Thursday, June 03, 2010

Japanese Village and Deer Park, October 1969 - Part Uno

I have a small group of nice photos from the old Japanese Village and Deer Park ("JV" for short), which was located on Knott Avenue in Buena Park, California. JV was a peaceful little park, no dark rides, roller coasters or any other rides in the early days.

According to a pamphlet, On a business trip to Japan, Allen Parkinson, founder and director of Movieland Wax Museum, filled a desire of many years when he visited the world-famous deer park in Nara. As he strolled the ground he began to think of the great fun an authentic Japanese Deer Park would give the people of America. He also thought about werewolves, but that's another story.

Here's a great shot of the entrance. It required some major cleanup, but it was worth it!

There would be the sacred Sika deer, of course - more than 200 of them. Plus Japanese gardens, unique gift shops, a tea house, plus outstanding objects d' art representative of the rich Japanese culture.

Some of you may recognize this redhead, we've seen her at Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland. Here she is again, hangin' with Buddha.

I think you get a pretty good idea of what a lovely place JV was, a place where you could feed colorful carp, pet deer, watch seals frolic, and enjoy the beauty of the ponds and gardens.

I'll have more Japanese Village photos in the future!


Chiana_Chat said...

Oh cool! Please do. I have a real yin (or is it yang or neither?) for Traditional Japanese and would have loved visiting this place. I also wish Disney had done more with Epcot's Japan Pavilion. Strange with "all that land to grow!" most of the place seems to have totally stagnated instead. Oh well that's another subject. Back to JV.

Seeing these pictures is showing that it was better than I would have hoped from the descriptions I had read before. And oh dear the deer are cute. Gladys there sure looks delighted! Your pics are the best I can probably get to being there so be assured they're appreciated. :)

Matt said...

I have a lot of fond memories of the Japanese Deer Park, I did always think it odd that it was affiliated with the wax museum.

TokyoMagic! said...

I have fond memories of this park as well. In fact, I've been trying to put together a JV post, but I don't have a lot of stuff to post. I just went by the old site on Sunday on my way to DL and took pics of what the area looks like today. I'll try and get those posted soon along with the few little souvenirs I have.

I also would have liked to see EPCOT do more with their Japanese pavilion. They were supposed to have gotten "Meet The World," the Audio-animatronic show that Tokyo Disneyland had. I wish that hadn't fallen through!

Andrew said...

This looks like a wonderful park that I would have loved to have explored! Thanks for restoring and sharing the shots.

Nancy said...

what a beautiful place...i would put this in MY back yard. my daughter loves the Japanese culture and ill have to be sure she reads about this

thanks for these! :-)

Anonymous said...

Went there once as a kid, it was nice. There were "things" in that sawdust that stuck to your shoes, though.

The buddha looks exactly like a sculpture in the San Francisco Tea Garden. Maybe both are a replica of the same original?


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Wow - these are great, the last one is stunning, it looks like a commercial photo. Sadly I've never be to JV, but I got close with these pics! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The area where the Japanese park was located is now a housing tract.

Just a tidbit of trivia.

allyn fratkin said...

i have very fond memories of japanese deer park and i thank you for this post (and your blog in general).

but the reason i'm writing is that i think the buddha in the photo now resides in the japanese garden in golden gate park in san francisco. i was just there not too long ago and the halo around buddha's head looked all too familiar. there are lots of photos online of the golden gate park buddha and in every photo it looks exactly the same. check it out.

allyn fratkin said...

well, according to this page the buddha was presented to the golden gate park tea garden in 1949. uncanny resemblance.

Major Pepperidge said...

Allyn, that is an interesting link. It says that the statue was presented by "S. & G. Gump Company"... "Gumps" is a store that is still in San Francisco, and I know that they specialized in furniture, crafts and decorations from Asia (my grandmother used to get catalogs in the mail from Gumps).

Perhaps both Buddhas come from the same artisan in Japan, they really are nearly identical.