Japanese City May Be Building a Hot Tub Amusement Park

December 9, 2016 5:00 am
Japan's Hot Tub Amusement Park
People are buried to their neck in sand bath at Beppu Seafront Sand Spa in December 2007 in Beppu, Oita, Japan. Customers are buried in naturally heated hot sand, and the heated sand encourages perspiration (Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)


The last time you pretend-traveled with us to Japan, it was to hear about a 1970s L.A.-themed magazine. Yes, the Japanese just do crazy a little better than the rest of the world, and with each new story we read, we can’t help but immediately think, “This is the most insane thing we’ve ever heard of.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture, which is best known for its onsen or hot springs, recently launched a viral video campaign for what it called a “spamusement park.” In short, it would be a regular theme park like Six Flags or Hershey Park—with rollercoasters, merry-go-rounds, and Ferris wheels—with one major difference: some folks would be donning towels and spa gear. Why? Because the rides’ seats would not be cold, uncomfortable benches but actual individual hot tubs. (It’s not entirely clear from the video how the people would be strapped in, but given Japan’s penchant for tech, we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt.)

Now, of course, there’s a catch here: The video was simply a concept. But its makers boasted that if it got one million views on YouTube, the park would become a reality. “We weren’t expecting this many views, but we sure are happy,” Michitaka Kubota, a spokesman from Beppu’s tourist department, told The Japan Times. Kubota went on to say, “It’s only an image. We are still discussing safety issues, for example, whether we could actually run hot water inside a roller coaster….But the rides will be something fun.”

According to the Times, Beppu has the world’s largest confluence of spa-bath-temperature-appropriate spring water, naturally producing some 22,000 gallons of the stuff per minute. Hence their interest in the amusement park concept.

We’ll believe it when we see it. Or bathe in it. Until then, read the full Japan Times story here and watch the video below.

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