Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Oirasekeiryu Onsen Hotel


I came across this rather large abandoned hot spring hotel in October 2013 as I was driving through Aomori Prefecture towards Lake Towada. The place was large, and I arrived well after midday, so I didn't get all the photographs that I wanted before nightfall. I returned for a few hours the following day to finish the job.

The grounds contained some beautiful trees, and quite a few tourists stopped by to take photographs while I was there. As far as I know nobody had a look inside the building, except for me.

The front doors were locked, so I climbed the external stairs at one end of the building and tried the side door. It was unlocked, so I ventured inside. This was one of the first ruins that I'd explored, and I was surprised to see such a large place left unsecured. I've since learned that disused buildings in Japan are often completely unsecured. Neither the buildings nor their contents are worth anything, so any money spent protecting them would be wasted.

The gabled roofs at either end of the hotel still kept out the rain, so the rooms below were dry and in good condition. They looked almost as if they had been prepared to welcome guests who would never arrive. The furniture, futons, and other items were still in place, bathrobes were lying neatly folded in baskets in the corners, and the ends of the toilet paper rolls were still folded into the triangular shape that's customary in Japanese hotels. I picked up one of the emergency torches and it still worked. The floors were littered with a huge number of dead beetles, but the rooms were otherwise surprisingly clean.

The central part of the hotel was in a much worse state. The flat roof was leaking badly, and some of the rooms below were suffering extensive water damage.

Most of the windows on the ground floor had been boarded up, so it was too dark to photograph most of the rooms. I didn't have any artificial lighting with me. I did manage to get some shots of the lobby, a Japanese style restaurant, and a few other rooms. The ceiling of the lobby was starting to fall down due to water damage.

A lot of furniture and other items had been stacked in various places. One room, which looked like a kitchen, was full of rental bicycles. Another room, a little structure attached to the rear of the building, had collapsed.

While examining my photographs later on, I noticed a calendar in one of them which was open at June 2006. The hotel must have been abandoned at this time or later.

There was an observation deck on the roof, which gave decent views of the surrounding area. Only a few hundred metres away, on the other side of a river, a more fortunate hotel remained in business.