It’s unlikely that you may have heard of this Holland-inspired theme park in Japan. It gets only 3% international tourists every year, but is highly popular with the Japanese who want a slice of Europe in their homeland. By Apeksha Bhateja
In an otherwise isolated Japan, Nagasaki had interactions with the Europeans since the 16th century. The first to arrive were Portuguese traders, who were later expelled and Dutch monopolised the island in the 17th century. This is when Christianity flourished and Dutch settled on the artificial island of Dejima. The port was Japan’s window to the world for years.
Built on March 25, 1992 in Sasebo city of Nagasaki prefecture, Huis Ten Bosch recreates a 17th-century Dutch city, entirely European with bricks brought from the Netherlands, a network of canals, baroque-style churches, and a replica of the palace in the Netherlands it is named after. It celebrates the European connection in its own way and if not for the Japanese boards here (or the courtesy Japanese hospitality), you wouldn’t know that you’re in an Asian city.
Things to do in Huis Ten Bosch
Huis Ten Bosch Palace: The replica of the palace of the Queen of the Netherlands was built with the permission of the royal family. It’s a great spot for weddings and exhibitions. This year until September, it will host Japan’s largest lily festival in front of the palace with over 300 varieties of the flower. You’ll also find a beautiful exhibit at the Amsterdam Square.
Henn Na Hotel: The two-year-old hotel has 3% human staff and the rest are robots. The front desk has two dinosaurs and a lady robot behind the desk. A miniature robot orchestra plays music everyday, porter robots takes your luggage to the room, and a robot in room talks to you and does everything you ask, from switching on the lights to telling you the whether (more animated voice in Japanese, while the English is quite one-toned). There are 144 rooms here (with face recognition system) and a restaurant. Yen 9,000 per person per night.
Water Park on the Sea: Huis Ten Bosch features a Ferris Wheel, a haunted house, and a dinosaur forest, among many other activities. However, the highlight is the water kingdom with inflatable slides, Japan’s longest slide at 180metres, and swimming pools for kids and adults.The park is home to many hotels and restaurants and also hosts concerts and events such as the fireworks competition through the year.