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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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?
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. 😉
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’.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. 😉
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.
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? 😉
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.