Just a short time after posting a list of must-see dinosaur-related places in Japan in July last year I came across an attraction-of-sorts which sticks out like a saur thumb and would no doubt have been included in that top ten! Typical!
I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of these pre-historic creatures yet I have managed to visit a fair few places relating to them over the years. Have I become a dino-whore?! This one all came about as I was looking deep for interesting and unique places to visit on my whirlwind three-day trip to Niigata in September. One of the first stops on my final day was this beautifully presented dinosaur-shaped building in Niitsu which was a 25 minute walk east of Yashiroda station on the JR Shin-Etsu Line.
This particular area of Niigata Prefecture used to be home to the largest oil production in Japan and was indeed known as “the oil village” not that that carries too much weight for a country which had very few petroleum extraction areas!
As for the dinosaur connection, that is quite a short and simple one. Dinosaurs supposedly lived together in this ancient oil-generation era, and are therefore the motif. I’m not sure if this building is modelled on any particular dinosaur. There are four distinctive kite-shaped upright plates on it but to my knowledge only the Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus have such characteristics, and it doesn’t look like either of them so maybe it’s just a generic-looking dinosaur.
There are a couple of rocking-chair rides in front of the dino head which makes me think that this could actually be a children’s playground. It seems like it’s more of a rest-stop for drivers passing through the city of Niitsu though.
Despite some online annoyance that the main attraction was off limits, it proved to not be true when I was there. However, those criticising it can probably feel slightly relieved now that there is pretty much nothing of interest or note inside!
However, one of the side doors did lead me to the steps within the neck and head of the dinosaur. Sadly this part was out-of-bounds so I couldn’t get to experience the views of the surrounding area from the top.
There was another building across the road from the dinosaur featuring a souvenir shop and exhibition area that helps to preserve the cultural heritage of this former-petroleum area. I had a quick look around before walking back to the station ready to finally move on towards Niigata city itself which I was still yet to visit. This quirky-looking building was essentially nothing more than a quick photo stop but it was one that put a smile on my face.
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Must-See Dinosaur-Related Places In Japan’
Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #32 – Dinosaur Space’
Click here to read ‘Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #9 – Dinosaur Park’
Click here to read ‘The Tokyo Templed Guarded By A Pre-Historic Creature!’
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