Japan’s mass tourism boom of the 1950s and 1960s, followed by the economic bubble a few decades later, were in many ways the making of the country’s numerous hot spring resorts.
They also turned out to be their downfall.
During the bubble years in particular, ever more, and ever bigger hotels changed the look and feel of such places, and worse, when the bubble finally burst, the inevitable drop in visitors meant there simply weren’t enough people to fill all those many-roomed monstrosities. Add to that the subsequent recession, not to mention changing trends, and it’s no wonder so many of these towns are now rundown, partly abandoned reminders of their once prosperous pasts.
Below then are photographs from such a place. A town like so many others. One that was built in an optimistic past, but now remains forever stuck in a very different, and also indifferent, future.