The Kuroshio Lodge is one of the oldest and most famous abandoned places in Japan – even pioneer *haikyo* blogs who haven’t been updated in years feature this almost completely trashed hotel with the iconic bar; a beautiful photo opportunity thanks to its rusty stools and bright orange and yellow lamps. Nevertheless I struggled for about a year to find out where the Kuroshio Lodge was… and then another six months to find a ride as it is close to impossible to get to the place by public transportation – luckily it was *on the way to Shikoku* for Gianluigi and I, so we made a stop to stretch our legs and to take some photos.
Kuroshio means “black tide” and is also the name of a northeast-flowing ocean current stretching from Taiwan past Japan to the North Pacific Current – hence the nicknames Black Stream and Japanese Current, deriving from the deep blue of its waters and the country it flows by.
It’s pretty safe to say that the Kuroshio Lodge was named after the current – despite the fact that the Kuroshio (current) isn’t visible from where the lodge is located. The lodge on the other hand isn’t visible from the beautiful coastline of Awaji Island. You can get as close as 100 meters (beeline) on a busy street, look up a hill and see nothing but trees. At the same time you have a gorgeous view at the mountains of Awaji Island and the stunning Seto Inland Sea from the rooftop of the lodge… It’s all a matter of location!
At first and third sight the Kuroshio Lodge is a big disappointment. After huffing and puffing up a rather steep mountain road on foot, Gianluigi and I reached the back of the mid-size grey building. After years without maintenance the outside walls looked dirty, but that was nothing in comparison to what we saw when peeking through some open windows – the exposed rooms were filled with rotting vandalized futons and other interior. Not exactly a great start.
In close proximity of the abandoned hotel we found a couple of small houses at the slope; hut-sized, most likely the former living quarters of employees. We entered one of them, but the lighting in there was horrible and neither of us brought a tripod. There was not much to see anyway – I didn’t even bother to take a video.
Back up the slope we finally entered the Kuroshio Lodge – and were positively surprised by the lobby area with its famous turquoise chairs and the bar with its even more famous lamps and stools. You could take 100 interesting photos there and still won’t be bored!
Sadly disappointment stroke again right behind the counter. The kitchen next to the lobby / bar was completely vandalized and rotten, so we made our way up to 2F (first floor in Europe, second in Japan). No wonder that you barely ever see other rooms than the lobby when people post about the Kuroshio Lodge. The whole rest of the place was either vandalized and rotten or completely boring. I took a couple of snapshots here and there (like the lamp and the bath, although they were not really exciting subjects…) and then called it a day, taking the obligatory video on the way back to the lobby.
Since I visited the Kuroshio Lodge almost two years ago I found several Japanese articles about the hotel claiming that the area is overrun by wild dogs from a former dog breeder close to the hotel. They also claim that those dogs were involved in some rituals… whatever that means. Luckily I didn’t run into any mad dogs, crazy cultists or bloodthirsty sadists – although I remember seeing some kind of triangular sign on a metal plate in the boiler room (the one at the beginning of the video below, I just missed to catch the symbol on film… sorry for that, I didn’t think it was on any significance). The whole thing sounds a little bit like an exaggerated version of the usual ghost story surrounding basically every abandoned hotel in Japan. A lot of Japanese people are surprisingly superstitious, so whenever a place is abandoned you get some variation of the “owner committed suicide” story. Stories that are virtually impossible to verify. Nevertheless I thought I better mention the wild dogs. You know, just in case you walk up to the Kuroshio Lodge one day, get surrounded by them and think “Florian never mentioned those damn dogs!”…
To me the Kuroshio Lodge was a rather disappointing location. I loved the entrance area, but the rest of the building gave me a “been there, done that” kind of vibe – which is not what I was hoping for after putting so much time and effort into finding the place. But hey, what can you do? At least the bar and the lobby didn’t fail to deliver. And sometimes one room is all you need to make a visit worthwhile…