Head down to the coast from Izu-Ōkawa Station (a ten minute walk) and one of the first things you’ll see is an abandoned hotel with peeling beige walls surrounded by palm trees. I was not even aware of this place beforehand as I was just in that area to see Lion Rock. However, once I was done at the animal-shaped rock formation, I returned to the area outside the hotel and was quite surprised to see how completely open to the public it was. For those unaware, such abandoned buildings (and there are many in Japan!) are usually fenced off in some way to keep people out.
This haikyo (abandoned ruin) is passed by anyone driving up or down Route 135 which is the main road winding its way down the east coast of the Izu Peninsula. It is the Okawa Grand Hotel; a typical resort hotel that was built in the 1970s in Higashi-Izu in Shizuoka Prefecture. For the record it was also sometimes known by other names such as Dai Grand Hotel, River Grand Hotel, O Grand Hotel and so on.
Of course one should always enter such places with great caution (or probably not enter at all!) as you never know the condition or whether there are people inside. Keen to take a look into a world which time forgot, I entered from the car park and was immediately surprised to see so much trash which I carefully walked over as I explored parts of the former hotel.
I can’t be too sure if this was all from the hotel or whether people have used it as a dumping ground for their sizeable unwanted goods which you usually have to pay to be taken away by the refuse collectors.
It was a medium-sized resort hotel consisting of four stories right on the coast which must have made for some fine views. One can only imagine what it was like when you see its present decayed remains. The salt of the sea really destroys things quickly and wooden structure will have been weathered by the sun shining thereby causing excessive growth of moss and lichen.
The abandoned lakeside hotel I explored a few years ago near Ippeki-ko was in much better condition which is quite surprising as the Okawa Grand Hotel only closed for business in 2004. It seems fairly recent to me but nearly two decades is long enough for nature to take its toll. Well that and the people who have vandalised it! Graffiti can be seen on the walls throughout the facility.
There is supposedly a large swimming pool at the northern end of the hotel but I didn’t see it as I never ventured so far in that direction. A little annoying but I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity to return soon if I so desire.
This old hotel is in a prominent place on the coast and, even though it has long been abandoned, there’s still a fair number of people passing through its (non-existent!) doors every week! It’s easy to see why as there is something alluring about places that are a frail version of their former selves.
Izu possesses plenty of palm trees, some beautiful sandy beaches, and a climate which is a little warmer than Tokyo. All of that is still apparent when you look out of the windows of this deteriorating structure and can briefly forget about the extent of topical resort decay. Proof maybe that it is better to be in the sh*thole with a good view rather than the other way round.
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