Ruins of the Russian Village Revisited

MJG Haikyo, Niigata, Ruins / Haikyo 22 Comments

4 years ago I went to the Russian Village– one of the grandest failed theme parks in Japan, abandoned 20 years ago and left to fend for itself. On that first trip I camped overnight in a still-pristine hotel room, admired the mint-condition giant mammoth sculptures, and was even able to loot a few tatty matroska dolls from a (mostly already looted-out) gift shop. Now, 4 years later, I returned to see how the old Village was faring. Not well, it turned out. Modeled after the Kremlin, I believe. Its poor condition was not obvious to see from the outside, …

Japan’s abandoned Russian Village theme park

MJG Churches / Shrines, Haikyo, Niigata, Theme Parks 29 Comments

Japan’s Russian Village Theme Park sprawls empty and forlorn atop a small hill set back from the main road, shrouded by a thick raft of cedar trees that hide its embarassing failed extravangance from the world. Built 2002 and abandoned after just 6 months, the endeavour was ill-fated from the start: a theme park in the middle of nowhere with no rides. Russian church in Japanese mountains. Now its giant fake mammoths rest unseen in their dark and musty show hall, the vibrant blue onion-domes of its vaulting ‘Russian’ church slowly tarnish to white, and the shops once filled with …