Beppu, in Oita prefecture, Japan has pledged to create a hot spring theme park attraction in 2017, plans of which are already underway.
In November 2016, the mayor of Beppu released a video of a hot spring theme park, pledging to make this recreational attraction a reality if the video received more than 1 million views. After beating this target number in three days, plans are now coming into fruition for this much-anticipated park.
The mayor of Beppu announced on 24th January 2017 that the first step in the Yuenchi hot spring theme park plan will be a water-splashing festival, set to take place on 2nd April. This will be followed by the opening of a new attraction in July, involving rides at the existing Beppu Rakutenchi theme park. This attraction will be open for a limited time only, though dates and content have not yet been announced.
According to the town, the April ‘hot water splashing’ festival will be held alongside the Beppu Hatto Onsen Festival (31st March to 3rd April), during which equipment such as fire hoses are used to douse float bearers with warm hot spring water as they parade outside JR Beppu station. This year the festival will spray 10 times as much onsen (hot spring) water as usual, a total of around 30 tonnes, which will be pumped from unused onsens in the town.
The ‘hot spring theme park’ attraction opening in July will coincide with the annual Beppu Sea of Fire Festival, and will encourage attendees to enjoy new hot spring attractions at Beppu Rakutenchi theme park, details of which have yet to be finalised.
Beppu will not use any public tax money to fund the projects, relying instead on a combination of private funds including crowdfunding, donations, and so-called “hometown tax” (a scheme in which taxpayers can choose to divert part of their taxes to a specified local government, usually their hometown, in order to benefit their local community). In particular, it will rely on online crowdfunding to fund the venture, with the aim of raising 100 million JPY (approximately 693,000 GBP) this way.
According to the project’s website
(Japanese only), out of consideration for the environment and in order to avoid wasting water and depleting local onsen supplies, the events plan to make use of unused onsen water from after-hours onsen facilities throughout the town.
The project has been given the catchy name “Paradise Hell Beppu”, presumably in reference to Beppu’s top tourist attraction, its eight ‘hells’, or seven multi-coloured pools and one geyser that are too hot to bathe in. More details on these hot spring ‘hells’ can be found here
The original video is available to watch below or on their official Youtube channel here.
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