Japanese Village and Deer Park

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Coordinates: 33°52′13″N 118°00′35″W / 33.8703361°N 118.009603°W / 33.8703361; -118.009603

The Japanese Village and Deer Park is a defunct amusement park formerly located in Buena Park, California.


The park first opened in 1967[1] at 6122 Knott Ave.[2][3] It was a Japanese-themed amusement park that featured shows and traditional Japanese buildings in an environment where deer roamed free (inspired by Nara Park). Its gate featured a torii.[4]

Two episodes of the CBS-TV detective drama Mannix, "Overkill" (1971, Season 4 episode 24) and "Enter Tami Okada" (1974, Season 8 episode 8) filmed extensive sequences at the park. Various exhibits and animals can be seen in both. The second featured a trainer riding two dolphins in tandem.

The park closed in 1975, five years after it was sold to Great Southwest Co., a subsidiary of Six Flags.[5] Facing mounting red ink, the owners began giving the deer lethal injections, claiming they had tuberculosis. Almost 200 were euthanized before authorities ended the practice.[6]

List of attractions[edit]

  • Koi ponds
  • Japanese Garden
  • Classic Tea House
  • The Dove Pavilion
  • Dolphin feeding
  • Home of the Fuji Folk
  • Pearl divers

Enchanted Village[edit]

After the park closed, a second amusement park, called Enchanted Village, opened on the site on June 18, 1976.[7] Animal trainer Ralph Helfer was a partner and served as chair. It was, for a time, home to Oliver the "human" chimp. Prior to its closure, its signature stunt and animal show was changed to incorporate themes and story lines from the 1977 film The Island of Dr. Moreau. Enchanted Village can be seen briefly in the 1977 film Curse of the Black Widow

The 32-acre (13 ha) park was South Pacific-Tiki themed and featured trained animal shows (Helfer's influence), a traditional-styled Polynesian show, and a few ride attractions.

The park closed in fall 1977.

List of attractions[edit]

  • Bridge of Enchantment
  • Lost Island Theater
  • Amazon Cliff Divers
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau Stunt Show
  • Wilderness Theater
  • Noah's Ark
  • The Gentle Jungle Theatre

Current use[edit]

The area has been developed into a business park and nothing remains of the ponds and locations of the both successive parks except George Bellis Park.


  1. ^ Meares, Hadley (2014-09-12). "Animal Behaviors: Japanese Village and Deer Park in Buena Park". KCET.org. Archived from the original on 2014-09-13.
  2. ^ Flyer of Japanese Village and Deer Park
  3. ^ Map of Japanese Village
  4. ^ Images from the park
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140913200048/http://www.kcet.org/socal/departures/columns/lost-landmarks/animal-behaviors-japanese-village-and-deer-park-in-buena-park.html
  6. ^ Orange County chronology
  7. ^ Article about opening of Enchanted Village