if the Govt. could rehabilitate the building to house some of the homeless I’ve read
    about. It would prevent a great loss. What do you guys that are in Japan think?

  9. I always wonder why no homeless people to take up residence in these types of places (abandoned hotels, etc). It seems like, with a bit of cleaning up, a lot of these rooms would be livable.

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    Jean Rob- Ach, looks like I deleted all the excess photos I had. Took a lot through windows, but due to poor exposures tossed them out. The architecture- it’s interesting you find it creepy, I think it certainly is now that it’s a fail. The fire extinguisher people- I think it must’ve been people out with intent to haikyo- the place is just too inaccessible for punk kids to make the effort to come out. Happily they didn’t damage too much- the fire extinguishers actually add some character- not that I encourage that sort of thing. As for extra photos- I didn’t actually take those shots.

    Bad Hair Boy- Thanks a lot.

    Brian- Thanks again for the tip- it’s definitely worth checking out, there’s lots of rooms we didn’t go in- we skipped a few whole floors. Boarding up, I guess the side doors were locked as well, but the people who entered before us busted them open.

    Tornadoes- True, as ever, it’s bizarre they put all this cash into fairly liquid asset stuff (TV’s etc..), and don’t even bother to fire-sale it.

    Alice- You’re right, is way strange all that stuff is still there. Give it a few years and it’ll get more trashed- I think I caught it fairly soon after it failed.

    Mike- Cheers, and yeah, not disappointing, just different. Interesting artifacts, hmm, my favorite part was really the building’s overall structure, plus the big R’s at the top.

    Kelly- Thanks, and comfy, yup, though I didn’t lie down to really check!

    J-eye- Yeah, certainly did that some in this post, and looking to shoot more variety in future haikyo.

    BRB- Cheers, and yes I spent the night a few times, once solo (scary and very weird), and once with friends (scary but fun).

    MikeD- The homeless thing seems to make sense yeah, but it’s very far away from where the homeless live and survive. They live in the city and make money by collecting cans and selling found manga. Put them in this hotel- they have no way to survive.

    Erin- Same as to MikeD, this place is just too far from an urban center where homeless can scrape out a living. Put them here and they’d have to take a bus into the city to earn their survival pittance.

  11. Isn’t it amazing that Japan, with such a living space problem, can create all these derelict buildings in fairly metropolitan areas? I suppose property speculation companies own the land, and are waiting in the hope it will become really valuable again.

    I love having sex in Love Hotels, I don’t find them creepy at all. You know when you go there it’s for one reason only — to get it on. No hesitation, no guilt, no keeping quiet for the neighbours (a problem in ryokan) and no worrying about getting the sheets wet. It’s great. I wish I could get the chance more than once every few years.

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    R. Milner- Metropolitan areas, well, most of them are not really- a lot are out in the country: land bought up in the Bubble when lending was immensely profitable, now they’re all toxic assets that the banks cannot sell without making huge losses. As for your own Love Hotel proclivities, please, this a family site!

  13. wow. pretty neat. I live in Kanagawa and didn’t know there were abandoned buildings. Seems like Japans fast at getting rid of buildings and such unlike everywhere else.

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    Nobby- True, Japan does tend to revile the old and throw up something new and shiny- at least in the city. In the country, part of that whole: everybody-is-moving-to-the-city thing, seems like they just leave the stuff lying around. There’s less pressure to renovate or demolish because there’s nobody left who wants to use the land.

    Gustavo- Different room every night! Very classy.

  15. I’m in Yokosuka,right outside the naval base, looking for places to go for some great photo opportunities. Would anyone be able to help me out with which trains I can take to get out there? It’d be much appreciated!!! Thank you!

  16. Thanks for that Michael,

    I drove past this place while going to Fuji Q High Land Theme park. I wanted to stop and have a look, its such an intriguing building. Great photos you posted, now I know what the insides look like, I can now sleep well, my mind is at rest.

    Poji

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    Kari to get there you’ll want to ride the train to Sagamiko station then walk West along the lake, you’ll stumble across it that way. Poji it’s my pleasure to set your mind at ease.

  18. This is amazing! Thanks for posting this. I think that some of your photos are missing, though; as someone stated earlier, there are a few photo-less captions in this post.

  19. I really wish I could see more photos. This place really looks interesting, or do you have a seperate gallery? Because you don’t seem to have too many pictures sometimes, and the places seem really unique and seeing more of what it was is fun.
    Nice pics and descriptions so far however! I enjoy reading your blog, just wish you took more pictures of the places so I/others could get more of a feel to them.

  20. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first
    comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog
    blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

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