Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Royal Hotel

Hachijo Royal Hotel: The Largest Abandoned Resort in Japan

It’s 300 kilometres from Tokyo, but that’s where I meet up with my pal Martin for new adventures … on a deserted island, in a forgotten hotel …

Yeah, okay, a tad overhyped! Yet here we are on an island sadly famous for the abandoned Hachijo Royal Hotel. Officially sad, but off the record … exciting! Just look at it – makes you want to explore, doesn’t it?

The timing’s good, the weather’s fine, all’s well and this haikyo is rather welcoming. We walk around, past the grubby swimming pool, the rusty car, until we’re confronted with a little metal door, broken but ajar! It modestly beckons us into the largest abandoned hotel in Japan.

No surprise that a hotel of this size and with such limited accessibility is now deserted. But in the early 1960s Japanese passports were scarce and foreign travel unusual. Okinawa, which today is a leader in tropical tourism, was still under American occupation. The government has implemented strategies to promote Hachijojima as the Hawaii of Japan (likewise the Izu Peninsula).

Thanks to easy access (short ferry journey and airport built by the Imperial Japanese Navy), and real-estate investment, the island has grown rapidly to accommodate vast numbers of tourists. In this flourishing context the hotel was built in 1963 (or 1968 … depending on source!). Now what’s that noise above? Doors slamming, footsteps … weird. That’s all.

Inspired by French Baroque architecture, this luxury hotel opened as one of the country’s largest palaces. It proudly displays plaster representations of Greek statues and ornate fountains. It’s so beautiful (you do believe me?). In any case, the hotel is a reflection of the economic boom that Japan was experiencing at the time. And today … of its decline?

Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Royal Hotel

Thirty years later, Hachijo Royal Hotel (since renamed Hachijo Oriental Resort) has lost its former charm. With the democratization of foreign travel, tourists prefer the beaches of Hawaii or Thailand to those of Hachijojima, whose popularity is gradually waning. As you may know, hotel prices in Japan are relatively high, so better to take it easy abroad!!

But that’s how it is, ha. The building, abandoned since the hotel closed its doors in 2006, is now overgrown. And, yes, there really is something near us! Hope it’s not an animal …

Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Royal Hotel

The building, abandoned for several years, is now overgrown.

Oh, but here’s a human down the hallway! Like us, he seems to be exploring all the rooms. Hey guys! He’s cool; Australian. He came to the island for the sole purpose of exploring this hotel and intends to spend the night there! According to him, the sheets are clean enough (in some rooms) to lie on. I’m tempted by the adventure, but still not particularly reassured by the bird droppings, asbestos, and all the rest of it. So we just wish him well and truly goodnight!

Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Royal Hotel

Most of the hotel’s facilities have been severely degraded by the tropical climate, but there’s still a few perfectly preserved rooms. Just before it closed, it featured in Trick: The Movie 2 (2006) as headquarters of the enemy organization. The set would’ve been kept – wonder if I just mightn’t have found it?

Hachijo Royal Hotel
Hachijo Royal Hotel

I swear that for me it was a very pleasant visit! Although a long way from the thrilling explorations I’ve done in the past, such as the impressive Negishi, the Fuchu miltary base or of course the island of Gunkanjima! So feel free to check out my articles if you want to relive those gripping moments.

Yes, Martin was very quiet this time! I taped his mouth to keep him calm, but you can find him on our exploration of The Abandoned Wakagawa Power Plant if you want to hear more. There’s four other abandoned hotels on the island, so see you soon – we’ve work to do! 😎