The Abandoned Western Village
The Western Village (ウエスタン村) is a relatively quite famous abandoned theme park in Japan. I had the chance to visit it many times, but I would like to share with you the photos taken during my very last visit.
My friend Satomi has three daughters: Kaoru, Marin and Naomi. They were very keen to cosplay in a haikyo so I took them there, and indeed, we had lot of fun. Here are the result in photos, you can make up your own story. Meanwhile, I will tell you a bit more about the Western Village.
Once known as the Kinugawa Ranch, this village was built around 1973.
At the time it was a very simple place where visitors could enjoy cowboy-style activities.
The owner, a local man called Ominami-san, said that the purpose in life is not to earn money but to make dreams come true and that is basically what he did.
The ranch became a proper theme park in 1975 and was renamed Western Village.
This haikyo, near Nikko in Tochigi prefecture, is easily accessible on a one-day trip from Tokyo, so I had plenty of chances to visit.
The entrance is practically unprotected and has many openings that make access easy for anyone. The owner perhaps stopped caring about trying to keep the new breed of tourists out.
A stream divides Western Village into two – the actual village, extremely Far West ambiance with barber, bank, prison, saloons… everything is here, just like a movie set (which is where we are, in this article) – and the “Mexican” side.
Ominami-san extended his theme park each year, to the detriment of his profit margin.
In 1995, he even added a replica of the famous Mount Rushmore, seemingly on an impulse.
The park closed in 2007 and is now virtually forgotten.
But from time to time, tourists driving around the Nikko area are taken aback by this Japanese version of Mount Rushmore that looms up for a second…
…and they have to come back to check it isn’t a hallucination!
The Western Village is now being demolished, little by little.
And it is sad, as it was a fabulous haikyo, especially for those girls who really enjoy it 🙂
They also visited an abandoned school, so if you are interested in seeing that, please kick me in the comments to post about it 🙂
Abandoned Japan Book
You will find more amazing abandoned places in my book Abandoned Japan. It is available on Amazon, here: Abandoned Japan.