I lived in Japan for three months before I had to leave and return to Korea. I’m a long distance runner in many senses that I won’t get into here, but if I know you and i’m comfortable with you, I will expand on this thought with a coffee or beer. ANYWAY, I didn’t know many people where I lived so I filled my free time with expensive rides on buses and trains to find haikyo. When I finally did meet a person, it was a mother of a child I was teaching at the time. It quickly evolved into a romantic affair. Multiple big, flaming red flags I chose to ignore in order to feel less lonely in an alien land. Anyways, I would endlessly go on about urban exploration with her. She, in turn, bought me numerous haikyo books for which I am still grateful for. I don’t know whether she caught the UE bug after that time, but she was at least curious enough to come explore with me on one of the few weekends she was without her kid. We ended up exploring two locations that day. I will focus on the main exploration which was the Shinshu Kanko Hotel (信州観光ホテル) in Nagano Prefecture. One of these days I will post about the building we found on accident. Now on with the show.
I don’t have my copy of ニッポンの廃墟 (Nippon No Haikyo) on me so I can’t tell officially when the hotel/resort closed, but the looks and remains show it being closed for atleast a decade. It’s a behemoth of a complex. A seven story main complex connected to two distinct hotel/onsen/restaurants. When you arrive to the roof it gives a spectacular view of the city, river, and surrounding hills. Eighty percent of the building is stable to navigate around, but suddenly you come across sketchy scenes like this:
Nagano Prefecture gets boat loads of snow every winter. It’s a famous tourist destination for skiing. Years of neglect and high snow levels year after year put pressure on unused wooden buildings until they implode. The structures built with concrete withstand the burden of snow a little bit better. Not sure how much longer this building in this first picture will last.
Personal highlights include the tile work in the onsen and the curtains from the performance halls. What a beautiful Asahi Beer curtain! Some of the rooms I visited also had some beautiful decor on the paper walls. I definitely recommend visiting this place. It’s worth three to four hours of your time. Bring a friend, bring a lover, or go alone!