Cowboy haunted-house and Mexicoland, Japan

Mike GristFeatured Story, Haikyo, Theme Parks, Tochigi 18 Comments

Japan’s haikyo theme park Western Village (closed in 2007) takes its cowboy conceit in some unexpected directions; most interestingly of all the Wild West ghost house. Within its silent black-velveted walls we can find all manner of creepified Western stalwarts; skeletal pistoleers, death as a frontier dentist, zombified tomahawk-wielding Indians, and of course cowboys with their pants down.


Yes. There is more than one occasion of cowboys with their pants down. Each time they are displaying long and gruddy underjohns- perhaps intended to sync up with John Wayne with his fly unzipped. Maybe you can spy some of them in the video.

The piece de resistance though is of course the chap getting his tooth pulled by Death.

Death pulls a tooth, from outside.

I managed to get inside the ghost house, of course pitch black, and get up close and personal with some of the models.

Forlorn wooden tooth.

This was an uncomfortable spot to shoot from- squashed in beside Death and the wall.


Blood-spattered window from the inside out.

Ghost house mwa ha ha!

I’ve walked around in haikyo ghost-houses once or twice before, so I wasn’t too freaked out by anything in there. It was very dark of course, and there were skeletons and the like, but with a flash light in hand, and of course no power to propel the ghosts at you or make them cackle or whatnot, they’re really not very spooky. More humorous, a bit sad-looking when you can see them clearly. But of course that’s no reflection on them- they were never meant to be seen clearly.

See the GALLANTRY ride in Nara Dreamland for more examples of looking-a-bit-crappy-by-torch-light.

Exactly what is this? Creepy lady buried half in stone, in a store-room of the main ghost walk- perhaps undergoing maintenance (getting her toenails repainted?)

Also lipstick and eye shadow. Very fetching, madame.

Prospector skeleton at a party.

Grim-looking murder victim.

I guess this hand would tap its finger when it was alive.

On the outside, giant tooth, happily free of blood.

Fun house

Next along, across from the Jail and Game Center, was a kind of fun-house, with oddly slanting walls and floors. Amongst all the attractions that had been blocked off, someone had staved in a few wooden boards in the door to this one. It was fun to canter around in, but not for much more than a couple of minutes.

Tilted floor. See more in the video.


Beyond the main cowboy boulevards lay a rope bridge across the ‘Rio Grande’ to MexicoLand, an area pretty spartan of cool stuff actually- though it featured a large and elaborate putt putt gold course, and at the far end a pretty stunning collection of two authentic steam train engines, and a few cars.

Uh, wow.

On the Western Village side of the Rio Grande was a bank of laser guns, while on the other an array of American flag laser targets. If you think about that it doesn’t make a lot of sense- why would cowboys shoot at American flags on the Mexico side?

Well, better not to think about it then…

Laser targets to be shot across the ‘Rio Grande’- see more in the video.

Star sensors in the flag.

First up was the giant Mexican fort, with peeling plaster and Mexican-style designs. I’ve since seen that it’s possible to get inside here- and that there are in fact several classic cars hidden away. Wow. I didn’t have a lot of time to linger and check it out though, and bypassed it in favor of getting to the far side.

Entrance fort to Mexicoland. Very rustic.

Beyond the fort were the train tracks. Several different sets actually, some for kiddie trains and some presumably for the real behemoths yet to come.

This smiley French-looking train cop keeps discipline on the rails with a sturdy truncheon.

Beyond the rails, extensive putt-putt golf.

Tee-pee putt putt golf.

A horse in the bush is worth two in the hand.

Faux waterwheel evokes feel of Mexico

Water shooting game.

Far entrance and giant weedy car park.

Toy trains and steam trains

Start off with an awesome kids train.

This is all I expected to find at the park- the real steam trains really took my by surprise.

Then move on to the real trains.

Before the engines though, this gorgeous red caboose.

Rusted and rain-blasted.

Interior and moldy.

Rotten windowsill.

Caboose’s caboose.


Now the two trains. These are real steam trains- one labeled from the Baldwin locomotive works in Philadelphia.

Real steam train controls.

Giant flaky fuselage.

Number 6.

Number 4.

And again because I love it, a second shot.

Now the video-

Next up is the final surprise from the Western Village; outside and inside Mount Rushmore.

Western Village series:

1- History

2. Animatronic John Wayne

Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:

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See a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.

You can also read my SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.

Comments 18

    1. Post

      Well- like I said in part one about the history- the founder Aminami was all about the dream and less about the profit. Seems he was a kind of kidult just collecting giant-sized toys. Weirdly I can respect that.

  1. They really safely secured that haunted house … how on earth did you get in? Very interesting to see the ghouls inside, the lady encased in the nest is actually quite horrifying.

    1. Post

      Hi Paul- I hadn’t realized you’d been here before me until now actually- seems like you got access to several places I didn’t too. As to this one, well, that would be telling… 😉 (but if you’re going back and really want to know, email me)

      1. Tell me over a beer sometime! This was the place I invited you and Brian last time. I got snowed out when I went in January, looks like you had a much more lengthy and enjoyable explore of the surrounds than I did.

        1. Post

          We had about 2 hours I guess, definitely better conditions than you had, though I would have loved to get some blue or contrast in the skies. Beer sounds good- you can tell me all about (ominous voice) ‘the Cult’!

  2. Amazing stuff! It’s interesting to see such a new haikyo, still relatively untouched by the elements and vandals. This place will be incredible in a few more years, if it’s left to rot naturally that is. Plenty of cool stuff to see inside by the looks of it as well. Nice job :).

    1. Post
  3. Wow, how eerie! To think that a place like this is completely abandoned and then to find it… I would be kind of spooked !

    1. Post

      If I had seen the movie Westworld beforehand, I might have been more spooked. As was, I was having too much fun exploring to be scared.

  4. This Western Village series is great work, MJG. The place looks more interesting as a haikyo than it probably was when it was open. It’s also melancholy to see something someone put so much money, time, and love into dissolve back into nature.

    The steam locomotives are amazing. It’s a shame they’re rusting away, but at least they’re under cover.

    I hate to disillusion you, but to me “half-buried-in-stone lady” looks like she’s just taking a bubble bath and has just been upended for storage.

    1. Post

      Thanks David, it’s a cool place and I want to do it justice- especially knowing how much effort the one guy put into it. I hope it won’t get trashed. If it was a place owned by a faceless corporation it wouldn’t bother me much- but for this guy it was his life’s work, seems like it deserves more respect.
      But, well, if he’s dead I guess it doesn’t matter to him anymore.
      And bubble-bath lady? Ha! You may be right… A lot less creepy that way though…

  5. Loving your site, I’m now hooked on Haikyo hehe…..those trains are beautiful!
    Would love to know more about what’s inside that Mexican Fort…specifically the classic cars..:)

  6. Hope someone in Hawaii can repatriate the Waipahu locomotive back home to Hawaii. This locomotive has historical roots in Hawaii and should be returned back to her home rails–not rusting away in Japan.

    Too bad the venture was not successful!

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