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New theme park based on anime, manga to open in July

  • COURTESY PASONA GROUP INC.

    Nijigen No Mori, or “two-dimensional forest,” is a new theme park based on a popular manga and anime. It’s set to open in Awajishima Koen park on Awajishima island in Hyogo prefecture in July.

AWAJI, Japan >> An amusement facility based on popular manga and anime will open in Awajishima Koen park on Awajishima island in Hyogo prefecture in July.

The new theme park is called Nijigen No Mori, or “two-dimensional forest.”

Operated by temp agency Pasona Group Inc., it will take advantage of the island’s abundant nature and employ the latest visual media technology to create a world of fantasy.

The featured works are “Hi no Tori” (“the phoenix”), by Osamu Tezuka, and “Crayon Shinchan,” by Yoshito Usui. There are hopes the park will become a new tourist hot spot.

The theme park’s three attractions and lodging are scheduled to open in phases starting in July.

A section in the middle of Awajishima Koen park, Mori no Zone (“the forest zone”), will be installed with a three-quarter-mile-long walking trail tentatively named “Night Walk Hi no Tori.”

Along the trail, visitors will enjoy a show based on “Hi no Tori” that uses projection mapping to beam images and sounds across the forest.

Two attractions based on “Crayon Shinchan” will open near Showa-ike pond in the park. There will be two zip lines with different lengths that stretch across the water.

Overnight lodging will be offered at 23 cottages in the park, with capacity for up to 80 guests, according to Pasona.

Fees for using the facilities have yet to be announced.

“We hope to attract young people from abroad, too, with the global appeal of anime and manga — two of Japan’s strengths,” said Pasona Group CEO Yasuyuki Nanbu. “We’d like to attract 1 million visitors every year.”

In 2013 the Hyogo prefectural government looked to the private sector for plans to revitalize the park and chose Pasona Group after it submitted a proposal for Nijigen No Mori.

Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido also has high hopes for the project.

“Awajishima is a trove of culinary delicacies and is rich in history, culture and romanticism,” he said. “I hope Awashijima Koen park will be an entertainment hub and help increase the number of people interacting with islanders.”

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