Forgotten Vows: The Abandoned Heian Wedding Hall

What can you discover in an abandoned place? Stories of the past? Echoes of loved ones walking, laughing, eating around decorative tables, and decadent meals? That is exactly what travel blogs such as Mike Grist’s website and Abandoned Kansai document to be the case of the Heian Wedding Hall. The latter includes several photos with Japanese writing on the outside of what looks like a shack, though it was undoubtedly once a much more extravagant venue.

Japanese Wedding Traditions

Put in a search for “abandoned buildings in Japan,” and you will be directed to plenty of interesting, if sometimes haunting, places to visit on a trip abroad. Whether it’s ghosts you’re after or abandoned workplaces, empty rooms and graffiti-coated walls will keep you busy for the day at this stroll down memory lane.

Weddings in Japan differ significantly from the average westerner’s concept of a wedding. But the differences across demographics are broad even when compared within the same culture.

Although Christianity is not even close to the dominant religion in Japan, the traditional Christian ceremony featuring the bride’s white dress is still popular in Asia. According to The Knot, many young Japanese couples these days have largely abandoned more traditional marriage ceremonies. Tradition might not be the only thing they’ve abandoned.

Ill-fated Fires

If you find yourself in Japan, you may be within walking distance of the Heian Wedding Hall in the Ibaraki District. According to the Tokyo Times, this hall was once able to host four weddings at one time. The same article also mentions that this venue may have suffered fire damage prior to becoming a wedding hall.

The hall became abandoned after a fire destroyed the main chamber and was never restored. It’s thought that the building’s past was an omen for lovers’ futures. Many images depict the location as if guests left mid-dinner, and you’d expect them to return at any moment to watch the cake cutting.

The charred remains of the Heian Wedding Hall reveal grime-covered bathrooms, peeling paint, and exposed drywall. The red carpet remains intact like the luxurious carpet rolled out for famed film stars. Sadly, wedding décor litters the floors. A stained glass window above the main entrance reflects a colorful pool of colors. Ironically, the stained glass depicts two cherubims. Perhaps even cupid. The pictures of the wedding hall show phantom stories of a past once lived.

Man Versus Nature

Photos online provide a glimpse of the abandoned building and the memories created inside. You can walk around inside if you’re brave enough to risk visiting any spirits. Structurally, the building appears stable, though nature rules these days. A tree grows in the center of the Heian Wedding Hall as if love lives on and life cannot be forgotten.

The Heian Wedding Hall may be forgotten, but it still stands. And it serves as a reminder of the lives brought together and the love shared from one life to the next.

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