Faded and rundown resort towns are plentiful in Japan; incredibly forlorn looking places that say a lot about the country’s past, and maybe even more about its future.
Once populated by scores of couples and young families on short breaks, they are now far quieter, with shuttered up shops hinting at businesses that once were, but almost certainly never will be again. And just as shops and the like suffer, so do hotels, with the inevitable decline in occupancy hitting profits hard; money that in part would have been used to upgrade the rooms and facilities to keep them competitive. A vicious circle that makes such accommodation increasingly less appealing, which in turn further hits earnings and makes any kind of refurbishment more or less impossible. The inevitable outcome of which is closure.
Hotel Omiya closed its doors some time in the early 90s, although rather oddly the final nail in the coffin was apparently a lift accident — the resultant fine proving too much for the presumably ailing business to pay. But even back then the whole building must have been terribly dated, and now, after considerable acts of vandalism and years of exposure to the elements, pretty much any sense of its former grandeur has gone.
That said, the aforementioned wanton destruction and weather have resulted in the unexpected beauty of nature beginning to take the place back — a factor that’s very noticeable on the higher floors, with carpets now better described as lush.
In more sheltered spots the invasion isn’t anywhere near as pronounced, but the slower process is still just as appealing.
Along with a scene that suggests someone was actually living there at some point. For what appeared to be quite a while too.
But now — as it has been for most of the last two decades or so — there are no people. No noises either. Just an unnatural, sort of muffled silence, if that makes any sense.
Along with the far more common sensation of long lost memories.