Nitori donation sparks "Redevelopment of a Dream". Former Otamoi Amusement Park site

“Otamoi Amusement Park” in the city of Otaru was once famous as one of the leading leisure facilities in Hokkaido some 80 years ago. On February 26, furniture and interior accessory manufacturer and retailer Nitori (Sapporo) donated inspection expense aid of 50 million yen to assist in plans to redevelop the remains of that area. The recipient was the Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is currently investigating development possibilities. This donation set in motion the “Dream Project” (according to a business community source), which has surfaced repeatedly only to fizzle away.

Construction of Otamoi Amusement Park started in 1931 along Otaru’s Otamoi Beach, which faces the Sea of Japan. It was a popular resort area combining a host of exciting locations including the upscale Japanese style restaurant Ryugu Kaku built atop a sheer cliff, an entertainment hall, and the beach area. In 1952, Ryugu Kaku was destroyed by a fire. Afterwards, the entire area was effectively shut down. Plans to redevelop the site arose three times after this. But in each instance, the plans dissolved due to an inability to ensure factors such as profitability.

The biggest challenge is ensuring safety. The approximately 500 meter promenade leading to Ryugu Kaku has been closed off since 2006, as there is a risk of collapse. Building expenses for reconstruction are projected to be large. However, at the donation presentation ceremony at Otaru City Hall on February 26, Nitori Holdings Chairman Nitori Akio said, “Opening the promenade is the most important part of the project. I feel that it is one of the most spectacular scenic locations in Japan.”

Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already installed a special taskforce, and will start discussions in March with a combination of members including city government personnel and experts. It aims to commence a site inspection after the winter snow thaws. Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Yamamoto Hideaki said, “We want to work hard to increase the attractiveness of nature-tourism in Otaru and lead to an increase in tourists.”

Nitori Holdings Chairman Nitori Akio (left), who donated inspection expense aid of 50 million yen to the Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Otamoi Amusement Park site redevelopment project, and Chamber of Commerce President Yamamoto Hideaki (right)

Location

Former Otamoi Amusement Park site

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