Twin Love Hotels

This is the final adventure from my Tochigi road trip last January, a pair of love hotels in such bad condition that they’re both sinking into the ground and falling to pieces at the same time. I really had to watch my step. It was a lucky day for discoveries. The long drive home from Tochigi saw us making several unexpected stops as we stumbled upon a cluster of abandoned buildings.

 I recognised this place from a couple of Japanese explorers’ websites, now I had about half an hour to see it for myself. It was difficult to gauge the size of the area due to the undergrowth. Twenty years’ worth of growth apparently, as the first hotel closed in 1989 and the second in 1992. Rather than several long buildings these hotels favoured rows of individual love cottages.

Some cottages were unenterable. The ones that I could get inside had big holes in the floor, years of water damage, and ready to collapse floorboards. The decor was predictably gaudy inside, a few rooms had more of a specific theme like this woodland room.

The view from the second floor of one of the cottages. This was as far as I went in there. Many of the love cottages had their own sauna rooms. Every now and again a face would pop up inside the sauna’s small, circular window …

And the rest of the story is in pictures. No drama this time but more importantly, no injuries.

Advertisements

7 responses

  1. Chris

    I explored these places myself in 2013 after reading about them here: http://spikejapan.wordpress.com/ugly-japan-2/

    I judged it too dangerous to go upstairs in any of the villas, although I did climb to the landing in one of them. You were braver, or perhaps more foolhardy, than I was.

    Can you tell me where you got the information on when these hotels closed? The author of the Spike Japan blog estimated about 1980, based on the ancient TV sets and advanced state of decay. I reckoned he wasn’t far off. I’d be interested in any information that you have on the history of these places.

    January 24, 2014 at 9:11 am

    • misuterareta

      As far as I can remember I found calendars in the huts which gave me the dates they both closed. Did you document your exploration of the sites? I’m a featherweight so I didn’t have any problems climbing around. That said, those buildings are becoming more and more dangerous to explore as time goes by. I found Hotel Dreamy on this trip as well, but the owner was actually hanging around with her dog, so I presumed it was still in operation in one way or another.

      January 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm

  2. Chris

    I’m a keen amateur photographer, so photographing the ruins was my main reason for visiting. My photographic style is slow and deliberate, using a DSLR mounted on a tripod, with each shot carefully set up. In most cases I shot 3 to 5 bracketed exposures, which I later fused into a single image using a program called Photomatix. (This is similar to HDR, but uses a different algorithm.) Due to the dim light I often used exposures as long as 30 seconds for interior shots. A lot of the floors were so unsteady and covered with debris that it wasn’t easy to get a solid footing for the tripod.

    So far I’ve only shared the photos with a few friends on Facebook. I don’t have my own web site or blog.

    I weigh a little over 80 kg, and my equipment would have hindered a quick escape if the building started to collapse. When I visited a lot of the joists were broken or rotten, and the frames looked ready to give way at the slightest strain. Some had already done so, as shown by the partially collapsed buildings.

    I spent 2 nights in the area (arrived late on day 1, left mid afternoon on day 3) and photographed all four abandoned hotels in the area – the Don Quixote, Century, Dreamy, and Crown. The Dreamy was well and truly abandoned when I visited. The doors were unlocked, and many even had the keys in the doors, as if they were still awaiting guests. I spent hours photographing the place without anyone interrupting me. It was in good condition, although someone had removed a lot of the aluminium window frames, and some of the entertainment systems had been broken open, presumably to steal the CDs.

    I think the fifth hotel in the area, the Asaka, has also been abandoned. The gate was closed, and it looked dilapidated. I had a wander around the courtyard and didn’t see any signs of life, but I wasn’t entirely sure so I didn’t take any photographs. It was late in the day, I was tired, and I didn’t care for an encounter with an angry caretaker.

    January 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm

  3. Chris

    By the way, what’s the story with the face in the sauna? Did you find it in the hotel or did you bring it with you as a joke?

    January 25, 2014 at 8:13 am

    • misuterareta

      Oh that wasn’t me! One of the Japanese explorers stuck several of those up before I paid a visit. I’d be interested in seeing how you captured the sites, if you put them online at some point. I had a pretty limited time to explore these sites, and it was snowing as well. I’d rather do what you did and really take my time to thoroughly explore the area. If I go back someday I’ll try and see what state the Asaka and Dreamy are in.

      January 26, 2014 at 6:52 am

  4. I finally got my photographs online if you’re still interested. You can find my article on the Don Quixote at http://www.bleakscenes.net/japan/kinugawa-onsen/hotel-don-quixote/index.html

    I mentioned your information about when the hotels closed, and took the liberty of linking to your blog.

    April 26, 2015 at 9:24 am

    • misuterareta

      Thanks for sharing, it’s an interesting alternative take on the place. Your interior shots are nice and clear, which is always a challenge.
      I can see from your other posts you’ve been quite busy with your travels! I’ll be sure to check back and see what other places you’ve discovered.

      April 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s