On October 10th, 2005, 浅虫ワンダーランド (Asamushi Wonderland) closed its gates for good. Plagued with declining attendance since opening in ’1983’, the small amusement park is still spoken highly of by locals. When asked about the park, several older men commented how they were to afraid to ride the park’s staple roller coaster. The ‘Jet Coaster’ was one of 20 rides installed in the park and operated as Asamushi Kiddy Land by ride manufacturer Okamoto out of Osaka.
In 1999, the park declared bankruptcy but reponed in April, 2000 as Asamushi Wonderland. It’s unknown what happened to the park’s equipment, though it’s highly speculated the rides were demolished. All that remains are the buildings on the east side of the park. For additional pictures and information (Japanese only) please visit this local blog.
Japan’s poorest prefecture 青森県 (Aomori Ken), is rich in snow, apples, and a difficult to understand local dialect (津軽弁 / tsugaru ben). Given the record snow falls and location at the northern tip of 本州 (Honshu) island, Aomori is far from a tourist beacon. Luckily, it remains an easy stop over for the trek to and from the northern island of Hokkaido.
While Asamushi Wonderland received a reported 100,000 visitors in its first year, attendance continued to decline. Unfortunately, Asamushi has lost its presence as a summer hot spot for Japan’s urbanites in Tokyo and Sendai. While Aomori prefecture has a population of 1,373,164 (2010 Census), Aomori City houses roughly 300,000 of those citizens. The rest is found scattered across Aomori’s vast country-side and city centers such as Hirosaki (45 minutes by train), and Hachinohe (90 minutes by train).
Given the short summers, and lack of size to expand to attract repeat visitors it’s no surprise that Asamushi Wonderland became extinct. Though according to Japanese sources, high winds played a factor. Perhaps the continual shutting down of rides not only cost the park much needed income but also frustrated locals from re-visiting. In addition, as a resident of Aomori I blame competition. The nearest ‘legitimate’ (not counting the small family centers in Hachinohe) amusement park is in Morioka (3-4 hours south in Iwate prefecture). Though, Asamushi Wonderland had to compete with Nebuta, Aomori’s famed summer festival, which for many Japanese tourists is the only reason to visit the area. Even if tourists had time to kill, there were plenty of cultural and historical sites to visit.
While the park may never reopen, it’s eerily comforting to see relics of its heyday still intact.
To visit Asamushi Wonderland’s abandoned site, simply exit 浅虫温泉駅 (Asamushi Train Station) and walk along the bay towards your right (north). Click here to view a map of the area. You’ll notice the entrance on your left as walk along the road towards some run down gift shops / mini fish market.
Asamushi Onsen Station is a 15-21 minute,￥４４０ ($5.50) train ride via Aomori Railway (JR Rail Pass not valid) from 青森駅 (Aomori Station). To reach Aomori Station though you’ll need to take a 3 hour 新幹線 (shinkansen / bullet train) from 東京 (Tokyo) and a 7 minute transfer from 新青森駅 (Shin Aomori Station). For train times and prices in English use Hyperdia.
In addition to the abandoned site, enjoy a view of the ocean bay, a trip to the Asamushi Aquarium and the area’s famed onsens (hot springs), all within walking distance.
Morioka is not an urban metropolis, therefore there isn’t a train servicing Iwayama Park Land. Luckily, the park’s website has details on buses running to the park (though they appear to only run on weekends and holidays). Unfortunately, the website is only in Japanese. Please use the pathetic translations below to help guide you there!
Please note, if you can find your way to the zoo (doubutsuen) you’re within walking distance.
Happy traveling coasterers!
* Please keep in mind that this translation is not 100% accurate. It was created using my own Japanese language skills and electronic translation devices. If you plan to travel to Iwayama Park Land, I suggest you print out both the original Japanese directions at the official website to show locals, and this English translation for your own sanity.
Using the bus
Bus from JR Morioka Station (Line Shinjo cemetery park or zoo) is out. Parkland andthe rocks off in front right in front of the Parkland!
The bus schedule has been as follows.
Bus fare (in front of Morioka Station ⇔ Parkland): Adults 360 yen Children 180yen (as of April 1st, 2010)
From Morioka Train Station to Iwayama Park Land
|Time Travel||Weekends and Holidays|
|Destination||Iwayama Park Land|
|Morioka Station Bus Stop ⑧||9：20||11：30||14：00|
|Maekawa Isao garden||9：24||11：34||14：04|
|Morioka Bus Center||9：31||11：41||14：11|
|in front of Junior High School||9：36||11：46||14：16|
|in front of Parkland||9：50||11：50||14：30|
From Iwayama Park Land to Morioka Station
|Time Travel||Weekends and Holidays|
|in front of Parkland||10：56||13：21||15：31|
|in front of Junior High School||11：10||13：35||15：45|
|Morioka Bus Center||11：15||13：40||15：50|
|Maekawa Isao garden||11：22||13：47||15：57|
|Morioka Station Bus Stop ⑧||11：26||13：51||16：01|
– mid-March to late season runs and 11
– March 18 – 24, August 13 – 16, September 18 – 26 days, we will travel in time, regardless of the day
2. Vehicle (car) to go
Lane going uphill running line of Route 4 Bypass. Stone shop and go left past theintersection there is little sign of Iwate University Junior High School (Stone IndustryYoshi Akira) can see, there are rocky entrance. Steadily climbing the mountain fromthere, see Kitara rocky Parkland Ferris wheel is just around the corner! Because therocky Parkland 止Mareru 400 cars and free parking, vehicle (car) is safe in the gardencome!
岩山パークーランド/Iwayama Park Land is the home of the Pop Spin Coaster, a Japanese built steel spinning-car out and back coaster. After gawking at caged beasts at neighboring Morioka Zoo in May of 2010, I jetted over to obtain a credit only to be…DENIED! The レインボースピンコースター/Rainbow Spin Coaster was undergoing it’s not-so-magical transformation into the ポップスピンコースター/Pop Spin Coaster and was thus closed. But that didn’t stop me from climbing over fences and sneaking into the station.
For statistical information check out the Pop Spin Coaster – RCDB Profile.