Monday, October 6, 2008

Hanayashiki Theme park in Asakusa--Get Some Old School Action

I always expect the unexpected in Tokyo. Sadly, I learned that lesson the hard way. I am the kind of person who learns his lessons well. When on a walkabout in Tokyo remember two things; always have a digital camera on hand and never be afraid to explore something which looks odd and out of place. While there are pitfalls to the above advice it will increase your enjoyment. With these ideas in mind I noticed something really out of place while wondering in Asakusa recently. I saw a crane type of thing gently spinning some hallow metal boxes in a circle a good distance off the ground. Now that is something you don`t see everyday for sure. With a gun ho spirit I walked from Sensoji temple in the direction of the strange crane. What I found was the Hanayashiki theme park!

If you looking for some old school carnival action then Hanayashiki is your location of choice. I knew that I should not have been surprised but I was taken back at the sight of such a place being in Tokyo. If I laid eyes on a 50`s style theme park in the more country side places in Japan I would not feel all that surprised. Tokyo is a very post-modern city providing little place for such things like Hanayashiki; or so it would seem. Yet Tokyo has proven to me time and time again that there is room for just about any whim to find quarter.

I must admit I knew nothing of the place until I just happened to be drawn to it by a strange crane(which later turned out to be called `Bee View` or something). Hanayashiki reminds me of all those fun summer carnivals in West Virginia. They were always the best places to find girls to hang out with; only later to make out with them behind the roller coaster. Although, from what I could gather Hanayashiki maintains a more family friendly vibe. There will be no make out sessions behind the rollercoster...dammit!

The whole place had got the 50`s carnival vibe down to every detail. It looks like the place has not changed all the much since its opening in 1853. It is a time warp right in the heart of one of Tokyo`s most visited wards. All the pastel colors, the arcade, and cotton candy just takes me back to a more simple time in my life. A time in my life when all I cared about was making it to school on time, building a fast car and scoring with fast girls. Although those days are long gone for the most part I can still enjoy some old school carnival action in the form of Hanayashiki Theme park.

While the ride selection is very limited it still has all the classic rides that we all love. They got a rollercoster(not very fast but very fun), an interesting and relaxing sky view called Bee View(I think that is the name), horror house, frog jump, terror ride, live stage, arcade as well as some food and a few other extras.

I visited the place during the day so it was pretty lean as far as the crowds go. I am sure that the place gets a lot more busy in the evenings.

I give the place a five out of five just for the memories it brings to mind. It is a fun little place indeed. It is the perfect date spot for that Japanese girl you have been trying to impress. Any cute gal will be all yours if you take her to Hanayashiki Theme park. I saw several couples there and the girls were all shits and giggles about being taken to Hanayashiki. Give this place a try you might actually like Hanayashiki. It does not come even close to the likes of Tokyo Disneyland but it is cool all the same. You can relax more and take your time at Hanayashiki because it is much smaller and shorter lines. Give it a try the next time you are in Asakusa.