The shouts of passion have died down, but there’s still time for screams of terror.

The Japanese word haikyo directly translates as “ruins,” but the image it conjures isn’t one of ancient civilizations lost to the sands of time. Haikyo is used to describe more recent structures, such as abandoned hotels, amusement parks, or shopping malls.

A lot of haikyo are failed entertainment or leisure facilities that went belly-up so thoroughly that the owners can’t or don’t want to go to the expense of tearing the building down and clearing the wreckage away, so they’re just left empty. But there’s a surreal allure to the eerie stillness of a place where the human factor suddenly disappeared, and those with a taste to experience can now take part in an extremely creepy-looking escape/exploration game being held at a haikyo hotel.

The idea comes from Osaka-based hotel consulting group GG Pro, and is called Q Search. Groups of up to eight players enter an abandoned hotel in the mountainous outskirts of Kobe, which, according to Q Search’s backstory, is connected to a bizarre murder.

▼ The preview video for Q Search implies that there’s something especially unnatural about the killing.

Once inside, it’s up to you and your team to scour the abandoned facility and search for some 100 QR codes, which unlock hints and story details that propel you towards your goal of surviving and escaping the hotel.

Naturally, the game can only be played at night, with 40-minute sessions offered between 6 and 11 p.m., and some sections of the hotel interior are so dark that the organizers say brining your phone is a must not only in order to scan the QR codes, but also to light your way.

▼ So make sure to chare up that battery before you go in.

Adding another unsettling layer is the fact that Q Search is an unmanned event, with GG Pro administering the game via security cameras and smart locks. In other words, it’s just you, your fellow players, and perhaps a ghost or monster roaming about the hotel after sundown.

Again, while the supernatural elements are (hopefully) something GG Pro made up, the building itself used to be an actual hotel called Hotel Aikamu. Specifically, it was a love hotel, where amorous couples could rent rooms by the hour, but apparently carnal desire didn’t translate into enough demand for rooms for the hotel to stay in business.

▼ Hotel Aikamu (even though it’s pronounced the same as “I come,” it’s written with the kanji characters for “love,” “flowers,” and “dreams,” 愛花夢)

Q Search will be running nightly between now and June 30, with reservations available here at a rate of 1,650 yen (US$14.35) per player/victim.

Source: Q Search official website, @Press via IT Media
Images: @Press
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