Why are abandoned structures so fascinating? Maybe it is because we, as humans, are fascinated with death and decay but rarely give ourselves permission to explore it. Or, perhaps it is because the deteriorating walls of abandoned places are littered with stories. Whatever the case, there is no denying the enjoyment of peering at photos of Japan’s largest abandoned hotel.

In 1963, the lavish Hachijo Royal Hotel, modeled on French Baroque architecture, was constructed on the subtropical volcanic island of Hachijo-jima. It is still located 287 kilometers (178 miles) south of Tokyo. Because overseas travel was the exception and not the norm in the 60’s, it became a popular tourist destination. In fact, the Japanese government promoted the island as the “Hawaii of Japan.”

When the establishment opened, it was one of the largest hotels in Japan. It featured plaster renditions of Greek statues and ornate water fountains. As Ridgeline Images reports, the high-class amenities and decorations attracted clients from the ever-expanding middle class. But, in 2006, the hotel was closed for good. Despite undergoing several name changes and being reinvented, it struggled to outpace its competition. 

It has been over one decade since the hotel closed down. And, as can be seen from the photographs below, nature wasted no time reclaiming her own. The striking images that follow were captured by Polish photographer Natalia Sobańska, who shared the compilation of photos with Bored Panda.

“It was the largest hotel in Japan. It is located on a remote volcanic island, almost 300 km from Tokyo. There are no beaches, only divers will find something to do,” Sobańska wrote. “Unfortunately, it was not sustainable for such a large hotel to remain open. Despite several attempts to bring it back to life, the hotel closed its doors for the final time in 2006. It’s amazing that some of the rooms have developed their own ecosystems, while others are untouched by time, other than a bit of dust.

Following are 25+ photos of Japan’s biggest abandoned hotel:

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

Credit: Natalia Sobańska

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