Back in November, the city of Beppu, located in Oita Prefecture, Kyushu, uploaded to YouTube a video of people enjoying a day at an amusement park. Two things, though, made the proceedings very different from a day at Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan.
Beppu is one of Japan’s premier hot spring (or onsen, in Japanese) resorts. Because of that, every park-goer in the video was dressed in a towel, and the rides and attractions were filled with hot spring water.
The surreal bit of marketing got even more surprising at its end, though, when Beppu Mayor Yasuhiro Nagano showed up made the following promise:
“When this video reaches one million views, we hereby pledge to construct on onsen amusement park in Beppu City.”
The internet responded with gusto, and the video reaching that mark in less than a week (it’s view count now sets at 2.8 million). Nagano is a man of his word, and swiftly issued a statement thanking everyone for their support and reiterating that this did indeed mean that development was getting the green light.
However, he never said that the city was going to foot the bill for the park’s construction. The project’s planners have stated that they will not be using a single yen of tax money to finance the construction of Yuenchi, as the park is being called (the name comes from a combination of the Japanese words "yu" (hot water) and "yuenchi" (amusement park).
As part of the fundraising activities, a Yuenchi crowdfunding campaign is set to kick off next month on Japanese website Campfire, with a goal of 100 million yen ($826,000).
Some may bristle at this request for financial support coming after Nagano’s beaming announcement that the park would be built (the video was filmed at Rakutenchi, a pre-existing Beppu amusement park that does not have an onsen theme). However, total construction costs are likely to be far more than 100 million yen, so it isn’t as though the park is completely relying on individual backers.
It’s also worth noting that the Yuenchi website has a countdown that’s ticking towards its endpoint of July 29, designated as the day the park will open, without any qualifying statements about that being dependent on the crowdfunding campaign’s success. In addition, while no details have yet been released regarding award tiers, it seems like a given that tickets would be given to those contributing at least the cost of at-the-gate admission, so for those planning to go to Yuenchi anyway, throwing some cash at the campaign could be a no-brainer.
In a press conference about the park’s continuing development, Nagano stated “The expectations are big for Yuenchi. We’re hoping to create something that will live up to those expectations, delivering fun and excitement.”
The Campfire campaign is scheduled to start on February 10.
Sources: Oita Goshu Shimbun, Campfire Magazine, Gokuraku Jigoku Beppu, IT Media
Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese mayor responds to public after “spamusement park” onsen video reaches 1 million views -- Japan’s government reconsiders plan to change country’s iconic hot spring symbol after backlash -- Oita lures travelers with wonderful montage of synchronized hot spring bathing 【Video】© Japan Today