This Abandoned Japanese Theme Park Is The Strangest Place You’ll See Today

Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park in Japan was left to ruin after the owners closed it down in 2001.

1. The surreal theme park was based on the novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

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2. At the centre of the park lay a giant model of the novel’s titular character, Lemuel Gulliver, tied to the ground - a vivid imagining of the famous scene where he is captured by the tiny people of Lilliput.

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3. The park was built next to Mount Fuji near Aokigahara - Japan’s famous ‘suicide forest’ - and close to the former headquarters of Aum Shinrikyo, the religious cult responsible for 13 deaths in the Tokyo sarin nerve gas attack of 1995.

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4. Photographer Martin Lyle, 44, braved the chilling atmosphere to explore the park’s interior.

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5. He said: “The giant Gulliver was unreal. Entering the grounds I didn’t see him right away, then as I delved deeper into the park he suddenly loomed out of the landscape.

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6. “It was such a momentous thing to stand in the presence of. It was the most amazing and surreal object I have ever seen.

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7. “It felt so weird to lie in the palm of a giant man, while surrounded by the stunning scenery.”

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8. Gulliver’s Kingdom opened its doors in 1997, but a short four years later it was forced to close due to a lack of customers.

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9. Some speculate the park attracted so few visitors because of the site’s unfortunate proximity to such grim locations.

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10. 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.

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11. The nearby village of Kamikuishki was home to the terrorist organisation Aum Shinrikyo, which still has more than 1,000 adherents worldwide.

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It was used as a base for the production of nerve gas in the Tokyo subway attack.

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12. Mr Lyle, of Atlanta, Georgia, USA said: “I can see why the park did not last very long. I would not want to go to a fun theme park next to those sinister places.

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13. “Which ever way you look at it, the park had a strange concept. Why would you base a theme park on an 18th Century English novel?

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14. The park was eventually demolished in 2007.

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Alan White is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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