Touring Japan 2010: Day 7 – Haikyo Hiking

By Michael Gakuran | | Adventure | 18 Comments |

Ahh, yappari. Manga cafes are too distracting. With all the free films, drinks, manga and ‘special’ photo books one can’t help but do everything other than sleep. So today, with a mere three hours under my belt I set out to meet fellow haikyoist Florian at 5.30am.

Rokko Station near Kobe. That was the starting point. The destination: the famous Maya Hotel – an old haikyo halfway up a mountain consumed by swarms of nasty insects, green vegetation and moisture. The whole place screamed of the power of nature.

To get there Florian and I had to hike up the old route, now blocked off to prevent people accidentally reaching the dangerous hotel. It was a hard 45 minute slog and even in the mist and relative of coolness of the early morning we were sweating buckets and breathing heavily. We finally reached the place without too much trouble though and peeked inside.

At first we were puzzled. I could hear the distinct sound of footsteps inside, tap-tapping around and the buzz of angry bees grew louder around us as the insects moved in for a closer look. It was decision time – face the intruder or the bees. Yeah, screw the bees. We dashed for the cover of the cool interior…

Empty. But still the sounds of footsteps. Or… wait? Not footsteps, no. Water! Water dripping all over the place, on mouldy carpets and floorboards, echoing all around the first floor of the hotel. Ahh, what relief! I could have sworn somebody else was inside…

With there being a cable lift right next to the old hotel, we needed to move quickly. The plan was to move down from the roof and shoot the interior a little later. That way we would minimise the risk of being seen from the cable lift. So up we went, right to the roof.

I’ll finish this haikyo story in a later post as I can’t edit the pictures for good effect on this simple net cafe computer. So keep and eye out for a proper Maya haikyo post at a later date!

For our second destination of the day, Florian took me to Takada Ranch. He has a good posting of it on his own site from when he visited in Winter, which I recommend you check out – Abandoned Kansai. Today though, what a terrible place! Summer had brought to life every horrible creepy crawlie imaginable and the place was swarming with mosquitoes. I stood still for less than 10 seconds and I already had dozens of them attacking me!

Naturally we didn’t stay long and I didn’t grab many good photos. An old can of boss coffee with some ‘blood’ stained handprints on the wall of this old house. And a rather spectacular bamboo forest hidden at the back.

Otherwise the bugs just drove us out. Utterly nasty, but a fulfilling day. Florian was great conversation and a fun guy to do haikyo with. I look forward to more at a later date!

18 comments on “Touring Japan 2010: Day 7 – Haikyo Hiking
  1. Flo says:

    Hello !! Im french and I live in Osaka . I like to do Haikyo in my own country but since I dont have “haikyo partner” in Japan, Im a lil bit scared to do it alone hahaha. Anyway, I just wanted to say = GREAT post and truly awesome pictures ! Thank you ! I particulary like the photo with the red sofa . I don’t know many places to do Haikyo in Kansai but I will try this Hotel next week I think ! ( sry for my bad english )

    Florian.

  2. Yeah, those two photos struck me too. Plus the rusty staircase on the rooftop. The toilet shot is scary. Excellent work!

  3. Gakuranman says:

    Ahh, righty. I read about the Japanese style wing of the hotel when I was researching the proper post on the Maya Hotel (http://gakuran.com/the-ethereal-void-of-the-maya-hotel/). Seems to have been in a bad state even in old pictures, so I daren’t think how bad it must have been now. Maybe I’ll check it out in the future.

    Didn’t see any obvious spots for self portraits, although it was obvious where some scenes had been set up for beautiful pictures. Who am I to argue? :p

    That secret concrete wall sounds spooky though! Would love to have discovered that leading round the back!

  4. Sanvé says:

    Well, not so much a separate hotel, but an entire wing of traditional ryokan-style accomodation concealed UNDER the hotel. Its an absolute mess down there compared to the haikyo-community maintained upper floors (did you notice people set up rudimentary bricked camera spots in the more famous rooms for solo adventurers to take self-portraits XD).

    Basically, at the bottom of the stairs theres an unusual concrete wall. A quick pop out the window and down around the side and you’ll realise: the passage connecting the lower portion of the hotel was sealed off. Extremely rickety floorboards, dark boarded up, and dusty as heck.

    I kinda figured if you hiked up from below (didn’t realise there was a direct path, the cable car tracks make it tough to explore around too far) you may have encountered this portion first.

    Spa World – Osaka’s indoor spa and waterslide themepark (http://www.spaworld.co.jp/). The price is “highish” but for more than half the year they run a 1000 yen campaign special for a day pass (plus a 1000 further surcharge for staying past midnight). You’ll know if the campaign is in effect because the banner they put up is absolutely massive – you can see it from the JR line as it passes Shin-Imamiya. The place has a relaxation room with sleeper recliners in house so you pay your entry, take a bath, change into the shitty cotton robes then pass out. Smoke-free so it makes for a surprisingly comfy night. Just have to get used to using an armful of towels as blankets because there are a couple of old dudes who seem to always be there making forts and futons out of the establishment’s entire blanket stock.

  5. Callisto says:

    The photos of the sofa and the bamboo forest were particularly striking. It rather blows my mind that places exist that really do look like that.

  6. Florian says:

    You don't want to see those monsters! The bees had the size of table tennis balls, at least that's how I remember them…

  7. Gakuranman says:

    The bees and mosquitoes chased us off! No time to photograph the little buggers ;p

  8. great post, again awesome pictures. I was sad that there wasn't any pictures of the insects though.

    good to see you've had a great trip

    steve

  9. Gakuranman says:

    I read! Hopefully you'll have your explore up soon so I can read all about it :)

  10. Gakuranman says:

    Secret ryokan near the haikyo hotel? I haven't heard of that one, no..? Also, what's this spaland -any links?

  11. MJG says:

    I was gonna go here last weekend! Ended up I went to buy my night bus tickets too late, so I went to Jungle Park in Izu instead. I`ll head on over some time in the next month instead- Maya hotel looks great.

  12. Sanvé says:

    Surprised you stayed at a manga kissa. Cheapest option in Kansai until September is the 2000 yen special down at Spa World. I'm very curious about the hiking trail in because I never found that. My entry was a heck of a lot more convoluted (getting out was easy though).

    Did you find the “secret” ryokan?

  13. Gakuranman says:

    Tell me about it! Those things at the ranch were vicious!!

  14. Florian says:

    That was a fun day! You are a great companion for bold and respectful explorations and I'm looking forward to more, too – hopefully without the mosquitos, thanks to about 60 bites my legs are still itching after more than 2 days…

  15. Sabrina says:

    I really enjoy watching your photos. Thank you.

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