This Creepy Abandoned Amusement Park Looks Like The Real-Life Westworld

Westworld is the ultimate escapist HBO show, both for the audience that watches it and the fictional attendees who frequent the park. Surprisingly, there is a real-life Westworld in Japan. Unfortunately, it's been closed for over a decade.

Western Village was a Wild West-themed amusement park that opened in Japan in 1975. And just like in Westworld, Western Village was populated with animatronic cowboys and townspeople. That alone is a bit odd, but it's not the creepy part. Western Village closed in 2007, but instead of getting torn down, it was simply abandoned. Much of the park remains intact and accessible to curious visitors. 

There's something inherently eerie about an abandoned amusement park. The “Land of Oz” park in North Carolina and the Dreamland park in Japan serve as perfect examples of unnerving theme parks. Regardless, the concept of the abandoned Western Village is brilliant, and at times, it can make you feel like you're actually in the Old West. 

  • Realistic Animatronics Are Strewn Throughout The Park

    Realistic Animatronics Are Strewn Throughout The Park
    Video: YouTube

    Much like Disneyland, Western Village is filled with animatronics. Since the park closed in 2007, though, deserted animatronic people are still strewn throughout the abandoned premises. Robotic cowboys, gamblers, and more exist in and around the buildings. They appear somewhat realistic and represent the 'uncanny valley' - an unsettling reaction humans experience when an android looks similar to a human being.

    Considering these robots are essentially decommissioned, this ghost town feels all the more haunted. 

  • There's An Animatronic John Wayne At The Park Entrance

    There's An Animatronic John Wayne At The Park Entrance
    Video: YouTube

    Western Village didn't just make animatronics of generic cowboys and saloon owners. Right at the park entrance lies an animatronic re-creation of John Wayne. He must have served as the attraction's greeter, an interesting and rough-around-the-edges choice to welcome young children to the sprawling theme park.

  • The Mount Rushmore Replica Is Filled With Teddy Bears

    The Mount Rushmore Replica Is Filled With Teddy Bears
    Photo: John S Lander/Contributor / LightRocket/Getty Images

    The expensive Mount Rushmore replica is hollow, allowing patrons to walk around and explore inside the presidents' faces. And if you thought a massive replica of Mount Rushmore was a bit insane for an amusement park, the first floor of the monument's interior is filled with Teddy Bears. Specifically, the bears are dressed up and placed in different scenarios - one bear is pushing a wheelbarrow, one's posed next to a classic car, and one's even dressed as Uncle Sam.

    They have no real relation to the Old West, making it an odd (and disturbing) decorative choice. 

  • The Park Has Its Own Mount Rushmore

    The Park Has Its Own Mount Rushmore
    Photo: Jordy Meow / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Western Village has its own version of Mount Rushmore, but it can hardly be called a mini-Rushmore. At 1/3 the size of the original, it's still massive, not to mention expensive. Built in 1995, it cost $27 million to create. But, as writer Michael John Grist points out, Mount Rushmore doesn't fit the cowboy/Wild West theme of the rest of the park.

    The park has been abandoned for over a decade, but the fake Rushmore remains, visible even from outside the premises. For those brave enough to venture towards the "mockument," there's also a stage underneath the four busts, perhaps for a showcase akin to Disney's Hall of Presidents. 

  • There's A Cowboy Haunted House

    What's creepier than an abandoned amusement park? A disused haunted house within an abandoned amusement park. Here you'll find skeleton cowboys, severed hands placed in cages, a stone woman inside a stone bathtub (complete with bubbles), and an evil skeleton dentist - perhaps the most terrifying monster of all.

    Without the crowd of theme park attendees, it's hard not to wonder if these defunct androids might suddenly spring to life.

  • The Park Has A Real Church Imported From California

    The park is full of buildings that look like they belong in the Wild West, but most are merely hollow replicas. There's a fake hotel, fake sheriff's office, fake bank, and more. One of the only "real" buildings in the park is a church.

    It's surprising enough there's a genuine church on the property, but what's more confounding is it was imported from California. While it's unclear if it was a church from an actual Old West town, it does give the park an extra dose of realism.