The Ruins Of Okinawa (3) The Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel

This is the third part of my Okinawa explorations, see parts one and two below.

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 actually fully completed. The conglomeration of construction companies in charge went bankrupt shortly before the Expo, and despite numerous talks to organise its demolition, it survives to this day. The ruin is well known throughout Okinawa, and has been used in tv shows and music videos, such as Miyuki Nakajima’s single Taka Ga Ai (See it here)

To get to its grounds you have to go through the ruins of the 15th century Nakagusuku castle. It’s an odd juxtaposition, one ruin next to another.

 

At the entrance there’s no security or even a fence to keep intruders out. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but there was a white sign in Japanese. My wife translated it later, saying it was a message from the owners of the land detailing the difficulties the hotel project faced. And it even went so far as to name the officials one by one who were to blame for the state it had fallen into. The ruin had obviously attracted a fair few foreign visitors in its time. Numerous quotes and ramblings had been scrawled in English throughout the grounds such as “One Step Toward The Gods …”.

 

 

Time was again limited for my exploration. All in all I think I saw less than half of the hotel in the hour I spent there. You could easily dedicate a whole book to this ruin … I would recommend my fellow explorers to schedule at least a few hours to see this place properly. And try a find a map.

As is customary there was plenty of weird / schizophrenic graffiti inside. Rom, who had left his huge tag on the Rekio Hotel (on the other side of Okinawa) had a tag here too. More weird graffiti: The fat lady | The consumer.

 

Some areas required a bit of climbing to enter, but basically all areas were accessible, one way or another.

 

This was the first room where I was expecting to find some shady characters lurking around. Luckily there was no-one around (that I noticed) the whole time. There were several pitch-black rooms here I didn’t have the nerve to stick around too long in.

 

There were several machine rooms to peruse, if that’s your type of thing.

 

You could attempt to approach the ruin through its surrounding forest, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The trees have overgrown to a point where even the highest part of the ruin is completely blocked from sight most of the time. I found this out the hard way, getting thoroughly lost in the maze-like forest looking for the main building.

 

Climbing out on the roofs the buildings on each level offered great views of the surrounding area. Strong winds however, offered to push me off the edge – no thanks.

 

The uppermost building had been stripped bare of everything but its most basic structure. There were a lot of steps of climb to reach the top. Each level had it’s own message to try and freak you out: ‘DON’T GO’, ‘YOU’RE NOT ALONE’.

 

It felt almost appropriate for somebody or some nasty surprise to be waiting for me at the top. Not a soul. Not even a Vampire.

 

I took a different route out of the complex, dashing and shooting some of the other buildings I didn’t have time to see the first time. If I can I’d like to come back here some day. There’s plenty more to see and discover at the Nakagusuku Hotel.

Credit for the ruin: Nippon no Haiko author Ryuji Sakai and the Japanese Haikyo community.

See alternative takes from Japanese explorers on the ruin here and here.

 

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4 responses

  1. OTB

    Great posting! How were you able to discover background information on the hotel? I have never been able to find anything concrete. I recently moved away from Okinawa after living there 2 1/2 years and I was able to visit the site twice. It *is* huge and very fascinating to me, and I’d love to know more about its background and why it was abandoned.

    December 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

  2. Pingback: GUEST – Okinawa’s grandest ruin | Michael John Grist

  3. JohnS

    I was stationed there from 1980-81 and went to Nakagusuku castle a couple of times but never noticed this. I love ruins even if they’re modern. I think about Okinawa a lot, most interesting place I’ve ever been. I would love to go back someday. Very interesting thanks.

    August 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm

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