The lush green of the region was the ideal setting for a theme park on the folklore of medieval Germany. I’ve been there several times, and here you’ll find photos of my two most recent visits, in early fall and the middle of winter! 🍂❄️
The Little Church
The park, extending for around 30,000 square metres, was very popular in the early 1990s. In its heyday it welcomed up to 700,000 visitors a year. Now it’s hard to imagine such crowds among the undergrowth taking over.
Gluck Kingdom aimed to recreate the universe of the Grimms’ tales. The park designers were inspired by the traditional architecture of the central German states of Hesse and Lower Saxony.
The wooden houses of the 15th and 17th centuries, the cobbled streets of the Marktplatz (market square) and even the interiors of German medieval castles were accurately reproduced. The park didn’t skimp on funding and as much as possible made use of materials directly imported from Germany. Local crafters were invited to recreate an authentic German atmosphere.
Welcome to the Gluck Hotel!
A replica of Bückeburg castle was created (both exterior and interior) and used as a hotel. Nicknamed the “Schloss Hotel”, it offered guests the experience of spending the night in a German castle.
Unfortunately, with the burst of the economic bubble, the number of visitors steadily declined after 1997. Various attempts have been made to reopen the park by renting out the hotel and trying to find new sponsors. But the vast site was very difficult to maintain and the park finally closed in 2007. The equipment had begun to decay even before closure as maintenance was expensive.
Take a good look. You might find a corpse!
After closure, the land as well as the buildings were to be sold at auction, but further problems meant that the sale never took place and Gluck Kingdom gradually slid into disrepair.
The Amusement Park
Rumour has it that Gluck Kingdom was one of the most haunted places in Hokkaido, after a fatal accident on a ride. The rumour’s still alive, by the way … if you doubt that, don’t hesitate to search the archives!
Since 2011, the curiosity of Internet users has grown and the premises have become more and more popular with urban explorers who come to admire the ruins of Grimm country … even if some of them end up at Obihiro police station! 😅
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