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Monday, August 20, 2018

Exploring Japan Vol. 11 - Namco Namja Town's Haunted Funhouse!

Last week we looked into the weird and wonderful (but mostly weird) experience that is Sanrio Puroland.  Indoor theme parks are something that Japan does very well.  

Case in point, let’s take a visit to Namco Namja Town.  It’s kind of like going to Boomers if Boomers were actually well laid out, well maintained, had crazy foods and was actually fun to go to.

So yeah, it’s nothing like Boomers.

Namja Town is made up of three “towns” according to their website, but as a foreigner who has limited understanding of what I’m seeing, the difference between the three wasn’t super distinct.  I just thought it was one big funhouse with a great  food court.

You pay an admission to get in (500 yen = a little less than $5.00 when we were there).  That pays for you to wander around and check out everything, however there are games and additional motion simulator rides and attractions you’ll pay extra for.  There is a pass you can buy that allows you to do everything but we were just there for one reason:  crazy gelato.

See, many people come to Namja Town simply for the food.  There is a large food court that specializes in gyoza (Japanese dumplings).  Next to that is an alley filled with desserts including themed pastries, soft serve ice cream and a gelato bar with 50 flavors.  What’s so special about this gelato?

Have you ever had tomato bisque gelato?  How about Cabernet Sauvignon, blue salt, tamago, five grain rice, or mugwort & red bean?  Well, here’s your chance.  You can buy a six flavor taster set for about $7.00 and it’s perfect for sharing.

Starting at the upper left and going clockwise, this was cheese, salt, banana, apple, basil and finally tomato.  My daughter absolutely hates the flavor of tomato, but felt obligated to try it.  Here was her reaction.

Why?  Because it tasted exactly like a tomato.  In fact, everything tasted exactly as described.  We got another taster with six more flavors after that and then called it quits.  That brought us to the funhouse portion of Namja Town.  The park has a mascot (as it seems every business in Japan does) named Najavu.  

Najavu is a cat and even as a foreigner, I could tell from her look that she was up to no good.  

As you enter this gate, you enter an interactive Japanese haunted house that was one of the coolest things we did while visiting.

There are doors that bang and slam as you walk past. 

Tombstones that spin around to reveal spirits.

Witches that read you fortunes before bursting into flames and ghosts that appear on the walls out of nowhere.

Long-nosed Tengu (Japanese goblins) who will cut your hand off if you reach in to grab their food.

And much, much more.  The motion simulator rides and games are in this part of the funhouse and include zombie hunts and ghostly encounters.

If I could decorate my house for Halloween with no expense spared, it would look a lot like this place and I’d be begging my wife to let me keep it all up through November.  She’s pretty cool about that stuff so I’m sure she’d agree.

Namja Town is located in the Sunshine City Mall in Ikebukuro.  It’s very easy to get to by train and if you’re a fan of Namco’s anime lineup, you can visit J-Town in the same mall.  It’s another indoor amusement park featuring rides and games based on their most popular animes.

If you do go though, be sure to save room for the gelato place and try some gyoza.  You won’t be sorry.

Next time, we'll visit an aquarium with a dolphin show that's part Sea World and part Cirque De Soliel!

See you then!

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