CONTRIBUTED BY STACI HAWLEY

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The deserted hotel. It’s haunted. It’s ominous. And I’ve been hearing about it since I moved here. But then again, I was wondering if it’s like those popular urban legends that you hear about in any community back home. You’ve heard em…The McDonald’s ball pits (filled with hypodermic needles), people getting their kidneys “stolen” in Vegas…You know the ones…but I knew their must be an interesting history of this cryptic concrete jungle. So I asked. And a lovely fellow reader and talented photographer, Pamela Oliveras shared her amazing photos and insight into this shallow skeleton of a hotel. So view the pictures, and you decide. Maybe check it out this Halloween. Thanks Pamela.

What is the story of that place? Do you know?

The story is that in the 70’s a rich business man started building this theme hotel (with no blueprints). However, he was warned by locals that it was too close to sacred sites. He never listened and as workers started having fatal accidents, they jumped ship, so to speak. The site was abandoned. The businessman went bankrupt, went insane (and apparently still is in a mental institution on Island).
It is featured in the Ghosts of Okinawa book. That’s where I first read about it. Then a few photographers went up there with Suwanee and some models. We were there for about 3 hrs. Since then, it has had a pull for me, I am partial to abandoned building and graffiti. I have been up there about 5 times now. Some on photo shoots of my own and others with other photographers and the PhotoOkinawa group on Ning.

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When was it deserted?
In the 70’s but apparently a monk lives there, has built an alter, helping spirits stay calm. However, I’ve never seen a monk, nor an alter, not to say it’s not there! 

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What is the weirdest thing you saw there?
The weirdest thing is the stairs leading to nowhere, but nothing weird, like, ghostly weird, YET!

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Does it have an ominous feeling?
Oh yeah, it has a very eerie feeling, from the huge banana spiders, to the dark hallways that lead to derelict bathrooms…it just feels ‘dangerous’. It is so silent up there. The way the building lurks on the top of the hill is very ominous indeed!

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Would you go at night? Alone?
NO WAY, you couldn’t pay me, I have way too much of an active imagination for that!

Do local Okinawans check it out? Or mostly Americans?
People say that locals won’t go there, but I have seen a couple of young locals checking it out and one of the workers in Kitamura has a photo book of the place. Once, there were a bunch of young military guys, I think they were trying to scare us, but we made them come out and model for some photos LOL. I think a lot of people go (or used to go) and paintball/bb gun up there. MCCS Okinawa is having a haunted tour and I think they go there. I am going on the 25th with my 8 year old, she loves that place too! My son will stay with Daddy, I couldn’t get him on the tour. People would be running from his screams!

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Do you think its like an “urban myth” or was it really haunted?
Well…it definitely has urban myth written all over it. BUT, I believe in spirits and such, and as I wouldn’t go up there at night (even with others, I don’t think) I will have to say it is haunted! If that makes any sense! There have been reports of orbs in photos and stuff but who knows?

Other stuff…you can see where there was a water theme park built with water slides going into it. The whole place was built to look like a small town, with walkways and building on either side. There is a ton of great graffiti. Great for photography and crazy light pockets and walls. The top has some great views, the best in Oki according to Daniela!

Thanks again to Pamela for sharing her gorgeous photos as well as an interesting narration of the place. Once I’m done with my wobbly 7 month pregnant body, I’m surely going to head to the hills and check it out myself.

Readers, have you been out there too?

What did you think?

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Haunted Hotel is now deemed “Off-Limits” for SOFA-status Americans.  Please keep this in mind before making a trip to this location.

29 COMMENTS

    • Yes it is. The Wing Commander released an updated off limits sheet, this month.

      As for the place being haunted. It’s about as haunted as anywhere else in this world; ie NOT. Yes it’s creepy. Yes people with overactive imaginations will scare themselves.

      Back in 99 and 00 I used to take boot Marines there to scare the hell out of them, when they first got to island. I’ve been there probably around 50 times, over my 15 years, on island. Unexplained experiences are 0. The scariest thing I ever saw there was the “monk” walking toward us with a sickle. By the way he is not a monk. After I became fluent in Japanese I talked to him. He is just a homeless man.

      The story she said is what I have heard from many sources. All of the stories I have heard, when you strip away the supernatural bs have a common core. He was a business man, he started building the place, accidents happened, investors pulled out, he went insane. The man supposedly is in the Kin Mental Hospital.

    • I was an extra in a Japanese movie filmed in the hotel back in “97. Nothing of note occured during filming. However, a couple of years later the guy who got me the role in the movie, one of my bros from the Corps, tragically took his own life. RIP Scott…

  1. I was there in 1999 and explored the hotel three times at night. In the southern half of the hotel my friends and I came across a brand new fire extinguisher in an area that looked like it had been torched (we tested it and it was still full). We also found an area that was clearly inhabited as there were clothes hanging in a hallway. Just curious to see if anyone has had a similar experience.

  2. This hotel is officially off-limits for anyone assigned to Kadena and their dependents. I’m not sure this order affects servicemembers from other branches or not.

  3. I spent most of my year in Okinawa (1996) in this hotel. I had heard about the ghost stories but I was simply amazed at this place in the jungle. I spent almost every weekend sleeping in the main dining hall where most of the graffiti was. We would have big bon fires in that hall and would all camp out there. We explored every inch of the hotel, the temple, and the caves. It was all amazing. Some people mentioned experiencing strange occurring events but for the most part it was always quiet. We’d always be there throughout the night chasing each other and running throughout the hotel at night. The Japanese Police would never come up to investigate. I have a number of fond memories from this place and I’ll have to dig up all my photos sometime and share them with others.
    I had originally heard that the hotel burnt down back in the mid 1970s. Just before I got to the island there was a crazy person that lived in the temple structure of the hotel. Friend’s told me the JP finally took him away since he would throw rocks and other debris at people that walked up the little road between the hotel and the temple. There was another person that actually lived at the hotel the entire time we were there. There was an extremely old man (guessing 70-80) that lived in one of the hotel rooms. When you walk down the main hall towards the main room at the end of the hotel (Castle side) the hall comes to a cross shape. If you look down the right wing the first door on the right was the old man’s room. It was the only room with an intact door and windows on the outside of it. He was a caretaker for the castle. His family was from one of the close islands so he would live at the hotel, work at the castle, and send money home to his family. Very nice old man. He would join us often in the dining hall when we were there. We’d bring him coffee and batteries since he had no electricity in the building. To get to the hotel we’d park at a little farm bar that is NW of the temple section of the hotel. There is a small path off the main road that heads up into the jungle that weaves between family tombs. The path branches at one point. Left to the hotel, right to the hill of tombs. If you’ve spent enough time around there you’ll note the castle is on one mountain and the other hill is all tombs. The hotel sits right in the middle of the saddle between the two mountains. It is a beautiful view from the top of the temple.
    One additional note. If you go out at night do not be frightened by the massive fruit bats. They are harmless but amazing to watch. They are huge. Many of the caves around the hotel and the castle have many tiny bats. We’d set people up on occasion by sending them in first and have the flood of bats come out.

  4. Around 1976, Mark Payne (owner of Sams by the Sea and other great restaurants) sponsored a concert featuring the popular rock band Murasaki. Even though it was in the middle of typhoon season and this weekend a typhoon was predicted to hit Okinawa, the show still went on. The stage was set right in front of the second wall inside of Nakagusuku castle. (As you may know, this hotel is right next to the Nakagusuku grounds). Just as the band hit the stage, before one note was played, a huge wind storm started and with it lots of rain. The timing was off. Everyone scrambled for shelter. Most who attended the concert (including the band and Mark) ran down the adjacent road that led to the hotel. Because of the situation and it being too dangerous, the hotel had to provide rooms for everyone for free!
    We had such a great time staying up all night and telling ghost stories. We raided the liquor bar.
    I will never forget that weekend. It’s sad to see the ruins and the state the hotel is in today. I hope the area stays preserved.
    At one time this area was a fun place to visit. I believe it was the first water park with slides on Okinawa. Most weekends there were rock concerts at the water park. You could see bands like Condition Green and Murasaki play live.
    The hotel also had this really weird stuffed animal zoo with stuffed lions and monkeys…very strange. never saw any ghost though.

  5. Our family went there last November! Of course we didn’t find out it was haunted until my husband mentioned our trip to a coworker. Oops! Even so, we had a lot of fun exploring and walking around (during the day thank goodness!). I made a short blog entry about it filled with pictures we took. Feel free to check it out by clicking on my name below! 🙂

  6. In the early 70’s I must have spent a hundred evenings at the old castle. My friend and I both saw a large “glow” hovering in front of the archway leading to the queens well. I later learned of the local lore about the queens ghost We never ever felt threatened, though. Maybe ’cause we were clueless teenagers.

  7. Just an FYI for those who haven’t heard yet: This hotel is off-limits to military personel and their dependents as of this past fall.

  8. I have also gone to this haunted hotel.Twice. i believe that it is haunted. You are not supposed to go up there and there is a sign- in english- that says “no tresspassing”. I have gone there at night, both times, and i have got to say that is is a very creepy place. I always here noises that i can never explain. the first time we were there, me and my buddy were being followed by something that sounded like if you were to drop a ball bearing on a concrete floor and it bounced. the second time… me and another friend were being followed by another noise. we even heard it crashing though the trees. this one had me in a much bigger state of concern. I have never heard this noise…EVER! The only way i could describe it would be the noise of a cat being strangled..as morbid as that is….being followed by that scared the hell out of me. If anyone that has been to the hotel has heard these noises knows what makes them, it would be very appreciated if you told me what they are by email… [email protected]. I have also ran into the rumored shrine…there are monks there…there has to be if i ran into the shrine that they maintain. it consists of many steps that have two letter markings on them. and there are numerous markings everywhere. on every rock that these steps consist of. at the very top of these steps is a cave with a door way. all the door consists of is a piece of plywood. i didn’t see much of the inside of the cave because i have to much respect for the dead to **** around in there…and i don’t want one of them to follow me back home and torment me…
    for anyone that does stay the night and decides to leave in the middle of the night…watch out for the front gate..there are motion sensors there..i know..for i tripped them one time. don’t go towards the gate is all i’m saying. the police respond really quickly and luckily for me they didn’t see me.

  9. ive been there a few times and seen some stuff that stait up sent chills down my spine, ex. we were walking and on the top floor od the look out we saw a girl on the ledge, after a few seconds of yelling to see if she were a real persone she jumped, we never saw a body afterword and its close to 100 ft, so she couldn’t have survived, and in another case a stair rail fell right before we got to the stairs, for no reason, and we werent drunk at all

  10. I just went there today. Very easy to get to through the castle ruins. Just keep going back until you see the hotel, you really can’t miss it.

    Definitely a little spooky, especi”ally going alone. However, I didn’t see any No Trespassing” signs (at least not in English). I saw some locals walk up to the front of the hotel, but I was the only one who walked in.

    There are lots of neat photo opportunities. I highly recommend the trip.

  11. I can’t wait to go explore this place. I’ve been wanting to go for 2 years now but never had directions. I was hoping is was one of the stops on the spooky sites tour but it wasn’t (through Foster at least) 🙁
    Thanks for the info!!

  12. I’m almost sad that our secret adventure place has been outed here…but it is a neat place to explore. My 5 year old (who was 3 then) loved to explore the hotel and surrounding area when we lived on okinawa! The swimming pool ruins are the coolest! Also, if you continue up towards the top you will see a shrine and spring of water full of really large newts! Pretty neat. We never had any real ghostly encounters…except for one time Ella was running down some stairs, when she stopped all of the sudden and said she didn’t want to go down there and then there was a cool breeze that blew her hair off her shoulders…….

  13. Thank you Rachael. That’s my daughter! These photos are unedited straight outta camera but I think they give an overall good feel for the hotel! And that’s Daniela’s hubby on the top of the hotel!
    Staci – I believe it is ‘sort of’ off limits. I know Suwanee had to leave once. I have never had a problem there. Laurie – you can get in through the ruins, during opening hours. You just pay 300 yen to get into the ruins and head straight up the right path and you’re there. There’s no gate to climb or others’ property to walk through. We were there today and a bunch of Okinawan vehicles passed us and nothing was said. But there is another way in too from google earth, Like Laurie said!

  14. you cannot go through the castle site to get there. It is not authorized to do that. If you really want to get there go to http://www.geocaching.com and there it has the coordinates to get there. It is labelled as the huanted hotel. They tell you exactly how to get there. Again do not go through the castle site as it is off limits through there. The other way will take you through a field area and open up into a tomb spot. The last person I knew who went through the castle site was arrested because you have to go onto someones property and go over a fence. There is also another haunted location out there which is out near onna off of 58 which is a haunted restraunt. If you would like to get there it is also on the geocaching website labeled as Lost. You just have to be really careful around both locations due to the deteriating structures.

  15. Those pictures are nice. My question is how do you get to the very top? My kids and I go all the time but, are uncertain if we are allowed in (we go anyway) due to that big sign in front . I don’t feel that place as haunted,my daughter who is very sensitive , says she just feels worriness and sadness . She likes those adventures though. I have taken a few photos (ok alot LOL) there and only 2 sections of that hotel have came up with orbs. The thing about orbs …..it is just lingering energy. So all those crazy kids pulling pranks on one another ,the fear and excitement, that energy is what we photograph.
    Pamela great story . Oh and the picture of the little girl in the window looks really cool .

  16. We brought our three kids there. We really liked it but my daughter (she is three) was freakin the entire time. When we got back in the car we asked her what her problem was? She told us that the walls were mad.

    That really freaked us… not enough though for us to not go back.

    There is the also a haunted resturant… there is a secotion that I won’t even touch… Looks like somthing would grab you for sure.

  17. the first time i went up there was in 99 at night…drunk, ofcourse with some other friends and we ABSOLUTELY experienced some scary stuff. first, my buddy kicks a closed door. he doesn’t kick it open because you had to turn the handle to open it and it was a heavy door but a few second later the FUCKING DOOR HANDLE MOVES AND THE DOOR STARTS OPENING! ofcourse, this changed the mood of everybody in a split second. it went from happy-go-lucky to completely serious and terrified. between about 10 of us we only had one small mag light and as we ran we were all falling over shit and tripping up and down stairs.

    i have more stories about that place-including hearing distinct footsteps very near us and seeing rooms dimly light up, die out and then dimly light up in the next room (very near the area we heard the footsteps). i have never had any “ghostly” experiences anywhere else…this is the only place that i’ve seen or heard anything of the sort.

    there are many old tombs around the area, throughout the jungle-i’m talking hundreds of years old…crumbling and overgrown…forgotten. there is also a sacred cave at the top of the moutain near the high tower of the hotel. i did not know of this until about 5 years after my initial experience there. i ventured into the cave and there are many shrines in the cave.

    also, the hotel is only about 50 yards from the nakagusuku castle ruins. there are plenty of reasons for this hotel to be haunted. however, the real reason the construction of this hotel was abandoned was due to the castle ruins and surrounding area becoming a world heritage site. i did a lot of research on the area to find the truth and though most of what i’ve found is consistent with the story above, i dug up that true info on a japanese site i had to convert to english.

    regardless, the place is very strange. there seems to be no method to the madness…also, i don’t think it was suppose to be a hotel. there simply aren’t a lot of bedrooms. there are, however, a lot of twists and turns, and an area that was supposedly intended to be a zoo (there are fences and nature themes drawn on the backwalls)-it is a most bizzare place, indeed.

    definetly worth the visit. if you go during the day, all you have to do is pay the admission for the castle and walk on up. if you go at night, you either have to jump the gate at the castle (which has an alarm so go to the left of the maingate and crawl through the barb wire) or do the really adventures and scary thing and proceed down the mountain on the east side of the island and when you see the big buddhist temple on the mountain, turn into there, park and start climbing through the jungle behind the temple (be very quiet, as there are monks who live and sleep there). you will eventually run into a trail. follow the trail. on the way you will run into many old tombs and eventually you will arrive to the hotel. very scary indeed. have fun.

  18. Thanks for the article and pics! I live on the other side of the hill and have wondered about this place since I arrived last year.

  19. If you go out of Camp Foster’s Legion gate (or whatever it is called…the one with Taco Bell) and stay straight through the stop light. Then follow the signs for the castle that starts with a N and has a very hard name to pronounce. The hotel is right there at the castle ruins. I am not sure if you can get to the hotel without paying admission to the ruins, but it is super cheap. It is up the hill from the ruins. Hopefully someone will chime in with the full name of the ruins.

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