The Hotel Suzukigaike is a large abandoned hot spring resort hotel near the sea in Niigata Prefecture, which I explored over two days in April 2014. I saw several 2003 calendars hanging on the walls, so it seems safe to assume that the place closed around that time.
The hotel consisted of a series of interconnected buildings that were built up the side of a hill. The main entrance and lobby were on the lowest level, and the guest rooms were in a large building on top of the hill.
I began my exploration with the hilltop building, and explored the lower buildings the following day. The whole place had been left wide open, so I was free to explore and photograph where ever I liked.
I saw several steel towers which apparently once supported a rope-way. A shed near the bathhouse contained what appeared to be the winding gear, as well as another machine which may have been a pump to draw water from the hot spring.
The bathhouse was a modest wooden building, located a short distance from the hilltop hotel building and connected by an enclosed walkway. As usual, there were separate changing rooms and baths for men and women. Each sex had two baths, one indoors and a larger one outdoors. The outdoor baths were bordered by small gardens, which were now overgrown. The men's bath had become a stagnant pond, and the women's bath was bone dry.
I thought the bathing facilities were surprisingly small for a hotel of this size, considering that the hot springs were supposedly the main reason for visiting.
The front doors were wide open, so I just walked right in and got to work with my cameras. I can't write anything about the scene that isn't revealed by the photographs.
At one stage I was interrupted by a man who entered the lobby and looked around for a while. He was wearing some kind of company uniform, like a technician or someone of that sort. I had no idea what he was doing there - for all I know he might just have been curious. Given the complete lack of any attempt to keep people out of the building, I doubt that anyone would have cared too much about me being there. Nevertheless, I thought it best to avoid being seen, in case he asked me to leave, so I retreated out of sight until he left.
There was a large bar area directly above the lobby, with a small stage in one corner.
This office area was behind the front desk.
The lower part of the hotel contained numerous halls and dining rooms, which were apparently used to host weddings and other events.
Water had entered in various places, causing severe decay. The floor of one large Japanese style room had largely collapsed, leaving the rotting tatami mats lying unevenly on the rotting joists like waves on the sea.
There was a separate lobby in the hilltop building, which contained the guest rooms. Elevators at one end once provided access to the middle levels of the hotel, half way up the hill. From there, guests would presumably have caught another elevator to get to the lower building.
I didn't see any stairs leading to the middle levels from either the bottom or the top, so I didn't explore that area. I probably could have found a way in if I'd tried hard enough, but there was so much to explore and photograph that I didn't get around to it.
The guest rooms were all in the hilltop building. The ones that I entered were all Japanese style. A lot of the windows had been left open, or were broken, and much of the wallpaper was mouldy and peeling. The futons and perhaps some of the furniture had been removed, but many other items remained.
The top level of the hilltop building was only partially enclosed. most of the interior space was used for a single large public room, which I guessed was once a restaurant. The outdoor area formed a large observation desk, which gave great views of the Sea of Japan and the surrounding countryside.
The lowest level of the hilltop building contained machinery, storage, and laundry rooms. There was almost no ambient light, so I had to use my LED panels for illumination. I used the daylight hours to photograph other parts of the hotel, and photographed these rooms as night was falling. It was a little creepy exploring the bowels of an abandoned hotel at night, and I was glad when my work was done and I could leave.
There was a large diesel generator, which would have been used as a backup in case of blackouts. Other rooms contained what I took to be furnaces and water heaters.
This was obviously the hotel's laundry.