NIKKO, Tochigi -- Tobu World Square, an architectural museum with authentic miniature reproductions of 102 world-famous structures here north of Tokyo, is gaining in popularity among tourists including foreigners who are drawn to the attraction to take creative photos to post on social networking services (SNS).
Visitors to the facility, which opened in April 1993, can feel like Lemuel Gulliver and tower their way through Japanese, American, Asian, Egyptian and European themed zones at the site spread over about 87,000 square meters. Among the structures are the Japanese Diet Building, Tokyo Skytree and JR Tokyo Station in the Modern Japan Zone as well as the British Parliament, Eiffel Tower in France and the Sagrada Familia in Spain in the Europe Zone.
Recently, numerous foreign tourists from Asia such as China and Taiwan have been visiting the theme park. Many visitors take photographs from different angles to give a unique perspective. They eagerly try to support the Leaning Tower of Pisa and kiss the Sphynx in Egypt so as to post photogenic pictures on SNS such as Instagram, according to the facility.
Aiko Otsuka, who is in charge of public relations at the facility, commented, "It seems visitors are developing a conventional style to enjoy strolling through the small world."
The facility is offering new services for the increasing number of foreign tourists such as prayer rooms equipped with a place to wash, while the Japanese restaurant Heian provides a pork-free and non-alcohol menu for Muslims.
The Tobu World Square Station was newly opened on the Tobu Kinugawa Line in July 2017 and the entrance is a mere 1-minute walk from the station. A tourist train hauled by a steam locomotive stops at the station.
For more information, check the facility's English website at: http://www.tobuws.co.jp/en/
(Japanese original by Makoto Hananoi, Nikko Local Bureau)