Back in the early 1960’s it wasn’t possible for Japanese tourists to travel oversees, so the country’s tourism industry tried to compensate by building equivalent resorts closer to home. The island of Hachijo-jima, part of the Izu islands in the Philippine sea, was chosen for its subtropical climate and it was promoted as the ‘Hawaii of Japan’. With a distance of 287 kilometers (178 miles) south of Tokyo, it was possible to reach the island by ferry or by plane.
The island saw a lot of investments with many new hotels being built. The largest of them was lavish Hachijo Royal Hotel. Modeled on French Baroque architecture, its gardens contained plaster renditions of Greek statues and ornate water fountains. The hotel attracted clients from Japan’s expanding middle class and was very successful.
In the following decades things changed as Japanese tourists could now visit other countries easier. The prospect on spending their holidays on the black volcanic sands of Hachijo-jima wasn’t so appealing when instead they could visit Thailand, Guam or even Hawaii. The hotel changed names several times, with the last one being Hachijo Oriental Resort prior to its demise and eventual closure around 2006.
Since then, the tropical heat and saltwater has ensured a swift deterioration of the hotel, while thick vegetation has covered its exterior. Inside the hotel, everything appears to have been left behind, from furniture to computers and other equipment. However, it doesn’t look like it’s possible for it to open again anytime soon…