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The Abandoned Western Village in Japan

The Abandoned Western Village in Japan

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.

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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.

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Once known as the Kinugawa Ranch, this village was built around 1973.

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At the time it was a very simple place where visitors could enjoy cowboy-style activities.

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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.

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The ranch became a proper theme park in 1975 and was renamed Western Village.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ominami-san extended his theme park each year, to the detriment of his profit margin.

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In 1995, he even added a replica of the famous Mount Rushmore, seemingly on an impulse.

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The park closed in 2007 and is now virtually forgotten.

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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…

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…and they have to come back to check it isn’t a hallucination!

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The Western Village is now being demolished, little by little.

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And it is sad, as it was a fabulous haikyo, especially for those girls who really enjoy it 🙂

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They also visited an abandoned school, so if you are interested in seeing that, please kick me in the comments to post about it 🙂

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Who Am I

I am Jordy Meow, a French photographer living in Japan. I explore discover offbeat and lesser known places in Japan. Wish to see more, or to help me? Here is my Patreon.

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