Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Hotel Touge


I found the Hotel Touge (Japanese for "mountain pass") in April 2014 while driving through the wooded hills east of Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture. It was on an isolated stretch of road, with no other buildings nearby. When I visited the trees were still mostly bare, but the surroundings must be pleasantly green in summer.

The hotel was set back somewhat from the road, and hidden from direct view by a strip of small trees and a concrete wall. A driveway ran from the entrance, through the middle of the property, to an exit on the opposite side. There were four cottages on each side of the driveway, each with an adjoining carport. A building near the entrance end of the driveway housed the proprietor's living quarters and office. The cottages were in quite good condition, but someone had smashed most of the front windows, and removed the door handles.

The carports had no doors or curtains, perhaps because regulations in Fukushima Prefecture don't allow them. Instead there were large "In Use" (使用中) signs, the main purpose of which was probably to hide the licence plates. If there's a vehicle parked in the carport, you shouldn't need a sign to tell you that the room is in use, and given the location I doubt that many customers arrived on foot.

I had a look around the back of the hotel, but I didn't see anything much apart from some oil tanks, a water tank, and a few sheds. I'm not sure what else you'd expect to find behind a rural love hotel.

I didn't see anything unusual about the office or living quarters. They were similar to what I've seen in other rural love hotels. A lot of personal effects had been left behind, even partially used boxes of tissues. I didn't see any calendars or anything else with a date, but I did notice that one of the electric pots in the store room was manufactured in 1997, which at least proves that the hotel was abandoned some time after that.

The rooms were in good condition and relatively clean, although some leaves had blown in through the broken windows. The furniture and fittings had been left behind, apart from the mattresses. The décor was typical of a small love hotel - a little gaudy, but not distasteful. When it was open it would have been a pleasant enough place for a romantic interlude.