PHOTOS: The Abandoned Gulliver’s Kingdom Amusement Park

This curiously strange amusement park in Japan is named after the famous book by Jonathan Swift called Gulliver’s Travels. A satire on British society, it was written in the early 1700s in a cryptic way so it wouldn’t upset the royal family and those in power. The story is most well known for Gulliver encounters the tiny Liliputians.

You may wonder why the Japanese decided to create a theme park around a British novel about British royalty. Well, in the book, Gulliver briefly visits Japan before he is taken to the land of the Houyhnhnms, a kingdom where horses are the masters and human-like creatures called Yahoos are the subordinates. The huge monument of Gulliver in this amusement park is just as shocking and enormous as you’d expect from the original story line.

If you think the book is strange, then you need to hear about this Japanese amusement park’s location because everything about it is even more strange and just plain eerie.

Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park is located very close to Mount Fuji near Aokigahara – Japan’s famous ‘suicide forest.” Aokigahara is the second most popular suicide spot in the world after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA. More than 500 people are known to have taken their lives in the forest since 1950. It is also close to the former headquarters of Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult responsible for 13 deaths in the Tokyo sarin nerve gas attack of 1995. Now recognized as a terrorist organisation, the Aum Shinrikyo still has more than 1,000 adherents worldwide–possibly near the original site too.

The park opened with high expectations in 1997 but closed four years later. By most accounts, it closed in 2001 after failing to attract enough visitors. Why would people be afraid to go on rides near a suicide forest and near the former headquarters of a deadly cult? Well, you can probably guess that it’s not exactly where you’d take the entire family, even if it sounds like the most fascinating place on earth.

Unfortunately, most Japanese people weren’t curious enough about the odd location to visit, and Gulliver’s Kingdom Japan has been left to rot for over 14 years. How on earth they’ll ever remove that enormous statue of Gulliver, one can only guess.