Closed and off-limits to the public for the past 23 years, the overgrown and abandoned Maya Kanko Hotel overlooking Kobe City may soon be accessible on guided tours. Local groups have obtained permission from the property owner and are in the process of preparing hiking trips.
The art deco hotel was built atop Mt. Maya in 1929 by the Maya Cablecar Company. It was originally called Maya Club and was developed in conjunction with the company’s cable car line. The four-storey hotel offered sweeping views over the city and bay below.
The cable car line was suspended during World War II and the hotel closed operations in 1945. The building suffered some damage during WWII air raids, which delayed its re-opening. It was finally re-opened in 1961 after a large remodelling, which included adding a fifth floor to the building as well as adding interior fittings from the S.S.Ile de France ship that were salvaged when the liner was scrapped in nearby Osaka in 1959.
The hotel closed again in 1967 after sustaining damage from a typhoon. In the mid-1970s it was converted into a student seminar centre and lodgings, but closed in 1993. Miraculously the building did not collapse in the devastating 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake. However, it was damaged and had to be closed off to the public. The nearby mountain trail alongside the hotel also had to be closed for safety reasons.
The building fell further and further into ruin, and is overgrown with trees and weeds. It has become a popular spot for urban exploration as well as a filming location for movies.
The building and land is currently owned by Osaka-based real estate company Nihon Service. The company was approached by several local preservation groups seeking permission to open up the grounds to the public. Proposed plans are for weekend hiking events led by guides.
According to a recent building inspection there were no serious issues with the structure, but in the meantime the interiors will remain off-limits.
Source: The Kobe Shimbun, August 25, 2016.