• Shona McCarthy

Hanayashiki: Japan's Oldest Amusement Park

In contemporary Japan, there are many theme parks one could visit, including those dedicated to traditional life, like Edomura near Tokyo and Eigamura near Kyoto. But did you know there was a theme park in Japan so old that Samurai might have visited it? Enter Hanayashiki. Originally started as a flower-viewing park, through the years it was redeveloped into a zoo, until eventually Japan's oldest rollercoaster was added, and it became Japan's first amusement park!

(One of the most popular rides in the park are the panda cars. How cute!) The park features what is said to be a very creepy Haunted House, various rides appropriate for children, a good few that are slow moving and allow you a wonderful view of the surrounding Asakusa area, and a couple that are good for people who like their rides a bit more scary.

(Image borrowed from, 2021) The park includes a kind of ninja school. But since everything at the park is in Japanese, you may need to have Google Translate at the ready. See here for booking and location information. A vague associate of mine, who is a kabuki performer went to the park and made a video there:

I think his performance highlights some of the more traditional activities at the park, while his performance adds a comedic energy!

For more information, you can visit the Hanayashiki official website here. It's amazing to see that the park's origins predate Japan's contact with the West. And that in the early 1900s women wearing kimono were park attendants!

(Look at how beautifully dressed the park attendants once were! My goodness!!! Borrowed from the official Hanayashiki website, 2021.)

As with most theme parks, there is an assortment of shops and restaurants. Of particular interest is the fact that the park contains the oldest burger restaurant in Asakusa, with an exclusive Asakusa croquet burger!

Usual hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm Last admission 30 minutes before closing; open hours vary depending on seasons and weather

Closed Irregular holidays Closed: on maintenance days in February, June, and December. Please contact the park for further information.

Entrance fees are as follows:

From 13 to 64 years old: 1,000yen From 7 to 12 years old: 500yen Over 65 years old: 500yen Physically disabled: Free Rides cost 100 yen each, except for the festival corner.

Passes for infinite rides at the park are also available:

From 13 to 64 years old: 2,300yen From 7 to 12 years old: 2,000yen Over 65 years old: 1,800yen 6 years and under: 1,800yen

(Please note that these prices are pre-Covid. After Covid, they may change.) This seems to be one of the better value theme parks in Japan, and since it serves as a kind of historical landmark, you're getting a kind of two in one tourist experience. If I were to go, I'd probably go in traditional Japanese clothing so that I could take some really fun photos while I'm there, especially since there seems to be a really beautiful koi point and garden in the middle of the park! My standard advice on how to make the most of your time in a theme park would still apply; Arrive early and head towards the back of the park as soon as you are through the gates since most crowds would gather closer to the front and this will mean less waiting in lines. Reviews say that the park is busy with school groups in the mornings, but quiet in the afternoons.

If you would like to supplement your experiences of Japan with real life, wearable objects, you could try perusing my online store. I try to keep my prices reasonable, and my products a blend of the fun and practical:

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