Okawa Grand Hotel Haikyo, Izu

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Izu 13 Comments

The Okawa Grand Hotel in Izu was remarkable for the perfectly clean, skimmed and filtered swimming pool set between its two tropically ruined buildings. Shut down for at least twenty years but still plastered with signs to rent or sell, the owners clearly still have high hopes for it. In every room you can hear the lapping of the sea on the rocky beach. As we left, a gang of kids moved in to use the pool.

Long-gone memories of the BE lab

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Shizuoka 6 Comments

The BE labs haikyo in Shizuoka is mis-representing itself somewhat by posing as a lab; at best it was a spa-resort for people who worked at a lab, somewhere far off and long ago. It sits in the crook of some distinctly un-Japanese rolling hills, looking rather like a bunker with its zig-zag concrete front-eave and fence-wires on the flat-slab roof.

The ruined conference center built into a cliff- Yamamoto

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tochigi 4 Comments

The Yamamoto Grand Center is a gracefully aging architectural foible, tucked away in a quiet corner of Tochigi prefecture on a die-cut volcanic crag. Warm spring winds blow confetti cherry blossoms through its many gaping windows, fluttering with old receipts and leaflets in zephyrs around its stacked and musty furniture. In the Grand Hall, weeds grow up in molding grass tatami mats. Once a ribald conference and function space, its long abandonment has lent a solemn gravitas it could not have had in life.

The dead boar of Yamanaka lake

MJG Haikyo, 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 …

The hotel on Yamanaka lake they never finished

MJG Haikyo, 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.

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

MJG 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 …

Silent car park of the demolished Sun Hills hotel

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Kanagawa 9 Comments

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.

Behemothic hotel, abandoned like a beached whale

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Nagano 20 Comments

The Shin Shu Kanko Hotel in Nagano is a leviathan beast, 3 whale-sized buildings interlinked by encircling roads, interior corridors, underground passages and a long bridging escalator. The largest of the 3 is seven stories high with easily 100 rooms along its spine, with huge onsen, function rooms, izakaya and a hall. The smaller two add about another 50 rooms each, clutching up to the hill in back and spread like wings around the main complex. All of it empty, trashed, and creaking in the wind. Shin Shu Kanko looking up.

The Life and Death of the Sofitel Hotel

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 17 Comments

The Sofitel Hotel once stood on the Ueno park skyline like a bizarrely massive chest of drawers, at once a paean to modern design aesthetics and traditional Shinto values. It was demolished in December 2006 after only 12 years of offering 83 4-star rooms in central Tokyo, leaving a weirdly-shaped gap on the city-scape viewed from Shinobazu pond. Like the cherry blossoms that frame so many shots of the Sofitel, it was only a temporary beauty, one that serves to remind us of the short time we`re here, and how any one of us can be called away at any …

The death of Nakagin, the world’s first capsule hotel.

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 26 Comments

The Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi was the first of its kind in the world; a wholly modular building comprised of a concrete stack with latch-points for pre-fabricated one-piece rooms to bolt on to, with a built-in life cycle for obsolescence and upgrade. The work was the real-life embodiment of master architect Howard Roark’s vision, a character from Ayn Rand’s seminal Objectivist book The Fountainhead- a building so perfectly self-contained, ergonomic, and integrated that it would allow the whole of humanity to live in ultimate comfort with maximum efficiency- the true victory of function over form. In reality however, …