Ruins of Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan

April 22, 2009 · Haikyo, Theme Parks, Yamanashi 

Gulliver once rested in the shadow of Mt.Fuji, bound and nailed to the ground by the hair. His giant body was the main attraction of the now defunct and dismembered Gulliver’s Kingdom Theme Park in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, built in 1997, closed in 2001 due to defaulting bank loans, and demolished around 2007.

Perhaps a contributing factor to its ultimate failure was the proximity of Kamikuishiki- a small village that was the main base for the cult Aum Shinrikyo at the time of their deadly 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. Tourists on a day-trip with the kids to a theme-park would have been likely to steer clear. Now every reminder of the place is gone, the village has been rezoned, and the name Kamikuishiki removed from all maps.

Image from here.

I wish I’d had the chance to go to Gulliver’s Kingdom. Reports on UER here, and perhaps particularly by dsankt here, describe how thoroughly awesome it was. It was even possible within the time-line of my stay in Japan- I got here in 2003 several years before the place was demolished. But, I wasn’t actively seeking out haikyo in those days- the hobby had never even occured to me. In those days I lived for Ultimate Frisbee (rah rah rah!) every Sunday, with every Saturday spent waiting for Sunday to roll around. Ah well. Here are some pictures garnered from around the web:

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FACTFILE

Location – Fuji, Yamanashi.

Entry - None, demolished.

Highlights – Gulliver!

RUINS / HAIKYO

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18 Responses to “Ruins of Gulliver’s Kingdom, Japan
  1. Tornadoes28 says:

    There is also this good Japanese Haikyo site that has this Gulliver haikyo also.

    http://home.f01.itscom.net/spiral/g_oukoku/g_oukoku01.html

  2. Scott says:

    Hey Mikey – That one looks cool. The shops reminds me of Canadian World in Hokkaido – which was practically a haikyo site 6 years ago when I visited it (http://www.genfab.com/photo-albums/?file=2003/10/). I wonder what state that one is in at present…

  3. Michelle13 says:

    Wow, there is something about the grafitti on the side of Gulliver’s face that is sooo cool! Too bad it’s all gone.

  4. Lee says:

    That’s one that I regret not seeing too Mike. Just as I got into the whole haikyo thing I eagerly checked it out only to find that it had gone. It did look fantastic didn’t it?

  5. Karasu says:

    For some reason I find the coupling of the scale of Gulliver and his lifeless expression really, really creepy.

  6. 2nihon says:

    How thoroughly awesome. They sure know how to build cool theme parks.

  7. Houma says:

    This is absolutely insane! I would have never imagined a theme park based off of Gulliver’s Travels! I know you haven’t explored this particular theme park, but is it dangerous to do so? I would love to explore one of these modern ruins one day, but am concerned about the safety of doing so. Thanks again for this!

  8. MJG says:

    Tornadoes- Right, I probably `borrowed` some of these photos from there..

    Scott- Canadian world? I`ll go do some research….

    Michelle- Right, I`m not a fan of that particular graffiti, but I`ll agree seeing a place degrade is quite fascinating.

    Lee- Right, you and me both. Was so disappointed to hear it was gone. Crushed my dreams :(

    Karasu- Good point, I hadn`t thought of that. He is lifeless.

    2nihon- No doubt, they do. Ones that are too awesome (and fragile) to survive in the real world.

    Houma- Safety is largely a matter of common sense in a haikyo. In Japan there`s about zero threat from people in the ruins, as there are no squatters and I`ve never even seen evidence of drug-use. The main danger is the age and worn-down state of the place. Watch your footing and you`ll generally be fine. In other countries though, ruins inhabitants become much more of a risk.

  9. nym says:

    I went there when it was open – it was a very surreal experience. It was largely just small shops selling scandanavian products such as salted liquorice (which is bizarre because I have yet to meet a single Japanese person who likes the taste of liquorice let alone salted liquorice). One shop sold nothing but moomin goods. The moomin shop was really the main reason for Japanese people going to this place in my opinion – certainly it was the most full.
    But seeing a giant gulliver on the lower slopes of Mt Fuji was really out of place.

  10. [...] (images via: Spechtrograph and Michael John Grist) [...]

  11. Carolyn says:

    This is the coolest ever! What is this haikyo thing you guys speak of? I never heard of it before. I have always loved to go into abandoned places, old houses and road side attractions across the US. There is some pretty surreal stuff out there and very cool, but this takes it! I would LOVE to go there! beginningtobeginagain@yahoo.com

  12. o says:

    where can I find this park on google earth? I looked near Mt. Fuji and can’t find it. I looked near Yamanashi and I can’t find it either. I tried using the old images of google earth and again can’t find it. Is it near some sort of town?

  13. Cecil says:

    IT WAS TORN DOWN IN 2007!!!!

    Do your research!

  14. Ashley says:

    So the statue is totally gone today?

  15. Amber says:

    Nice. Giant dude left tied to the ground to rot. Wonder if there could be deeper meaning to that? Ah well. Looked at your lists, pity you didn’t stop by Takakononuma Greenland Park while you were there. It sat abandoned for years, had some nice ‘conquering nature’. I’m told its gone now, but I wouldn’t know…yet. Wouldn’t want to go now anyway–it was close enough to be caught in the radiation circle from Fukashima. Bye!!

  16. Derek says:

    There is another Gulliver-themed park in Japan, in Takashima-shi Shiga-ken:
    http://www.gullivervillage.jp/
    It’s not so much a theme park as it is an outdoor park: they have rental cabins for camping, etc. but with the name ?????????? it was obviously intended to be a location for school field trips and such. I think it’s still open and operational, but it’s way run-down. They seem to make enough money to keep the place open, but not enough to properly maintain and fix everything there.

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