In Japan you can barely throw a stone without hitting an abandoned hotel. Most of them are miserable, moldy and completely uninteresting places, but some are worth visiting for special elements – like rooms full of rotting arcade machines!
The Arcade Machine Hotel was actually the second abandoned hotel I explored on *Hachijojima*, an island some 300 kilometers south of Tokyo. It looked huge on Google Maps and it actually took me two visits to fully explore it – during the first one I kind of ran out of time as I wanted to climb Hachijo-Fuji that day, too, so I returned two days later and approached from a different direction to see the missing parts; but first things first.
Upon arrival at the Arcade Machine Hotel I explored the immediate surroundings, only to find out that there was a still inhabited house rather close-by… and that a party was going on at an adjacent field, with cars parked almost up to the hotel. Even from the lobby I was able to hear people laugh and talk, so I had to choose my steps very carefully – luckily everybody was gone by the time that I started taking some video material (of which I published more than 23 minutes with this article). The ground floor of the hotel was pretty interesting, though quite vandalized given that it was abandoned just 10 year ago. The bar still had a soft ice-cream machine and a coffee grinder, the lobby a table video game and old tourism posters, the dining hall some chairs… and the office a lot of chaos. Quite spooky was a room connecting the dining hall with the lobby and the waterfront area. The room itself had some rather interesting soda machines rusting away, but you could also hear water dripping… probably in the dark restrooms – I wasn’t eager to find out.
Instead I was eager to get out and have a look at a really strange concrete annex building, just a short walk away from the main hotel, separated by the complex’s tennis courts. Maybe the living quarters of some employees, for sure home of the hotel’s diving school – there were quite a few posters left behind as well as equipment (like waterproof cases for cameras) and medicine (like the pseudoephedrine hydrochloride a.k.a. Sudafed – “Relieves nasal and sinus congestions due to colds or hay fever”).
Back at the main building I headed towards the waterfront through a greenhouse hallway with mostly dead plants. To the right I saw a small room with a Space Invaders cabinet, followed by a large hall, partly collapsed, with a hotchpotch of arcade machines, freezers and vending machines – I grew up with some of those machines, so it was a really sad sight to see them like that…
Shortly after the hallway split and I went left as I was too lazy to crawl under a roller door, open only one quarter. The floor all of a sudden became quite soft, so I had to watch my steps, and then I reached the waterfront area, a series of vandalized and partly collapsed tatami party rooms as well as the gender separated public baths with a view – you know, the stuff pretty much every abandoned Japanese hotel has. So I hurried back to the main hotel building for a video walkthrough, which turned out to be quite creepy for such a sunny day.
At that point it was a lot later than I hoped it would be, so I left the Arcade Machine Hotel for Mount Hachijo-Fuji… and came back two days later, when I was hiking along the coast. It turned out that the hotel was approachable from there without climbing under nasty, rusty, rotten gates on soft, brittle floors and I finally found what should give this article its name – the hotel’s arcade! The previously mentioned storage hall actually held only maybe half of the machines left behind, most likely less. Corroding away and already beyond repair were a Star Wars pinball machine (!), several Astro City cabinets, Flash Beats by Sega, Namco’s Wani Wani Panic, a Sega air hockey, Dance Dance Revolution Bass Mix (for two players!) and many more… a fully stocked arcade literally vanishing into thin air thanks to the salty humid breeze coming in from the sea, just a stone’s throw away!
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