Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Hotel Tropical


I wasn't looking for ruins when I found the Hotel Tropical, I just noticed it as I was driving along the motorway on an unrelated errand. I took the next exit, which was a few kilometres down the road, and found my way back to the hotel. By this time it was dark, but I took some decent nocturnal photographs. I returned twice over the next few days to photograph the hotel, and a few other interesting sights in the area.

At first I took it to be an abandoned love hotel, because there were several love hotels nearby, and "Hotel Tropical" sounded like a typical love hotel name. I later realised that it was a business hotel. This was obvious from the sign outside, which listed prices for single and double rooms, rather than the prices for a "rest" or "stay" that you'd find at a love hotel. The Tropical is still listed on a lot of travel websites, so it must have gone out of business relatively recently.

No real attempt had been made to secure the building, so I just walked right in. The ground floor was taken up by a parking garage, and a small front desk area. There wasn't anything in the way of a lobby. A single elevator once carried guests to the floors above, but I had to use the external fire stairs.

There were four storeys of customer rooms, but the top storey only contained a few rooms. The rooms would have been typical of Japanese business hotels - nothing fancy, but perfectly adequate. I've often stayed in similar accommodation on my travels. As long as the place is clean, and has a decent bed, a shower, and a toilet, I'm satisfied. Anything more would be superfluous.

A lot of the walls were covered in graffiti, some of which was quite artistic.

Some of the rooms were littered with cans and food packaging, so I think homeless people may sometimes squat in the building. It would certainly be preferable to sleeping on the street, or under a bridge. The doors to some of the rooms were locked, which was slightly disconcerting, because it made me wonder if there were squatters inside.

I didn't see any laundry facilities in the hotel, just a large walk-in linen closet on each floor. Presumably the sheets and towels were sent out to a commercial laundry. I couldn't open the doors to some of the linen closets however, so it's possible that one of them was a small laundry room.

Only about half of the top floor was enclosed; the rest was a flat concrete roof which held a large air conditioning unit, a furnace, and various other equipment. A small tree was growing behind the air conditioner. A ladder led to the top of the building.

One end of the upper storey contained a small apartment, which could only be accessed via the roof. It was cramped even by Japanese standards, but had all the essential amenities. It may have housed the janitor, or perhaps the front desk clerk slept here overnight.

I lifted my tripod onto a little corrugated iron roof behind the ladder, climbed the ladder to the top roof, then reached down and got the tripod. I was surprised to find the rusting remains of an abandoned astronomical telescope. Judging by its condition, it must have been left up there for years. Perhaps whoever lived in the apartment below was interested in astronomy. I can only guess that the telescope somehow got damaged and wasn't considered worth repairing. I wonder what happened to the tripod - such a telescope would be impossible to use without one.

The area between the signs on opposite sides of the roof contained water tanks and other equipment.