As Space World becomes a part of the past, the park’s remains are starting to look like part of an apocalyptic future.


Between Tokyo Disney Resort’s massive upcoming expansion and Universal Studios Japan’s continuing collaborations with Japanese anime and video game franchises such as Final Fantasy, you might think we’re in an across-the-board boom period for amusement parks in Japan. That’s not the case, though, as smaller parks struggle to stay afloat without high-profile mascots to help draw in visitors.

Many of these troubled parks trace their roots to the aggressive over-investment of Japan’s Bubble Economy, including Space World, which opened in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1990. On January 1 of this year, the park closed down for good, but a 240,000-square meter (2.58 million-square foot) facility doesn’t just disappear overnight, and the gradual dismantling of the park has shifted Space World’s atmosphere from near-future wonderland to far-future dystopia.

Demolition has recently begun in earnest for the park’s Ferris wheel, the 100-meter (33-foot) tall Space Eye. Technicians are starting at the top and working their way down, and the half-removed attraction now looks like something out of Square Enix’s NieR: Automata video game’s amusement park area, or maybe Pixar’s WALL-E.

▼ The Space Eye, back when it was still whole.

In addition to its fractured Ferris wheel, the darkness of Space World’s remains make for a startlingly dark patch in the nighttime view of surrounding Kitakyushu City.

The eerie visuals make for an odd contrast with the site of so many happy memories for visitors over the past 28 years, but are also kind of fitting for the amusement park that once invited guests to ice skate above the frozen carcasses of over 5,000 fish and other aquatic creatures.

Source: Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@darkshinkurou