The remnants of the Sun Hills Hotel in Kanagawa lay hunkered down and spartan on the banks of Sagamiko lake, the blank concrete foundation of a proud edifice that never once opened to the public, hosting only the village’s truanting kids and vandals before it was unceremoniously torn down. Now just its 2-story underground car park remains, haunted by chirping crickets and families of hikers on sight-seeing breaks.
Sun Hills car park.
I went to this haikyo several months ago now, around the same time I went to the Royal Hotel with Geoff. We’d planned to see both locations that time, but got so caught up in the giant Love hotel we couldn’t make it.
So I returned to the lake, this time with Su Young. We didn’t know what to expect- I’d learned of this place only through vague mentions on unrelated websites- but I had an idea of where it was and its history.
We turned up to find only the car park, and the hotel gone. At first I thought this was literally the foundation for the hotel, and the hotel had been demolished while the car park left. Now I don’t imagine that’s even possible, let alone likely- but the hotel was certainly nowhere to be seen.
The road the car park was on led into trees and then either into the cliff or off the bank and into the lake. The hotel was there, now it isn’t.
This is the issue with seeking out haikyo with no real guidance. It’s a truth of ‘exploration’ I’ve managed to so far mostly evade, with using guide books and receiving tips from previous haikyoists. I’m reaching the stage now where I’ve already been to most of the ‘known’ haikyo, and will have to start pan-handling for myself.
All that said- this was not an awful haikyo. I’ve never been to a haikyo car park before- so we can check that off the list.
Sun Hills logo.
I wandered on the surface for a bit, wondering where the actual hotel was, while Su Young went directly down these steps and into the belly of the beast.
As usual, I went a different route, down some steps to the side.
Stripped B1 floor.
Leaves and elevators.
It was very peaceful and cool inside the car park. I can’t wax lyrical about how I felt a strong sense of history or any of that, because I don’t think it had any history- it was cut short and left dis-used before it had a chance to generate any.
It made a nice break from being out in the sun though.
Probably my favourite shot.
Down the spiral access ramp to B2.
Rounding the corner.
Scary face on B2.
A set from Labyrinth.
Out the window.
A dark hole.
The stairs back up.
Around this time I bumped into a family of about 6 people, including grandparents and young kids. It was quite a shock for both them and me- but this was such an open haikyo with no barriers of any sort that neither of us were too worried. I smiled and said- “konnichiwa!” brightly, then went on my way.
Back up the uprooted stairs.
And that was it- we headed home.
I mentioned at the start that this car park let me check another item off my list. So what’s on the list? Well, I actually made one- the more interesting wish-list items go like this:
Abandoned subway station.
Empty nuclear bunker.
Ghost town circa 1800’s, US wild west.
Catacombs (perhaps under Paris).
Abandoned laboratory, early 1900’s (mad scientist style).
Abandoned island (Gunkanjima).
Empty skyscraper, skyscraper city (a la ‘I am Legend’)
And lots more. Many of those I won’t find here in Japan, but most of them are do-able somewhere in the world.
Su Young wandering the spiral.
Me at the window (shot by Su Young).
Location – Kanagawa.
Entry – Walk in.
Highlights – Empty and cool and quiet, play of light on the walls, stumbling into the sight-seeing family.
RUINS / HAIKYO
You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:
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