In the mountains of Iwate nestles a deteriorating theme park known as Tohoku New Zealand Village. It was built based on Japan’s idea of New Zealand culture. The village is quite charming where you are likely to see alpacas, sausages and unique architectures. There are also a few attractions such as rides and performances by various idol groups.
In the past, four New Zealand Village Parks were built in Japan due to the preparation of a wave of interest in the culture. However, most of them closed due to low admission numbers with only one remaining open in Tohoku despite it almost falling apart. The village park was originally built as a relaxing place in the mountains with a nice breeze and is located an hour north of Sendai on the Tohoku JR Line.
The menagerie is one of the main attractions in the place and consists of a small collection of farm animals such as sheep, llamas and hamsters. These are being reared on the farm’s vast grounds. You can also observe or hold guinea pigs and leverets which are only hand-sized or even go horseback riding into the open spaces.
Rabbits are kept inside the rabbit park which is an entertaining place for children.
Apart from the menagerie, you may also find a few scattered attractions around the place but most are broken and rusty. Some guests get a thrill just by observing all the old and broken architectures that have been left to rust.
Unfortunately, there are claims that the place is gradually being abandoned due to the non-arrival of a potential wave of interest in New Zealand culture, in Japan. With many abandoned shops such as sausage-making and BBQ areas, it is foreseen that the place may become a popular site of modern ruins in Japan.
Although Tohoku New Zealand Village may be deteriorating, it’s worth a look if you’re in the area and are interested in getting a taste of Japan’s version of New Zealand culture!
Tohoku NZ Mura Website*Japanese Only