The words “theme park” tend to make me first think of a place with roller-coaster rides but of course that’s not always the way as was certainly the case with this one just a stone’s throw from Japan Snake Center.
I think the woman on the ticket gate must’ve thought I was a Covid risk as she raced off to get the temperature check thing which she hadn’t bothered using on the Japanese couple entering just ahead of me. I was only sweating because I’d walked up the hill leading to the place rather than going by car like most others. It was also very hot on this particular August day.
To be honest I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for by entering this place but as I’d come this far I thought I should just cough up whatever was needed. I was already a bit peeved at spending ¥1000 at the snake institute which, in my mind, didn’t really yield too much back in return…other than a blog post about the experience!
Mikadukimura theme park (3320 Yabuzukacho, Ota, Gunma) cost ¥650 just to enter the place and then I had to fork out ¥500 for the cave and ¥300 for the two sloping trick-art rooms. I’m still curious as to what the mysterious dong (bottom left corner of the picture below!) on the google translate app actually was!!
The cave actually proved to be far more interesting than I expected and as there was no-one else around I had the whole place to myself which was ultimately a good thing in terms of ramping up the spookiness of it all.
Again, I had no idea what to expect and just entered the cave assuming it was nothing more than a cave. It seemed that way too after I walked down the gently declining slope and found pretty much nothing at the end of it other than a piece of furniture.
Little did I know that I had to stand on the white foot prints in front of it, and that is when the short adventure began!
The piece of furniture slid to the side to reveal some steps descending down into a cellar of sorts with a coffin that moves when you approach it. Had this been an abandoned ruin or something, you’d be mad to continue on into such a place!
The rest of my journey into darkness included a waterfall, a rope-bridge, spooky mirrors and some rooms lit up in different colours which react to the sensors of your presence.
The finale was some kind of shrine-style hall with a couple of strange-looking mascots (two of the seven gods??) beneath it. The steps going up to the side of it led to daylight again and it has to be said that this was pretty enjoyable. It may not sound it from my poor description but it really was!
There were also two sloping trick-art rooms which I visited. They were quite good fun but not the kind of thing I’d probably pay to do. Surprisingly, the rooms did have a fair few notices in English albeit the all-too-common ones riddled with errors which are par for the course in Japan. Better than nothing though!
Of course, trying to show the gradient of the room and so on is not easy to do in a few photos. Keeping a sense of balance really is difficult and it gives you the feeling of being very drunk! It seemed like great fun for the couple of families who were present. It was probably just strange that a foreign man of my age was there!
After those two sights I had a quick look around the rest of the place as I headed for the exit. There’s a restaurant, a watermill, a shrine and a building called Monjiro Birthplace which relates to a TV series called ‘Monjirō Of The Cold Wind‘ (1972-73). Kogarashi Monjirō was a drifter who travelled alone in the Edo Period in his iconic ragged straw hat and cape. He was exiled to Hachijō-jima island in Tokyo (albeit about 300km south of the mainland) taking blame for a crime committed by a friend…and yes I have only mentioned that because I’ve been to that island! It seems like this Crescent Village (Mikadukimura), which opened in 1980, is a recreation of Monjiro’s hometown in the TV series.
Like the nearby snake centre, the place is in a state of disrepair and it really is a surprise to see that both places have survived.
It’s a fairly expensive attraction but if you’re in the area you may as well take a trip back in time to a remnant of a bygone era by way of this amusement park.
Click here to read ‘Japan Snake Center – A Place To Avoid But Not For The Reason You May Think!’
Click here to read ‘The Lost World Ruins Of A Stone Quarry In Gunma’
Click here to read ‘A Shrine Dedicated To Feet & The Last Remnant Of A Former Haunted House In Gunma’
Click here to read ‘The Creepiest Buddha Statue In Japan!’