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)
This is the second part of my Okinawa explorations, see part one below.
Day Two The Rekio Hotel was built around the time of the Okinawa Ocean Expo. In that decade there was a boom in hotel construction, hoping to cater for the influx of tourists. Many people did come, but not enough to sustain the hotel’s business long-term. Demolition costs for the hotel are said to be too expensive, and the current owners / shareholders can’t sell it … leaving it in limbo.
From a ruins perspective Okinawa is not a goldmine of locations. The excess and extravagance of the construction from the bubble era looks like it never extended to Japan’s southern most prefecture. Small shops and houses aside I’d say there are around ten unique ruins to find scattered around the island, and no more. I found four, including the largest ruin I think I’ll ever explore (more on that in the next post). Due to its heavy rainfall, strong winds and natural disasters the state of the buildings in Okinawa is generally dirty, run-down, and faded. In short, large areas of the island looked like they were in a state of a ruin. Driving around the island, trying to spot ruins from a distance … was impossible. My usual alertness for finding ruins was completely useless here, I had to rely on the locations I’d found from my research.
It’s been too dark and cold to enjoy any explorations these past few months. But as winter is coming to an end I’m able to get back into action … starting with this little curiosity in the wilds of Gunma. On the way there me and Brian discussed the issue of giving credit for finding sites within the Haikyo community. He argued there wasn’t any point doing it … while I tried to explain why I thought it was important. Like I did with this location, people put time and effort finding these sites … and it’s a nice nod of respect between fellow enthusiasts. Especially if the site’s going to end up in a book one day. But anyway, I digress … dinosaurs!
I’ve been itching to get out exploring for weeks … with my work deadlines behind me it was finally time for my next adventure. The weather was immaculate. Making what I thought would be a dark little adventure, a summerlike stroll in the countryside. Another 6 hours of walking in total … I could’ve come here by car if I wanted to. But I prefered to explore on foot, and at my own pace. I’ll need some time for my blisters and cuts to heal though. This was the first place I found. (more…)
Sanzhi’s abandoned holiday resort was truly an oddity, a space-age inspired complex that earned the nickname ‘UFO village’. An eccentric architect known only as “Old Taro” is believed to man behind the design, although it owes an obvious debt to the pod houses of Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, made in the 1960’s. With construction on the site beginning way back in 1978, millions of Taiwanese dollars were poured into the project but design problems and construction conflicts left the village in limbo in 1980. After failed attempts to revive construction years later the site was abandoned for good in 1989. Since then the area had been a curiosity for photographers & travellers and has been used in the occasional feature film.
Like several of my fellow explorers I’m reaching a point where all known Haikyo spots of interest in local or neighbouring regions have been visited already … forcing further trips afield and more expensive excursions. I do however believe there are more interesting Haikyos out there waiting to be discovered, so this week was a kind of test of my ability to find something new. On Monday I was able to find a decent hotel ruin in Nagano, but was foiled by security vans and was unable to enter it. This was Friday’s explorations. (more…)