MAIBARA, Shiga -- The claymation series "Shaun the Sheep" is perhaps one of Britain's most successful cultural exports to Japan of recent decades. Now, however, you can visit the wide-eyed sheep and his friends in Japan at the new "Shaun the Sheep Farm Garden" here.
Visitors are able to enjoy life-size replicas of the farmhouse, barn and of course the sheep in the Shaun-ified area of Rosa & Berry Tawada, an English-style garden run by Merry Days Co. Company President Eriko Osawa aims to make the area a place families can enjoy, and she expects to welcome some 150,000 people through the gates per year.
The stop-motion animated TV series depicts the everyday life of the mischievous, fun-loving Shaun and his flock living on a small farm. Made by Britain's Aardman Animations, the series is broadcast globally. The park is the first permanent outdoor facility dedicated to Shaun the Sheep in Japan.
The theme park covers about 5,000 square meters on a small hill, where visitors can find a small, traditional English farmhouse and a barn where Shaun and his fellow sheep sleep at night. The farmer's living room and kitchen as well as the tin roof of the barn are true to the animation. Popular characters including the sheepdog Bitzer and the bespectacled farmer are also on hand.
Shaun the Sheep Farm Garden opened officially on March 31. Admission to Rosa & Berry Tawada, including the farm garden, is 1,000 yen for adults, 500 yen for 3-year-olds to children in elementary school, and free for those 2 and under. It is closed on Tuesdays.
For inquiries, please call Rosa & Berry Tawada at 0749-54-2323 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Kazuo Wakamoto, Nagahama Local Bureau)