GUEST HAIKYO – Okinawa’s grandest ruin

Mike Grist Featured Story, Guest Haikyo, Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Okinawa 4 Comments

This is the third part of Paul’s Okinawa explorations, see part one (abandoned cactus theme parks) here, and part two (the Rekio hotel) here. Day Three Along with Sports World the Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel is one of only a handful of ruins in Japan on the scale of a small village. Such is its grand positioning on the hillside the hotel can be seen from literally miles away … my first response upon seeing the ruin, something along the lines of: “Woah!” Originally scheduled for opening to coincide with the World Fair Expo ’75, construction of the hotel was never …

Stunning ruins of Japan’s Maya Hotel

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Kobe 12 Comments

On Maya mountain in central Japan there’s an old hotel famous in the haikyo scene for one particular setting- a silent corner room with floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s a desk and chair, the walls are brown and peeling, and the windows let in delicious warm light through the overgrown mountain forest outside. Photos of it can be found in many haikyo books and magazines. Of course I wanted to get that photograph. Any completionist haikyoist in Japan needs it to round out his/her collection. So I went to get it: 3 shot HDR bracket with d90 and Tokina 11-16mm, with selective …

The abandoned resort of Hanultari on Jeju island

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, South Korea 2 Comments

Hanultari was our second abandoned resort on the Korean island of Jeju. We saw it while cruising to Ilchulbong volcano crater in a taxi, barely peeking through the mist. After climbing up the crater, which was completely covered in mist and thus invisible to us, we got our driver to take us back to the ruin. He stood by his taxi and watched (probably a bit bemused) as we clambered the hotel`s half-built skeleton and took photos of each other posing. Unfortunately, the mist and my old Powershot camera combined to make most of the pictures pretty awful. Here`s a …

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.

The abandoned resort of Saurabol on Jeju island

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts 7 Comments

Jeju island at the southern tip of South Korea is (apparently) famous for three things- wind, rocks, and beautiful women. I didn’t see many of the latter, but can attest to both of the former, plus a fourth- haikyo resort hotels. Without really going out of our way on a recent holiday there, SY and I stumbled across four abandoned resorts, two of them pretty grand. All of them had been deserted mid-way through construction, leaving only the bones of their underlying structure. The Saurabol central entrance.

Tama Lake Ruins in Black and White

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 1 Comment

The Ruins on Tama Lake changed little since the last time I came to visit. Perhaps the wooden huts of the Red Blossom restaurant have canted a little further towards collapse, and the walls of the Akasaka love hotel were holed and splintered a little more. A new fence has gone up, with warnings of CCTV cameras watching 24/7. Wires dangle from the mock cameras, now only effective as scarecrows to the masses. Red Blossom huts slide down the hillside in slow motion.

Hotel Queen Haikyo

Mike Grist Hotels / Resorts, Sex Industry, Tokyo-to 5 Comments

The Hotel Queen is another abandoned love hotel on the banks of Lake Tama. I first saw it the first time I went out there to shoot the Akasaka and the Red Blossom about 2 years ago. At the time it looked semi-abandoned, with a chain roping it off. I tentatively strode over the chain only to be blasted by a motion sensor alarm. I froze like a deer in the headlights, saw a nearby open door, shoes on the ground beside it, and decided not to push my luck any further. I cycled off, heading for the real meat. …