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World's first Godzilla theme park now open in Japan

By Kara Santos Published Oct 20, 2020 4:28 am

The world’s first Godzilla theme park, which contains a permanent “life-size” statue of the legendary King of Monsters, recently opened in Japan.

A replica of one of the most famous fictional monsters in cinematic history can now be found inside Nijigen no Mori (Awaji Island Anime Park) on Awaji Island. The monster is supposed to be 120 meters long, but the massive statue measures about 55 meters long, 25 meters wide and 23 meters tall, as if half of its body had been buried underground after an attack.

The highly anticipated attraction named “Godzilla Interception Operation Awaji” finally opened to the public mid-October, after its summer opening was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The anime park on Awaji Island, located southwest of Osaka in Hyogo Prefecture, immerses guests in the world of some of the most iconic manga that characterizes Japanese pop culture including Naruto, Shin-chan, legendary manga Hinotori (The Firebird) by Astro Boy creator Tezuka Osamu, and now Godzilla.

The fictional monster or kaiju has become a worldwide pop culture icon since it made its debut in the Japanese film Gojira directed by Ishiro Honda and released by Toho Studio in November 1954. The term Gojira itself is a Japanese portmanteau of "gorilla" and "kujira" (whale).

The character has spawned a franchise of 32 films produced for Toho, four Hollywood films, numerous video games, novels, comic books, toys and television spin-offs.

Visitors can live out their movie magic dreams at the theme park by ziplining straight into the beast’s roaring mouth, take on “missions” to prevent Godzilla from awakening, chow down on monster-themed food and take home unique souvenirs including Godzilla beer.

Playing the role of researchers, tourists can get a feel of what it would be like to be eaten by the movie monster by riding a zip line straight into Godzilla’s wide open mouth.

Park-goers can also help tame the towering beast at the “National Awaji Island Institute of Godzilla Disaster” (NIZGOD) by firing missiles.

In this area, visitors can check out the two zip lines (130-meters and 210-meters long) that you can glide along and even partake in water gun fights along the way.  Another challenge dubbed Bravo! Great Adventure Across The Warring States! Area contains an obstacle course and ropes course for families and kids.

A "Godzilla Museum" onsite contains a vast display of figures and dioramas used during the filming of the movie franchise, including a map of Japan detailing all the locations where Godzilla has made an appearance and scale models of other movie monsters that Godzilla has faced off with.

A scale model at the Godzilla Museum.

To cap the experience, visitors can dine on savory Godzilla-themed dishes created by Cookpad Studio including “Godzilla curry” along with desserts and signature drinks.

Taste the kaiju goodness.

Amanohashidate's sake brewery, Shiraito Sake Brewery, will release eight types of craft beer with labels bearing curated images of monsters including Godzilla, King Ghidora, Mothra, Rodan and Mecha Godzilla starting October 15th ahead of a Godzilla Festival to be held in November. Folks based in Japan planning to enjoy the festival at home can also pre-order the beer online.

Godzilla beer.

Tickets to this unique attraction are priced at ¥3,800 (roughly P1,750) for visitors 12 years and older, ¥2,200 (P1,013) for 5 to 11-year-olds, and free for children younger than 4.

Here’s a firsthand video look from guests who were able to visit the Japanese theme park a day after its opening.


(Images from TM & Toho Co. via @godzilla_jp)