After visiting the Sky Rest New Muroto in the southern part of Shikoku Jordy and I got back on the road to find an abandoned school in the middle of nowhere about 50 kilometers away. While the most popular way of finding places to explore seems to be (mostly useless) books like Nippon No Haikyo and doing research on the internet the most effective way to do it actually is to rent a car and hit the road. In our case we stumbled across two amazing abandoned places (or haikyo (廃墟), ruins, as they are known in Japan) on our way to the school: an abandoned hotel and an abandoned Pachinko parlor in amazing condition.
After about half an hour on the road I saw a huge sign advertising a hotel – and the sign looked like it wasn’t taken care of for at least a decade. I told Jordy about it and we decided to turn around. Driving up a hill for only a short distance there it was, the shangri-la (yes, lower case spelling…). Very unspectacular from the outside Jordy cracked some jokes about how the place doesn’t live up to its name, but we were disabused soon…
With the front desk gone and the kid’s play area and gift shop almost empty, the shangri-la became interesting when I entered the office behind the front desk. Amongst the mess of documents and office items like ink cartridges scattered all over the floor I found a photo album with wedding pictures. Was the shangri-la maybe more than it appeared from the outside? It was. Right around the corner was a rental counter for towels and other bathing equipment and from there I could already see the indoor water park – huge by Japanese standards, well below average being used to European facilities like that. Nevertheless fascinating, especially since the pool was quite complex with several small water slides and a bridge across to where I assume once a bar was.
The rest of the ground floor was occupied by a kitchen, another bar and a small recreational area outside. The hotel part of the shangri-la was on the second floor. All rooms were empty by the time of my visit, but one of them was labeled “CHAPEL”, so I guess it’s easy to say that the shangri-la was a wedding hotel.
No Japanese hotel is complete without two shared baths (one for men, one for women) and the ones here were quite nice, including a rather spacious sauna considering the size of the shangri-la.
Jordy and I weren’t the first visitors to the shangri-la in the 10 years since it was closed (judging by the ad for a marathon in November of 2000), but to my surprise I’ve never seen it on the internet before. There was a bit of chaos here and there, but almost none of the typical signs of vandalism ruining the more famous… ruins. No arson, hardly any smashed interior, no broken windows – hardly any mold, well-lit, secluded. A truly great place to explore!
(*Like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* if you don’t want to miss the latest articles and exclusive content – and subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube* to receive a message right after a new video is online…)