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Beppu fulfills promise to build 'spamusement park' featuring spa roller coaster

A roller coaster with bathtub seats filled with bubble-bath and hot spring water is tested at the Beppu Rakuenchi amusement park in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, on July 5, 2017. (Mainichi)

BEPPU, Oita -- The municipal government here and other organizations are one step closer to opening viral "spamusement park" fusing this city's famous hot springs with amusement park attractions, with an event to be held at the end of the month.

Tests of attractions such as a "hot spring bubble roller coaster" with bathtub seats carried out by the municipal planning committee succeeded at the beginning of this month, and a "spamusement" event will be held at the Beppu Rakuenchi amusement park from July 29 to 31. The event will include a total of nine unique attractions, such as a hot spring merry-go-round also equipped with bathtub seats.

The project began as a promotional video for the city released online in November 2016. The video showing riders enjoying a bathtub roller coaster and other hot spring-inspired rides at Beppu Rakuenchi became a hot topic, and Beppu Mayor Yasuhiro Nagano promised to make the park a reality if the video received 1 million views. The video surpassed that figure in only three days.

The municipal government started collecting contributions in February to make some of the play rides featured in the video a reality. So far, it has raised over 75 million yen, and plans to create attractions such as hot spring water slide, as well as a duck race that visitors can watch from a footbath.

The hot spring bubble roller coaster goes for a test-run at the Beppu Rakuenchi amusement park in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, on July 5, 2017. (Mainichi)

The project got into slippery territory when it was discovered that the hot spring water in the bathtub cars on the roller coaster was too heavy and made it hard to engage the breaks. But after a series of test-runs, it was found that the problem could be solved by adding bubble bath solution to the hot spring water and having the ride run as a bubble bath.

Admission to the event at the end of the month is 8,000 yen per ticket, which includes the entrance of one child under elementary school age per adult. Tickets for July 29 and 30 are already sold-out. There are still roughly 900 tickets for July 31 available for purchase at the Beppu city hall tourism division. Tickets are being sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, and inquiries can be made to the division at 0977-21-1128 (in Japanese).

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