After *a surprisingly successful recent exploration in China* it’s about time to write about a surprisingly unsuccessful exploration in Japan I did 3.5 years ago.
On a nice spring day I made my way to Wakayama prefecture to check out the Kuratani Onsen, which had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful abandoned onsen in all of Japan. The next train station was about 1.5 hours away, but I didn’t mind the walk towards one of Wakayama’s gorgeous mountain ranges. Along the way I saw a small abandoned house, emptied, windows smashed – rather uninteresting, despite me being rather inexperienced back then. Probably somebody’s weekend home in the 1990s.
A few minutes later I finally reached the Kuratani Onsen… and I was shocked by its condition. Parts of the building complex were collapsed, probably under the weight of snow in the winter – the downside of unmaintained wooden buildings, gorgeous as they usually are. The rest was trashed beyond believe. But not just vandalized, filled with trash up to my knees in parts. It’s generally amazing how much garbage you find in remote areas in Japan as waste disposal can be quite expensive in the land of the rising sun. But what kind of person would drive to an abandoned building and get rid of their trash there?
Not only was the whole place nasty because of it, the trash also attracted all kinds of animals – spiders, flies, bugs; probably some rodents, too. This was probably the most disgusting abandoned place I’ve ever visited – and since it was before my “jeans and hiking boots even in summer when doing urbex” habit, I didn’t even try to make my way across all that garbage. Instead I took a path on the right side of the building to make it to the upper floor, smashed to pieces and probably not safe either… The metal entrance part was already too rusty for me to trust it on a solo exploration. And so I left with a couple of crappy photos after about half an hour. Not my shortest exploration ever (that title still belongs to the more or less failed *Sekigahara Menard Land* snow expedition earlier the same year), but probably one of the most disappointing ones.
And that’s pretty much it… One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so I hope you were not too disappointed by this week’s article (though I wouldn’t blame you, but not all of my explorations are spectacular, so sometimes I have to write about duds, too) – but if you were, you might consider *liking Abandoned Kansai on Facebook*. Especially in weeks with an unspectacular location I upload some exclusive preview material there – the photos scheduled for later this week will show you some amazing locations that I’m sure you will like as much as I do!