About four years ago there was a brief period of time in which there were three abandoned New Zealand themed parks in Japan; in Kagawa, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi – and to the best of my knowledge I am the only urban explorer to visit them all. One of them even twice…
There are many reasons to revisit abandoned places. At some I run out of time, so I come back to see more. At some mother nature prevents a full exploration with lavish vegetation in summer or snow in winter. Some I fell in love with and want to enjoy again. And then there are those nearby places I shoot several times in different seasons just because they are there and I have nothing better to do. The *Shikoku New Zealand Village* (in Kagawa prefecture) though I revisited for several reasons, despite the fact that I had been there just half a year prior: Different seasons (March vs. September), there was construction machinery parked nearby during my first visit, during summer I bought a toy drone that I wanted to try at a suitable place, and my friend Chris from New Zealand was interested in going – so we went.
Exploring a location a second time is equally different as exploring it with a friend. Exploring the Shikoku New Zealand Village a second time with a friend almost made me feel like coming home, showing him my old neighbourhood. (If you haven’t read the *article about my original exploration*, I recommend doing it now as I won’t repeat certain information in this article.) This time we entered straight away without scouting the perimeter, heading through a park like area straight to the barn – which was actually accessible this time. And people say there is no vandalism in Japan… Anyway, while I was still taking pictures inside, Chris headed towards the back of the barn where he found something I had overlooked the first time – a small museum like the one at the *Yamaguchi version* right next to what I assume was the sheep show; including information about different kinds of breeds. One of them was called “Romney”, which probably isn’t that funny anymore now, but 3.5 years ago, at the time of my visit, good old Mitt was running for president of the United States, so this made me chuckle at least a little bit.
From the small auditorium we continued to the little kart track and then deeper into the park, to the souvenir shop / restaurant called Oakland, with the landslide in front of it. (If you read the previous article, you know what I mean!) And to my total surprise… the landslide was gone! Right in front of the building was a brand-new road with a freshly secured slope, including a low fence. Now, why on earth would anybody repair a road at an abandoned themed park? We had no idea, so we continued to explore the park. Well, Chris explored, I just took some more pictures of the same old… and a video walkthrough of the Oakland House, which was accessible this time, too. Speaking of videos: Thanks to the nearby model plane airport I was able to fly my toy drone without making much extra noise, but the combination of me being a horrible pilot and the weather being overcast by the time I started filming created some barely watchable videos of which I chose the least eyesore one. It doesn’t have sound for obvious reasons… and the video is a bit choppy. But hey, what do you expect from a cheap five year told tech toy in this day and age? (Drones in general are not really urbex compatible, even modern ones with good or optional cameras – indoors they are hard to navigate and the rotors blow everything up / away, outdoors they tend to catch the attention of people passing by…)
And that’s pretty much it. Chris and I had a good time exploring the Shikoku New Zealand Village (again), and I was prepared to go back for a third round, but that never happened. Recent updates of the GoogleMaps satellite view though show that the construction work on the premises continued. All buildings except for the entrance and the Oakland House have been demolished, the pond has been drained, lots of vegetation has been removed, the ground levelled – the Shikoku New Zealand Village now is a huge solar farm… (And so is the nearby model plane airport!)
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