Gluck Kingdom

We were in beautiful Hokkaido for a little weekend, not blessed at all by the weather. I made of the constant drizzly rain a good excuse for me to explore many places where we could eat butadon, an amazingly delicious pork bowl. They have a lot of shops in the area of Obihiro and they are sensational. You must try it.

When we landed at the entrance of the Gluck Kingdom (グリュック王国), an abandoned theme park, there was a little barbed fence with the corpse of a human-size doll on it. Around it, a lot of Keep Out and No Entry signs. This haikyo did not seem very friendly from the beginning. On top of that, I was a little concerned with the local population, more specifically with the bear population. A friend mentioned that explorers had spotted one of these strolling in the park before. At the time, I had never seen a bear with my own eyes and was a little suspicious about this kind of information. The local police was also very active around this area, constantly checking if anyone was going in, that would be easy to give the trespassers an expensive entry ticket. However, as we went that far, at this point, we couldn’t really afford to hesitate. We parked the car far away from the place to avoid it to be seen and then we jumped over the fence.

After a hundred meters, a huge parking lot suddenly appeared. The sky cleared a bit, the rains stopped, and it seemed we were lucky after all. The only thing missing would have been a few tiny bear cubs to come and play with us without their mother. Without any hesitation, we entered through a windmill that seemed to be an entrance and found ourselves right in the middle of an abandoned medieval German castle. The park is actually very well made; they even imported the pavements from Germany to make it feel more real! In the back of the medieval castle there is also a big attraction park with a few roller-coasters and a ferris’ wheel. If the weather would have been better I would have definitely spend the whole day there, taking photos. This place is full of opportunities!

My Japanese teacher went there in the 90’s and showed me a few photos she took in the park: it was already a ghost town. She added that many shops were not even selling German products but Japanese ones instead. The lack of visitors inevitably led the park to close its big doors sometimes in 2007. It is quite sad since it was part of a big marketing plan made by the Hokkaido prefecture to attract visitors to various parts of the island, all of them with their own theme park.

The Gluck Kingdom opened in 1989 and closed in 2007. Well, now, what about some more butadon?

Wikipedia (JP): グリュック王国
Website: Gluck Oukoku on Archive.org

HIGHLIGHTS

– abandoned medieval castle
– attraction park
fearing the bears

FACTS

  • 1989 – 2007

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