The hotel one man dug out of solid rock #2 interior

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Saitama 18 Comments

Takahashi Minekichi was a rural Japanese strawberry farmer with a vision. For 21 years he carved the beginnings of a grand hotel into the solid rock wall of a cliff face on his land, digging out the contours only he could see. He did it all alone, using only a chisel, until the day he died in 1925. It was never completed, and no rooms beyond the lobby and kitchen/shrine were ever dug. No-one ever stayed there, but still it remains to this day, thoroughly fenced off and out of bounds. Inside the Gan Kutsu cliff face hotel, grand staircase.

Touring bones in the Paris Catacombs

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, France, World Ruins 4 Comments

Underneath Paris lie hundreds of miles of catacombs, dug over hundreds of years as quarries, tunnels, sewers and interlinked basements. Now for the most part they lie fallow, though never completely blocked-off for fear of sealing some intrepid explorers inside. Huge expanses are merely featureless tunnels of little interest, though nestled within their labyrinthine undulations can be found some fascinating pockets: rooms filled with stunning guerrilla art, bunkers from the World Wars stashed with antique munitions, secret underground cinemas, and of course the Ossuaries.

Tokyo’s vast underground temple-drains: the G-Cans

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 16 Comments

The G-Cans Underground Temple in Saitama is probably the most massive underground flood management system in the world- comprised of 100s of kilometers of tunnels up to 50 meters underground connecting 5 vast silos and one immense water tank: The Temple. The complex spans 6.3km between Showa in Tokyo and Kasukabe in Saitama, with the power to pump 200 tons of water per second into the Edogawa river. Wow. Image from here.

Ancient Ruins- 100 cliff-tombs of the Jomon period

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Saitama 7 Comments

The Hyaku Ana Cliff Tombs in Saitama are ancient, easily some of the oldest ruins in all of Japan, dating back 1300 years to a time of almost pre-history- such that very little is known about them at all. They were first discovered in 1888 and thought to be aboriginal homes, only being proved to be tombs after a research study in the 1920’s. A second layer of history was added in the Second World War when deep munitions tunnels were carved into the rock; gloomy storage spaces to keep serious weaponry safe from Allied bombing raids. Now the tunnels …

The hotel one man dug out of solid rock #1 exterior

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Saitama 9 Comments

The Gan Kutsu Cliff Face Hotel in Saitama is the relic of a dream, one man’s vision to carve out a massive hotel in the sheer rock face, working alone with only a chisel for 21 years until the day he died in 1925. He finished several rooms, a grand staircase, the two main entrances, and several windows including a balcony; the work was completed after his death, with a false facade slapped in white brick over the entrance to make it more appealing. It was closed after about 60 years due to cave-ins, the false facade stripped away, and …

Null-space Tunnels under Yokosuka Navy Base

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Kanagawa, Military Installations 19 Comments

Deep within the solid rock of the Negishi Plateau in Yokohama, spreading beneath the old race-course Grandstand and Yokosuka Naval Base, lies a twisting warren of hidden World War 2-era caverns. Once filled with ancient munitions, bustling troops, and rooms full of military dossiers, they now rest in lonely silence, unexplored for up to 20 years, their secrets stopped up behind entrances back-filled with avalanche scree and trash, overgrown by thick vines in loamy earth, and walled off with sheets of blast-concrete.