Kyushu amusement park will also have “artificial intelligence duck races.”
It’s been roughly five months since the city of Beppu, in Oita Prefecture on Japan’s southwest island of Kyushu, got the world’s attention with its concept video for a hot spring theme park. But again that was only a concept video. Shot at a preexisting amusement park, there was no guarantee that the scenes it showed, such as one with a merry-go-round in which guests sit in revolving onsen (hot spring) baths, would be part of the actual park when it is built.
However, we now know that at least some of what we saw in the video will be part of the finished park. The crowdfunding campaign for Uenchi, as the park has been officially named, just finished its two-month run, utterly smashing its goal of 10 million yen by raising 33,966,585 yen (approximately US$306,000) from 3,638 backers. By reaching its 30 million-yen stretch goals, the organizers have pledged that Uenchi’s attractions will include:
● An onsen marry-go-round
● An onsen water slide
● A special-blend onsen bath
● A train equipped with hot spring water cannons
● Background music from Japanese DJ Towa Tei
● Duck race performances facilitated by artificial intelligence technology
Granted, those last two don’t have anything at all to do with Japan’s hot spring traditions, but we have to admit, AI duck races certainly grabbed our attention.
Since the park’s construction isn’t being financed only through crowdfunding, there are likely more rides and attractions still in the design stages. Hopefully that means the onsen roller coaster, funicular, and double Ferris-wheel are part of the plans for Uenchi’s as-yet-undetermined opening date.