Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Hotel New Royal


The Hotel New Royal is an abandoned love hotel overlooking a river in Yamanashi Prefecture. I read an account by some Japanese explorers who visited the hotel in 2012, and explored it myself in early 2016. It was a beautiful winter day, with the remains of a recent snowfall still on the ground. Before visiting the hotel, I had a pleasant stroll down to the river and took a few photographs of the surrounding scenery.

The New Royal was directly across the street from another love hotel, which was still in business. I waited until there was no traffic around, and slipped quietly through the front gate and around the back of the building where I couldn't be seen from the road.

The Hotel New Royal consisted of a single two storey building, with a driveway going all the way around. The guest rooms were all upstairs. The ground floor contained a parking space for each room, with a private staircase leading directly to the room above. The customers would have selected a room, parked their car, and climbed directly to the room. There were no doors or curtains to hide the cars from prying eyes, but I did notice a pile of traffic barriers that were probably used to at least hide the licence plates.

I walked along the back of the building, trying each door in turn. Most of them were locked, and I began to think that maybe the building had been secured, and I had made a wasted journey. I go on the general principle that if a building is obviously abandoned, and no effort has been made to secure it, nobody is likely to be overly concerned about me having a look around. I will not however try to force my way into a locked building. Fortunately the last door had been left open, so I went inside and climbed the stairs to the room above.

The entrance to the boiler room was on the ground floor at the office end of the building. The door was unlocked so I had a look inside.

The hotel's roof was apparently still watertight and the windows were unbroken, so the guest rooms were dry and in remarkably good condition. Someone had stolen the taps from the bathrooms, and broken open the air conditioners to remove the valuable copper within, but apart from a little graffiti I didn't see any gratuitous vandalism.

The rooms were fairly spacious and would have been comfortable. Most had fairly standard love hotel décor, but a few were more interesting. One room featured a bed shaped like a Rolls-Royce, and another had a rotating bed. One bed had what appeared to be a seat in the middle of the mattress. I imagine that it could be raised up via controls in the bed-head, but I've never seen such a thing before and can only speculate about how it was used.

It looked like the owner didn't bother to salvage anything from the rooms when the hotel was abandoned. TV sets, refrigerators, microwave ovens, furniture, and bedding had all been left behind. Even the personal hygiene products in the bathrooms, and the information booklets were still there. This is not unusual in Japan. Second hand goods have so little value that it's usually not even worth the cost of removing them, so they're abandoned along with the building. Abandoned buildings in Japan are therefore like time capsules from decades gone by.

A place like this would seem a little spooky at night, but on the bright winter's day when I visited plenty of light streamed in through the windows, and it was almost cheerful.

A service corridor ran down the centre of the hotel, connecting the guest rooms to the office. This would have been off-limits to the guests. There was a little curtained shutter for each room, which the guests could have used to pay their bills or receive room service without the need to show their faces.

There was a combined office, dining room, and kitchen at one end of the second storey. A calendar on the wall was open to May 2006, so the place had presumably been abandoned nearly a decade before I made my visit. The office equipment, documents, and even a lot of personal effects had been left behind, as if the manager had just stepped out on an errand one day and never come back.

It looked like the roof around the extractor fan above the stove was starting to leak, and water was beginning to do its destructive work.

The hotel's laundry room was at one end of the corridor next to the office. There's not much to say about it, except how undisturbed it looked. Half-used bottles of cleaning products were still in boxes on the floor, and a few cloths and towels were still slung over the ropes where they'd been left a decade before.

A staircase next to the office led to a room downstairs, which was filled with cardboard boxes and assorted junk. This was the only unpleasant part of the building. The ceiling was showing signs of water damage from the leaking roof above. I discovered that the front door had been broken open, which would have provided another way into the building if the door that I used hadn't been left open.

A futon laid out on the floor suggested that someone had once squatted here. I thought it was odd that a squatter would choose this room when the far more comfortable and well preserved guest rooms were freely available.