Confined to a tiny kiosk, on a train station platform, in Tokyo

Convenience stores are so common in Tokyo that they make the likes of even Starbucks seem scarce. Or at least they do in some places. Like near train stations for example, where it’s very rare indeed to step outside and not find at least one fantastically stocked and forever open 7-Eleven or Sunkus.

Yet despite this, along with the ever-present and even more multitudinous vending machine, many train station platforms still have their own stores. Horribly confined little cubicles that afford the staff barely enough room to move, let alone have a moment to themselves. Plus if they are underground like this one, there isn’t even the simple pleasure of some fresh air.

Tokyo train platform kiosk

The abandoned and surprisingly intact Sun Park Hotel

When heading to a haikyo, there are never any guarantees: It’s often hard to get a true location. The building might not be there anymore. And the interior may have been smashed up beyond all recognition even if it is. Factors that when added together make genuinely incredible places all the more rewarding — like the recently visited and spectacularly preserved, abandoned school.

In fact, it was in such good condition that expectations for the Sun Park Hotel had to be suppressed still further. Along with the usual uncertainties, there was a sense that anything even approaching the completeness of the school would be asking too much. And needless to say it was, but thankfully only slightly, as the hotel was still in surprisingly good condition — plus it had a sombre, and yet really quite serene ambience of all of its own.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Situated in Kiyosato, Yamanashi Prefecture, the hotel suffered a fate similar to the countless other closed businesses that line the main streets of the once popular holiday resort: it went bankrupt.

Only a few hours or so from Tokyo, and once labelled a ‘mini Harajuku’, the area was apparently the place to visit in the 80s, but, like everything else that has a boom, there sadly had to be a bust, and Kiyosato’s came at the end of that decade. The visitors disappeared, and so did many of the places they once visited — like the Sun Park Hotel.

The building now sits semi-hidden by trees, but inside, it’s almost welcoming. The bar and eating area by the entrance is even now still set out to accommodate those looking for a bite to eat or a few beers.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Although the last people to do such a thing were presumably the last of the staff, having one last drink.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

It may even have been Yamamoto-san, but that’s something only he or she can answer.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Unlike the telephone.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Elsewhere, the sense of waiting persists, although as calendars suggest the hotel closed in either 1989 or 90, it’s a long while indeed since this chair seated a young diner.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

And it was very similar upstairs, even if the paintwork and elaborate lighting has seen better days.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Despite damage in the corridors due to scavengers ripping out metal wiring in the ceilings, the rooms themselves are still remarkably well preserved.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Televisions remain untouched.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

And one can almost imagine still using the laughably ostentatious telephone to call down for a quick clean up.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Plus some fresh bedding.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

But just like the slippers, you’d have to wait patiently. Possibly forever.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

Because just like the plight of Kiyosato itself, no one will come.

abandoned Sun Park hotel in Japan

A Tokyo barber and his best friend

Barbers and hairdressers often seem as common as the ubiquitous convenience store in Tokyo, making it almost as easy to change one’s appearance as it is to buy some booze.

And with competition so intense, it’s inevitable there are going to be some lean times, but at least this barber has his best friend to keep him company when there aren’t any customers.

Tokyo barber and his dog