Take A Walk Through Tenkaen: the Abandoned China Theme Park in Hokkaido

  • HOKKAIDO
  • SPOT
  • It is no secret that Japan and China have had a rather complicated relationship for a long time. In order to honor the relationship between the two countries that each had been working to make better for 20 years, China gave a gift to Japan in the form of a China-styled theme park known as “Tenkaen.” It became one of the major attractions in Japan where people could explore a realistic atmosphere of China. It has now sadly been torn down as of 2017.

    tenkaen 1

    The Theme Park

    tenkaen pagoda

    Tenkaen is a 40,000-square-meter site opened in 1992 but was closed quickly and abandoned completely in 1999 due to an absurdly high entrance fee. As an abandoned theme park, it used to be popular among visitors who wanted to venture into China town (or perhaps by those who loved abandoned places and haunting stories). The park was located in a rural area which may have been used as a marketing strategy to attract visitors to the area. The design of Tenkaen was modeled after a garden court similar to that of the Qing Dynasty. It has two especially attractive features which are the 5-storey pagoda standing at 40 meters tall and a bell donated by China.

    You could see the park from afar due to the pagoda which is peering into the vegetation full of flowers. At the entrance, you could park your car outside which is quite spacious. The park was guarded by small barriers which were easy to go through. The intricate building structures with worm-eaten wood color were of a beautiful style.

    Abandoning the Theme Park

    tenkaen building

    The aforementioned absurdly high entrance fee of around 1,900 yen per person lead to the theme park’s closing. It first started with 270,000 visitors from 1992-1993 which went downhill from then on. In the year 1995, only half of the number of visitors was recorded which led to a decision to close the park just 7 years after its opening.

    The abandoned theme park was still serving as a haven for photography until it was torn down in 2017. I consider this to have been one of the most interesting abandoned theme parks in Japan due to its open space, nice location, and natural decay.

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