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Maya Hotel: The Most Famous Abandoned Hotel

Maya Hotel: The Most Famous Abandoned Hotel

Maya Hotel (Mayakan) is a celebrity of all Haikyo in Japan. So many people have been there, done all sorts things, took all sorts of photos you can imagine. So this time, besides boasting about our pictures, we will try to dig more into Maya Hotel’s history, and try to solve some of the mysteries we left from last time.

Mission 1: Find an alternative road!

Does that ever feel strange to you to think that the only way to the hotel is through the cable car? We’ve heard about a dangerous hiking path, but the cats from TotoroTime woke up too late for the hike, we decided to take the cable car as last time .

Trek to the Maya Hotel
Trek to the Maya Hotel

We then walked towards the entrance of Maya ropeway, only to find out that it is  under renovation at the moment. The only choice left now is the dangerous hiking path. After all,  we are not in Kobe all the time, and it is such a good weather today. It would be such a shame not to pay a visit to this symbol of Haikyo.

Maya Hotel from the Ropeway
Maya Hotel from the Ropeway

We soon started to look for a map of the mountain. Not very good at reading mountain maps, I lead both of us to the wrong way immediately, luckily a hiker was nice enough to point us the right way, where the familiar ‘do not enter’ sign stood.

Maya Hotel Side Entrance
Maya Hotel Side Entrance

With the confidence of heading towards the right direction, we climbed up very determinedly, although the path was extremely steep. As you can see from the first picture, some ropes were fastened solidly on trees and rocks, saving lives of us illegal yet inexperienced hikers.

Maya Hotel Entrance
Maya Hotel Entrance

Some background check of Maya Hotel has cleared my question at the beginning. The hotel indeed do not welcome any other ways of transportation. It was opened originally as social benefit for the ropeway company, 4 years after Maya Ropeway begun their business. There are buses and road leading to the top of Mt. Maya, but they all end at Hoshi Station, the last stop of the ropeway. Maya Hotel is actually in the middle of the ropeway, and no road besides the dangerous hiking path, is leading to its doorsteps.

Mayan Door
Mayan Door

Such a long time ago has the hotel been opened, it did not stay open for long at all. During its years standing it suffered great injuries from the air raid during World War II, the Great Hanshin Earthquake and various other disasters like typhoon. It was shut down, sold, rebuilt many times, never worked out so well. It was even a haikyo once before; got abandoned for 15 years after WWII.

Entrance Hall Maya
Entrance Hall Maya

Till this year Maya Hotel has been abandoned for 20 years or so, but this time it is not coming back to life for sure…

Dining Room Maya
Dining Room Maya

Mission 2: Solve the Mystery of B29 Tire.

We all know a tire from a heavy bomber somehow found its way on the balcony of Mayakan. If you check old photos taken in 2002, you will find this tire was once stuck on the rooftop. There are one belief assuming that the tire dropped here during the air raid in WWII. But to be honest, what are the odds of a wheel dropping from a military plane?

Abandoned Plane Wheel
Abandoned Plane Wheel

Plus, we all know that the Maya Hotel was used even after WWII, as a student center until the 90s. It is impossible that the tire was stuck on the roof all this time. But it is also hard to think of a legitimate reason for a bomber tire to be in a hotel. But of course, Japanese maniacs can solve any mystery, and so did they solve this one perfect. 😉

Maya Window
Maya Window

After reading quite a few Haikyo comrades’ posts, I understood that the tire was originally placed on the top of the building for some sort of decoration. This would explain a bit about why it was stuck in the roof later, but what kind of decoration can be done with a tire? I desperately needed to find some old photo showing this tire when it was still ‘in use’.

Maya Windows
Maya Windows

I almost lost hope when I stumbled upon this one particular post, that had iron proof of this theory and have images of the tire in use clearly showing.  And the way it was shown was genuine. So, are you ready? Turn on your speaker, play this loud!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzBypO5Cuq8

Onsen Stairs
Onsen Stairs

I actually quite liked the music inside the video, the feeling of 80s is everywhere. For those who loved this music as well as I do, the band is called ACTION and the song is named 「夢みる頃過ぎて」, ‘Passed the times when we dreamt’ if you translate it.

Maya Onsen
Maya Onsen

Sorry to have disappointed those who wished for a real bomber tire fallen off the sky, with a fantastic war story behind it. It is very clear that it was used as a decoration, and was properly placed on the roof from the start. Although, it looked rather fixed to the ground, suppose the typhoon and all the other nature disaster did the job to move it finally. Mission 2, let’s say, accomplished for now.

Kitchen of the Mayas
Kitchen of the Mayas

Mission 3: Find Out What Was The Green Room Like Before.

Here we are at the symbolic room of Maya Hotel, the green room. This is the destination for all photographers visiting Maya Hotel. And I am sure many people wonder what it was like originally, when it was till in use.

Entrance to the Special Room
Entrance to the Special Room

By saying Green room, we meant the room of the photo above, the one  with the round window and amazing lighting always. We can see that the floor is completely decayed, and seems to be sunken quite a lot. At that time we walked in quite bravely, thinking only about how to take a good picture. But after researching into what was underneath the floor, I would recommend everyone to be more careful then we were.

Reception Room Maya
Reception Room Maya

Apparently before the war, the Green Room was a bathroom with the old fashioned bath tub made out of tiles. It was then not in use anymore and the floor was laid on top of the bathtubs. And now looking at the status of the floor, there are big holes everywhere on the rotten wood. One can easily fall in the ‘trap’ and brake something (better not be your camera :P). So be careful my fellow explorers!

Maya Lights
Maya Lights

 

Reception Room Maya Hotel
Reception Room Maya Hotel

The reason why I was trying to clarify which Green Room we are talking about, is because there exists another one, this other one is also called Green Room or the ZigZag Room. It does not look so green in our picture because it was the wrong season. But it does get green when it gets warmer. 😉

Zig Zag Room
Zig Zag Room

The ZigZag Room has an interesting story as well. Thanks to a certain curious explorer, who actually consulted someone stayed in Maya Hotel before in the 70s. Apparently back then this room possessed a great ambiance, heavy wine coloured curtains were hanging by the window; if you drew the curtain, you will have a perfect view of Mount Rokkō.

Maya Bedroom
Maya Bedroom

So now, can you guess what the ZigZag Room was used for before? I know I did not give you enough clue…but I do not know enough details to help you more. So here is the answer, it was a little chapel and people used to have weddings here! How amazing!  I know Japanese have the ability of making a ‘fake’ wedding chapel almost everywhere, but still it is hard to imagine it happening in Maya Hotel! It would be great to see some old photos of it, do you have any to share? 😉

Maya Special Room
Maya Special Room

 

Maya Special Room with Phone
Maya Special Room with Phone

Although the story of ZigZag Room was very interesting. We still preferred the original green room. The lighting and the green is so perfect, that it keeps attracting explorers from all over the country. We hope to deliver you the ambiance of this place, this lonely, quiet, yet beautiful Maya Hotel, let us hope it stays this way for ever.

Written by Sei Mou. Photos by Jordy Meow.

  • Thank you so much for sharing and also telling us about the background story / history of this abandoned hotel!
    As this is not too far from where I live I might actually want to go and explore it in the future! 😀

    • Hey there Zoomingjapan, definitely go check it out when you have time. But promise to be careful, especially in the Green Room 😉

      • Would it be better not to go alone?

        • It is always better not to go to abandoned places alone… ^^!

          • Yes, what to do if something happens and nobody else is there, right? 🙂

          • Yup!…It can get creepy sometimes too 😛

        • Never go alone! And it is way more enjoyable with a good buddy 🙂

  • Old abandoned places like this have always been appealing to me. You wonder what it was like when in use, and why people left.

    • Yup, they always leave a bunch of wonders to us.

  • I like how you describe and analyze the details around this abandoned hotel 🙂 It’s really interesting! I was surprised, I kind of like the song too.

    • Thanks a lot Amy Fu! I was lucky to found all those interesting stories during my research :). Will keep trying to share more in the future.

  • Kiki

    The Green Room is really wonderful ! I approve Amy Fu’s post, i like your way to describe your adventures on Totoro Times, it’s interesting and funny 🙂

    • Kiki, was it Funny? Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  • urbexplayground

    Nice photos! I love the last one. Little glass of wine during your phone call!

    • Yup, that’s the spirit. Have a glass what ever you are doing. 😉

  • obanachan

    This is amazing stuff. I’m *from* Kobe and I never even knew about this hotel! I wonder if I know anyone with photos of the place in its heyday…

    • There are a few ones online but really not that many unfortunately. I am pretty sure some people have somewhere but they are probably sleeping in a drawer somewhere…

  • cgnmn

    I couldn’t get the embedded video to work above, but I think this might be an alternate:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmCzkaC2gDQ

  • Jack ShadowHunter

    the youtube link is not available

  • Great photos, this hotel looks amazing to explore! Loved to read it 😀

  • João Maurício Alexandre Da Sil

    LEft 4 dead 2 custom map Yama brought me here!

  • Candy K

    ive attempted to go there for the very first time the other day but the trail ive taken had led me to this part of the mountains where it seemed to be inhabited by two mountain men. i saw fire wood, pots and a small shelter. there is also a little swing made from a tree branch that might have been their creation. i believe the path to the hotel was just right next to their home! i heard their voices and i scurried off. the path seemed to be intentionally blocked off by a pile of branches. i was wondering if uve recently visited the hotel again and have encountered a similar scenario as mine. >.<

    • Really? That sounds odd. A shelter like what, wooden house? Tent? Are you sure you were on the right away?

      • Candy K

        it wasnt a wooden house – it was more like a shack built with blue plastic and metal sheets. there were chopped wood prepared and nicely layed out. i took some pictures of the place before i left in a hurry lol.. its two dams over and then there should be a path up the mountain right? i saw a path but it was covered with loose branches like someone was trying to cover it up. or i might be on the wrong path the whole time.. =.=

  • Wow, fabulous shots and a great writeup! Loving your Haikyo articles. When you explore old buildings like this, do you bother with a facemask or anything in case of asbestos being in the insulation and perhaps getting released as the structures fall apart? Always wondered about that.

    • Thank you 🙂 Sometimes I do wear a mask, generally against asbestos and dust, but to be honest when I see asbestos I try don’t to stay in the location too long (or actually I don’t stay at all). Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often, the best locations don’t have any of it, only boring (slightly more recent) locations have it (like hotels from the 70’s).

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Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.

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