Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Gulliver’s Kingdom was an abandoned theme park which got its inspiration from Gulliver’s Travels, a novel by Jonathan Swift. It even had a giant-sized Gulliver statue lying down in Lillliput. Located in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, it had a nice view of Mount Fuji.
This theme park was an impulse decision made by the Japanese government supposedly intended to boost the economy in the 90s. It was financed by the Niigata Chuo Bank which later collapsed due to non-performing loans. Gulliver’s Kingdom was one of those, having received around $350 million in financial loan which went to waste due to unsuccessful venture. It was also bombarded with employment controversies during its construction phase.
The location was actually perfect in terms of having a beautiful view. It was situated in Kamikuishi village just at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The theme park should be able to attract millions of tourists each year. However, it was also very near the so-called Suicide Forest. This was probably the mistake of the project planners and construction workers. They did not take into consideration the possible implication of building this area. Being near Aokigahara where the most number of suicides happen, it was scary to imagine a fun theme park near it.
If that was not unlucky enough, the Kamikuishi village is also known to be the location of the headquarters of Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984. Their nerve gas production facility is also in that area. This group was responsible for the Sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995. Visitors and residents were constantly reminded of this tragedy and still feel the trauma even if they are in a place where you should supposedly have fun.
With only four years of operation, there was not much to see in Gulliver’s Kingdom. There were no major rides that can compete with other theme parks. The most notable attractions were the bobsled track and luge course that was not even made for kids. The star of the theme park was a 147.5ft statue of Gulliver seemingly tied up on the ground. These poorly thought rides and the unfortunate location caused the failure to attract visitors.
The Ruins Today
Gulliver’s Kingdom permanently closed in October 2001. As with any abandoned theme parks, the rides were eventually taken over by nature. The statue was filled with graffiti and surrounded with grass. The attractions were vandalized. Photographers and enthusiasts of abandoned places were able to document the chilling ruins in eerie photographs. Gulliver’s Kingdom stood for 6 years more after its abandonment, until its total demolition in 2007 where only foundations remain visible on the ground.
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