Asakusa Hanayashiki shooting range

Asakusa Hanayashiki: Oldest Amusement Park in Japan

Asakusa Hanayashiki (浅草花やしき) first opened as a flower park in Tokyo in 1853, when US Navy Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry visited Japan in the latter part of the Edo period (1603-1867). Nowadays, Asakusa Hanayashiki is known to be the oldest amusement park in Japan. It houses 20 types of attractions and eateries. It also has a wide selection of souvenir shops and other stores.

Asakusa Hanayashiki tower

The Japanese term “hanayashiki” refers originally to public flower gardens (“hana” means “flower”). The transformation of the hanayashi from a flower garden to an amusement park began in the Meiji Period (1868-1912). It was fully developed between 1887-1896 by Yamamoto Kinzo, who was a lumber dealer and the manager of the park.

Various structures and facilities contributed to the park’s rise in popularity. In 1888, a pavilion 5 stories high, called “Ozankaku” was considered a skyscraper by the public and was a main attraction.

Asakusa Hanayashiki tower.

Other must-see attractions were the diorama galleries (created in 1889) which depicted various historical scenes, a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, theatres for movies and plays, exotic animals, and dolls made of chrysanthemum flowers.

In 1923, during the Great Kanto earthquake, most of these structures collapsed and the amusement park was in shambles.

Fortunately, the park was rebuilt and is currently fully functioning. It is operated by Hanayashiki Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. It still draws in a good number of customers every year and has several thrilling modern rides such as the DISK’O and the Space Shot. It also operates the oldest roller coaster in Japan, and a Japanese-style haunted house.

Check out this video of Asakusa Hanayashiki: