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Asakusa Hanayashiki (浅草花やしき?) is an amusement park in Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo that is operated by Hanayashiki Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Namco. Inaugurated in 1853, it is claimed to be the oldest amusement park in Japan. However, as it was demolished once due to World War II and rebuilt in 1947, it is not the oldest in operation. It is also claimed to have the oldest roller coaster in Japan. One of the unofficial mascots of the park is the Panda Car (パンダカー?).

HistoryEdit

In 1853, the botanical garden "Hanayashiki" (花屋敷? lit. "Flower Estate") was opened, having a site area of approximately 80,000 m². In the Edo period, this area was used as a place for recreation and relaxation. A swing was the only plaything.

When entering the Meiji Era, Hanayashiki was designated as the fifth district of Asakusa along with Okuyama area. However, the site was reduced in 1885 due to a deal done with a timber trader that took over management of the premises.

At one point it started exhibiting animals such as bears and tigers, building a five-story landmark that had various exhibits. As Asakusa became a fashionable place, this trend became stronger, gradually adding more features such as exhibiting more animals and installing amusement equipments. It became a popular zoo, but many of the animals were killed during the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake and its area was reduced during World War II. In 1935 the remaining animals were sold to the Sendai Yagiyama Zoological Park and the park was closed.

In 1939, the park was bought by Juraku and reopened as an amusement park. In 1941, "Asakusa Hanayashiki" was established as a joint stock company to manage the park. A playground facility was established again with a theater and movie theater, but in 1942 it was demolished by a forced evacuation.

Immediately after World War II, although the site had been illegally occupied, in 1946 the restoration of leasehold rights to the joint-stock company Asakusa Hana Yashiki was approved by the Tokyo government. The illegal occupancy continued, but a joint was done to recover the site and TOGO was commissioned for the equipment. In 1947 it was reopened as the amusement park Asakusa Hanayashiki (浅草花屋敷?). Two years later it was renamed as Asakusa Hanayashiki (浅草花やしき?).

In 1953 attractions such as roller coasters began to appear, and also a botanical garden. The park didn't had entrance fees for a long time, only having fees for each facility. However, laborers from the nearby off-track betting ticket office (which later became WINS Asakusa) occupied the park, and because they were often in a state of drunkenness, the atmosphere from the park was disturbed, becoming a management problem. In 1985 the park began taking entrance fees.

In 2004, TOGO alleged the commencement of company reorganization procedures, and Asakusa's local Bandai Group company began to give support, its subsidiary Banpresto doing business with Hanayashiki.

In 2002, Shochiku Cinema Enterprise changed its business style, and later all the movie theaters from Hanayashiki were closed down in 2006.

In 2005 the Hanayashiki Actors Studio was established. In 2007 the big attraction "DISK-O" was opened. Along with the restructuring of Banpresto, the direct parent company was transferred to Namco in 2008.

In 2016, one of Hanayashiki's main attractions, the 56 years old Bee Tower, was closed.

External linksEdit

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