Mitsubishi to build theme park to rival Tokyo Disneyland on former US Navy base
Stars and Stripes September 20, 2023
TOKYO — The site of a former U.S. Navy communication installation south of Tokyo is slated to become a new theme park, the city of Yokohama announced recently.
Mitsubishi Estate Co., a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Group, plans to develop land that previously housed the Navy’s Kamiseya Communication Site into a theme park that hopes to eventually attract more than 15 million people annually, according to a Sep. 14 news release from the city’s website.
The park is scheduled to open in 2031.
U.S. Forces Japan returned the site in western Yokohama to the Japanese government in 2014 as part of a larger land return that included the former Fukaya Communication Site, Tomioka Storage Area and Negishi Dependent Housing Area.
The Yokohama city government selected Mitsubishi Estate, the only company to submit a plan for approximately 170 acres of the former installation, to run the project, according to the news release.
The theme park, which Mitsubishi has yet to publicly name, will feature Japanese culture and entertainment, such as anime, and employ the latest technology, the city said. With a projected size of 126 acres, the park would be about as large as Tokyo Disneyland across Tokyo Bay in Chiba prefecture.
Mitsubishi is setting aside the remaining land for additional projects. About 17 acres are reserved for a new train station and shopping area that would cater to the theme park’s visitors. A nature-themed shopping center would occupy another 16 acres. Adjacent to that will be a park that’s already slated to host the International Horticultural Expo in 2027.
Additional facilities, including hotels, may be built depending on the success of the theme park, which will “promote urban development while maintaining and increasing the number of visitors.”
The park hopes to attract 12 million people in its first year and gradually increase attendance to more than 15 million annually.
Japan, already home to dozens of similar attractions, in 2022 hosted three of the world’s most-visited theme parks, according to a June 13 report from the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.
Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea and Universal Studios Japan ranked Nos. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. With a combined attendance of 34.45 million people that year, the Japanese parks were only surpassed by Disneyland Park in California and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, according to the report.