An abandoned and rapidly decaying Japanese hotel

Most abandoned buildings/haikyo offer something of interest, but the ones that I’m invariably drawn to contain hints of the past; poignant reminders of the lives of those who once lived or worked there. An element that the old enka singer’s house offered with suitably melancholy mystery.

Yet arguably better still are those rarities like the long since closed mountain school — a building so utterly untouched that despite decades of disuse, it still felt occupied.

Neither of those places, however, contained that other mainstay of haikyo: the taking back of the building by mother nature. A feature that, despite offering little else, the SPG House hotel in Yamanashi Prefecture had in abundance.

haikyo hotel

Possibly because of its location beside one of Mount Fuji’s famous lakes, the dampness throughout the structure — particularly on the ground floor — was staggering.

haikyo hotel

A problem that has gone way beyond rising, and is now simply all-encompassing. Even its iconic neighbour, bravely clinging to the wall, is now barely recognisable.

haikyo hotel

Fortunately, despite the decay, there were still a few of those previously mentioned reminders of the past, with the office revealing some of the activity that once went on there.

haikyo hotel

But all that came to a very abrupt end in 1996, when the business went bankrupt. The last people to check-in and enjoy what by then could have been the SPG’s quite dreary delights, being Shusaku Miyadera and four family members or friends.

haikyo hotel

Elsewhere, it was simply more signs of the hotel’s fight with the forces of nature.

haikyo hotel

haikyo hotel

An unfair contest that has even turned everyday objects into fascinating, initially unrecognisable, forms.

haikyo hotel

And in the guest rooms, moss in particular has begun to make a move.

haikyo hotel

Some of it so wonderfully resplendent that it easily manages to outdo many moss gardens.

haikyo hotel

Comments

  1. Sam says

    Some impressive moss action on those seats. Would have been nice to have seen some exterior shots to get a sense of context.

    • says

      Thanks Winnie. That moss really was something else. Most of the rooms were pretty dull with just the odd bit of furniture in, but opening the door and seeing that was quite a treat. A beauty that the photo doesn’t truly capture unfortunately.

  2. winnie says

    Interesting shots!! Love the pictures!!
    The front view of the Hotel is full of mysterious aura!
    My imagination has gone wild after seeing the pictures!! :)

    • says

      Cheers Winnie. It wasn’t the most interesting of haikyo by any means, but the decay made it more than worthwhile.

  3. dochimichi1 says

    Great pictures, love the one with the moss seats and the mysterious decayed object most (what was that thing, anyway?). Gives off really strange mood …

  4. Jeffrey says

    Great pictures as always, but I find places like this one particularly depressing. Many places, like the hideous Kappa Onsen hotel, never should have been built and should now be razed. This place, while not exactly architecturally significant, doesn’t seem to be quite the blight that are other out-of-scales places.

    The government (yes, I know it’s broke) should have taken over a place like this and turned it into a hostel or a similarly affordable retreat.

    • says

      I know what you mean. Sheltered by the trees, this place isn’t too bad though. In fact we almost drove past it. Certainly nothing like the Kappa.

      But yeah, I totally agree, especially in such a popular area. But strangely, considering the fame of the five lakes, not to mention Fuji-san, a lot of it is terribly rundown. Nice hotel then old and tacky swan boats. Followed by a barely visited museum or two, another hotel and then more abandoned or shack-like structures. A real shame, as it’s such a beautiful region.

      • Don says

        So, do areas like you describe typically rely on domestic tourism, international, or both? Thinking about the American southwest where I grew up, places like this were definitely domestic, and even largely regional. When I see places like this I am always amazed as it’s the sort of place I’d love to go – but I suppose if you’re already there the specialness is somewhat diminished, much like the places of my youth.

        I suppose I sort of answered my own question, didn’t I? ;)

        • says

          Mostly domestic Don. Some places, like the mentioned Kappa, are in areas that once saw a boom in tourism, but, due to numerous factors, are now struggling to attract anywhere near the same numbers. Something that the increasingly rundown nature of many of the struggling hotels only adds to.

          This place is a bit different though. The area around Mount Fuji is still very popular. In fact just down the road from it a new, fancy hotel has been built. So presumably SPG House just didn’t keep up with the times, or simply wasn’t offering what people want.

          • Don says

            Ahh, yes I’d forgotten about Kappa! That first shot of it is one of my favorites of yours, just actually. Someday, I need a long trip to that part of the world. =)

  5. Odin says

    You have photographed and visited a lot of these abandoned buildings/hotels. How far are they from rural areas or areas where people live? Did you tried to sleep there over night? I think the buildings could be not that safe from collapsing, so is it kind of illegal to go inside. I went once in the old Grand Hotel called “Angst” (german word for fear – it was the founders last name) in Italy and they were very sensitive about who is allowed to visit the site. A lot of questions but they come to mind every time you post this kind of series.

    • says

      It all depends really. Some are in the middle of nowhere, whereas others are in fairly built up areas. But yeah, it’s technically illegal I presume, although hardly the crime of the century. Probably trespassing.

      Nah, I’ve never tried to stay overnight in any of them. One or two would have been relatively comfortable, but as my aim is exploration and photography, there’d be nothing to gain from it — only the loss of a good night’s sleep!

    • says

      Yeah, this one in particular arguably contains elements of the past and the future.

      I really enjoy photographing and exploring them, so it’s great to know that other people get something out of them too.

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