GUEST HAIKYO – Sun Park Hotel

Mike GristFeatured Story, Guest Haikyo, Haikyo, Yamanashi 1 Comment

Recently I was chatting to a few other haikyoists about re-featuring some of their explores on this site. The first to agree with it was Brian McDuckston, of Japan Bash and Ramen Adventures. On Japan Bash Brian explores Japan on his motorcycle, and occasionally discovers haikyo first-hand. I owe my coverage of the Hotel Royal to Brian (here’s his post, here’s my post), who spied it in passing from his bike. His site Ramen Adventures has been featured on Japanese TV and in the New York Times! We’ll start with Brian’s discovery of the Sun Park Hotel in Yamanashi. You …

The dead boar of Yamanaka lake

Mike GristHaikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Yamanashi 6 Comments

The Yamanakako Spa Resort Hotel in Yamanashi prefecture very nearly didn’t make the cut to appear on this site, as I came close to just walking on by. It was only an hour or so from dusk, and I’d already spent hours exploring and shooting the main Resort Hotel I’d come out for. From the outside it was an unremarkable complex, a simple red brick structure set off from the road on a slight hill. The first building in the complex was bland on the inside, but the second had more to offer; a spacious main function space spread with beautifully crinkled red …

Mt. Fuji’s mysterious underground vault

Mike GristHaikyo, Vaults, Yamanashi 35 Comments

The underground vault haikyo in the shadow of Mt. Fuji is one of the strangest abandoned structures I’ve yet explored. A double-doored double-walled walk-in safe with triple combination locks buried in a man-made mound in an unpopulated and obscure part of the Japanese countryside. Now its thick and weighty doors hang open and loose, and there’s nothing in the vault but for 5 odd logo/symbols on the wall, and no other clue as to its purpose but for the dedication in kanji on top of the dome- ‘in memory of our ancestors’. Imposing entry hall to the vault. I stumbled …

Ruins of Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan

Mike GristHaikyo, Theme Parks, Yamanashi 21 Comments

Gulliver once rested in the shadow of Mt.Fuji, bound and nailed to the ground by the hair. His giant body was the main attraction of the now defunct and dismembered Gulliver’s Kingdom Theme Park in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, built in 1997, closed in 2001 due to defaulting bank loans, and demolished around 2007. Perhaps a contributing factor to its ultimate failure was the proximity of Kamikuishiki- a small village that was the main base for the cult Aum Shinrikyo at the time of their deadly 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. Tourists on a day-trip with …

The hotel on Yamanaka lake they never finished

Mike GristHaikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Yamanashi 7 Comments

The Yamanakako Resort Hotel at the foot of Mt. Fuji is another Bubble-era dead-end, a half-built extravagance that freezes in time the moment the crash occurred. Its rooms lie fallow and bare, uncarpeted and unpainted, with no furnishings but for dusty bath-tubs still in their vinyl casts, yet to be plumbed into the pipe-stalks jutting from the rough cement floors. Pyramidal heaps of wall-paper slowly mildew in the wind-swept hallways, alongside racks of wooden drywall frames with workers’ sawhorses standing ready for use, all of it written off and forgotten about when the economy collapsed.