Hachijo Royal Hotel
12 March 2014
Thrown into liquidation due to dwindling tourist numbers, this gargantuan beachside resort looms over the oceans edge like a gargoyle. Deserted during the mid-2000s, the hotel’s opulent interior includes restaurants, bars, function centres, bathhouses and many guest rooms - all left to decay behind closed doors since its employees departed.
Containing a combination of Western style and traditional Japanese guest rooms, the hotel’s overwhelming exterior seems far too large for its residential location. Filled with haunting pseudo-European statues staring through overgrown ferns and plants, the resort’s gloomy Tim Burton-esque forecourt is reminiscent of a scene from a twisted, dark fairy tale.
A swampy area covered with rubbish now replaces what was a marble-floored reception area. Stemming from this, a grand staircase leads upwards to the hotel’s maze of dark and eerie hallways. Miniature jungles thrive inside many of its ocean facing guest rooms due to a damp tropical climate, creating a surreal optical where ferns sprout through carpets, beds and lounge suites.
The resort’s glamorous top level offers a spectacular view over the ocean with well-furnished sitting rooms and formal reception areas still containing decorative plastic flowers in vases. Grass and trees sprout from the damp carpets of a first-class dining room, obviously reserved for guests with large pockets. Down in the lower levels there are dusty, dried-up bathing rooms containing slippers, towels, scrubbing brushes and wash buckets.
The ultimate fate of this opulent structure is unknown. Slowly chipping away at its exterior is the salty, corrosive seaside air, creating holes in its rooftop and cracks in the walls. Seemingly too large and costly for demolishment, its many rooms will continue to cultivate their miniature rainforests while the tropical seasons come and go.
Images from this location appear in Shane Thoms's forthcoming book 'Haikyo: The Modern Ruins of Japan', released via Carpet bombing Culture - available here