Friday, April 27, 2007

Japanese Village & Deer Park, April 1970

I have lots of fond memories of the "Japanese Village and Deer Park" in Buena Park. It was a great way to spend a few ranked just above the Wax Museum, "Planes of Fame, Cars of Stars", and the Alligator Farm.

I can't find much information about this park on the internet. When did it open? I'm not sure, although it was perhaps the mid-1960's. When did it close? Apparently it was purchased by Six Flags in 1970's, and the name changed to "Enchanted Village" (with scary costumed characters called "Fuji Folk"). The park changed from a quiet place with petting zoos and koi ponds to more of a theme park. There was a tiger arena, "Tokyo Car Ride", shooting gallery, "pearl lagoon theatre", and according to one map there was even something called "adult gaming area" (your guess is as good as mine).

I have read that Steven Segal (one of America's greatest actors) got his start in his late teens performing daily karate demonstrations. I saw some of those shows as a kid (don't know if Mr. Segal was there), and still remember the loud "KRAK!" as one guy hit another one in the stomach repeatedly. Eventually even that couldn't lure tourists, and the lovely Japanese Gardens closed forever.

Do you think that this building shown below is a restaurant? There appears to be people sitting at tables.

There's nothing like a good old-fashioned seal show! They can toot horns and catch rings and balance stuff on their noses. Wait a minute, I can do all those things! Those seals aren't so smart after all. What most people don't know is that the first personal computer was designed by a seal in the 70's.

Now this is more like it! Seals, shmeals!! Guess this was a dolphin show as well. This lovely woman helped make the show more interesting for the gentlemen in the audience.

I think that "Dolphin Skiing" should be an Olympic event! Or throw a few man-eating sharks into the pool as well, and put this in the X Games.


Matterhorn1959 said...

Major- the first image is of the tea house they had at the park. I remember going a few times. My strongest memories are of the bear show.

Gavin Elster said...

I remember that place. They had a huge deer population. If I recall correctly part of its demise was blamed on the deer getting anthrax. (no joke) All the deer had to be distroyed. A few month later they admitted there was nothing wrong with the deer they just could not suport them anymore. They just simply killed the deer.

The fuji people... Holy cow I didn't recall them until this post. They were creepy.
JV / EV was a stones throw off the 5 freeway.

Merlinsguy said...

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Unknown said...

I found your entry on Japanese Village because I starting surfing for park info from Buena Park in the 70's

OT: Today at work in NYC, I was listening to a radio show on America's playgrounds and was reminiscing about "Construction Park" that was behind the Buena Park Community Center on Knott Avenue a mile south of JVDP. Anyone else remember it?

Back on JVDP, I went there alot (at least 1 per summer for years - nature lover then, biologist now).

I still have a box of stick matches in their original cellophane from JVDP!

Take care,