Japan has a fascination with theme parks that recreate the "life and culture" in other countries. Probably the most famous example is Huis Ten Bosch, the "Dutch" theme park in Nagasaki in Kyushu.
Parque Espana (Shima Spain Village) in Mie Prefecture on the southern coast near the Ago Bay is part amusement park, part recreated Spain. Various facets of Spanish architecture are here: Andalusian houses, a castle, a statue of Colombus and Spanish-style plazas. There's als a Santa Claus Street, Carmen Street as well as Fiesta and Columbus Squares to get you in the Latin mood.
Visitors often come by bus as part of a package tour and stay overnight at one of the resort's hotels. There are also guided tours for elementary school children to introduce them to "Spanish culture."
There are parades by costumed characters, street performances, an onsen, restaurants and cafes and lots of activities for the kids.
The amusement park has three spectacular rides: Bullfight Roller Coaster, Gran Montserrat and the Pyrenees.
Parque Espana (Shima Spain Mura)
Tel: 0599 57 3333
Admission: 2,800 yen for adults; children 12-17 1,800 yen; children 4-11 1,200 yen.
From Osaka Namba Station the journey by Kintetsu train and shuttle bus (360 yen) to the park from Ugata Station is about 2 hours, 40 minutes.
From Nagoya Station the journey by Kintetsu and bus to the park from Ugata Station is 2 hours, 13 minutes.
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Friday, September 05, 2008
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