Hirakata Park (ひらかたパーク Hirakata Pāku) is an amusement park in Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, nicknamed "Hirapah". The park is managed by Keihan Leisure Service and is located on the Keihan line at Hirakata-kōen Station (枚方公園駅). It takes advantage of its hilly landscape to site 43 attractions on 160,000 square meters.
Hirakata Park is the oldest amusement park in Osaka, Japan. It opened in 1910, when Kikuningyō-ten, the "Chrysanthemum Figure Exhibition," was held near Keihan Hirakata Station (later renamed Hirakata-kōen Station).
In 1965, a public pool was built, which promoted swimming at Hirakata Park. Seven years later an ice rink was built to increase the park's attendance during the winter months. In 1988, the “Red Falcon" roller-coaster was built, followed by the construction of a Ferris wheel in 1991.
Around 2000, Hirakata Park's was touched by the general decline of the industry, resulting in the closure of many amusement parks in the Kinki region. This was caused by the ageing population, and also competition from Universal Studios Japan that was built in Osaka in 2001. Despite having debt, Hirakata Park managed to remain open. In April 2009, the park started using popular figures as promotion ambassadors under the name "Hirapā Nīsan". The following years, Hirakata Park grew in popularity and paid off its debt.
The first Hirapā Nīsan in April 2009 was Ryūichi Kosugi, a Japanese entertainer. He aimed to break the Guinness World Record for number of visitors. He retired in March 2013, and Junichi Okada, a Japanese TV performer, was elected as his successor in April 2013. Being born in Hirakata, he successfully boosted the popularity of the park, especially in Kantō and Kyūshū.
There are 45 attractions in the park. The main roller coasters are Elf, a wooden roller-coaster of 695.6 meters in length and a maximum speed of 58.1 kilometers, and the Red Falcon, a roller-coaster of approximately 1,300 meters in length and a maximum speed of 70 kilometers.
In April 5, 2014, the park also started with blindfolded rides on its attractions the Giant Drop Meteor, the Mokusei Coaster Elf (木製コースター エルフ) and Uncle Frodo no Korottorokko (アンクル･フロドのころっとろっこ).
Other play areas include swimming pools in the summer, skating rinks and Snow Land.
|List of attractions|
- Nihon saikono tēmapāku ōsaka Hirakatapākunomiryoku matome (Charms of the oldest amusement park, Hirakata Park in Osaka). (2014, March 5). Tabikore. Retrieved: http://tabicolle.jp/u/vorfeed/4ueswe5/
- Nihon saikono tēmapāku ōsaka Hirakatapākunomiryoku matome (Charms of the oldest amusement park, Hirakata Park in Osaka). (2014,March 5). Tabikore. Retrieved: http://tabicolle.jp/u/vorfeed/4ueswe5/
- Kōrigaoka syūhenno rezyasupotto(The place to enjoy various things near Korigaoka). (n.d.). COMMON CLUB. Retrieved: http://commonclub.jp/s-hirakata/7 [July 17, 2014]
- Hirapā nīsan ni Okada Junichi koka gatturi deta (Junichi Okada became “hirapā nīsan” and caused great effect). (2014, March 22). THE PAGE. Retrieved: http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140322-00000004-wordleaf-ent [July 20, 2014].
- Hirakata Park. (2014). Attraction. Retrieved:http://www.hirakatapark.co.jp/attractions/showlist/ [July 17, 2014]
- Hirakata Park. (2014). Mekakushi ride (Blindfolded ride). (2014). Retrieved: http://www.hirakatapark.co.jp/hirapar_niisan/mission01/index.html [July 17, 2014]
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