Return to Okinawa – Isolated Island Ruins
Like the Rekio Hotel and Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel I visited some years back this building was another casualty of the Okinawa Expo construction boom. The structure was built on a previously uninhabited island, known to the locals as ‘Dolphin Island’. Several decades of weathering have taken their toll on the structure, washing away almost everything that could be used to identify it. Nobody seems to remember the name of the building either; the only scraps of information remaining are a fragment of an address (2319), and the rumour that the building was never completed. So what kind of business could they have built on a tiny island like this? If it wasn’t a hotel then what could it be …
The ruin is accessible during the day by boat, but there is a small window of time when the tide goes out that explorers can reach it on foot. I didn’t know how much time I would have, so I raced over to the island as soon as I could. With the tide out, the locals really seemed to enjoy their daily trip out onto the seabed. Families went out with fishing nets, people took their dogs out for a walk, and groups of ヤンキー ventured out to sit on the stacks of tetrapods. Plenty of the locals took notice when they saw where I was beelining to, but I couldn’t afford to go back at another time. The opposite side of the island had a bridge that could act as a landing bay, but at low tide this was the quickest and easiest way to get on to the island.
Both the roof and the floor of this unmarked building are almost completely gone now, this was the first time I’ve ever entered a ruin through the floor! Okinawa has a bit of a problem with graffiti. Not that I don’t appreciate a good mural when I see it … but most of the graffiti in Okinawa (and this ruin) was pretty amateurish and not worth documenting. Time to go up the stairs to the next level. It was possible to get to the roof from the next section, but I chose to head inside the biggest room inside the main building.
Any idea what this place is yet? There were the remains of what looked like a restaurant counter … and after crawling through a broken doorway, a room which looked like it used to be a kitchen. Being secluded on an island made this a far more relaxed explore than usual. I do struggle to enjoy ruins sometimes with the paranoia of impending capture/discovery looming over me. Below you can see the actual entrance that everyone coming on the island would have used. I would’ve liked to have made it out on to the landing platform as well, but it was too overgrown and I wasn’t in the mood to stomp my way through.
Down a set of stairs I found another bare bones room which would eventually lead me to the answer of what this ruin used to be. I only took one photo as I quickly passed through this green room but the red kanji on the wall ‘水槽に手をふれないでください’ told me that this place used to be a small-scale aquarium. The various types of tanks didn’t appear to have any remains in them, only black water, cobwebs and a pretty pungent smell to ward off visitors. There were numerous winding steps and different cave-like rooms in the aquarium section to visit, but they were all dark and difficult to photograph. The basement room had an Okinawan-style shrine and a bright pink tank that could have accommodated some larger, more interesting sea life.
So there you have it, a restaurant slash aquarium on its own island. A unique haikyo, that is unlikely to exist in any other prefecture in Japan. It would be fascinating to see some pictures of this place from the seventies, if indeed they do exist.