Very Quiet Theme Park on Miyako-jima and Mr. Taira

Very Quiet Theme Park on Miyako-jima and Mr. Taira
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The German castle in the theme park

[ Apr.2019 ] I continue talking about our taxi tour on Miyako-jima, one of the islands in Okinawa prefecture in Japan.

The next place we visited was a theme park called “Ueno German Cultural Village”.

The first thing we saw was the European style castle, which did not look appropriate here.

Apparently, this is modelled after a real castle in Rhineland-Palatinate in the south west of Germany, called Marksburg .

Here, this building is called the Museum of Philanthropy and one of the exhibits is a part of the Berlin Wall.

But why is it here?

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Very quiet theme park

In 1873, a German merchant ship grounded offshore and the islanders helped the seamen with their small boats.

Those seamen were nursed by the islanders and after about one month, they went back to Germany.

When the then German Emperor, William I, heard about this incident, he was very moved and sent a monument to Miyako-jima.

More than 100 years later in 1987, the Ueno village of Miyako-jima started planning to build this theme park.

It was the time of an economic bubble in Japan and they made many theme parks like this all over the country.

This German Cultural Village opened in 1996.

More than 20 years has passed since then and the theme park boom has gone, so it was very quiet when we were there.

It seemed that some parts were closed.

We walked around the part which was free and looked for the rock with the heart shaped hole which was supposed to be there, but we could not find it.

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Wonderful scene of Higashi-Hennazaki

By the way, there is a restaurant with good beer within the site, apparently.

We went back to the car and had a fairly long drive.

The next destination was Higashi-hennazaki, a narrow peninsula at the southeast end of Miyako-jima.

First, our driver parked at the beginning of the peninsula to show us the wonderful view.

It was a fascinating scene, with the round rocks scattered in the beautiful sea.

We saw some white Easter Lilies, which reminded me of the announcement on the aeroplane the day before, saying that it was a good season to see them.

By the way, our driver on the day was called Mr. Taira.

Usually, when we have a sightseeing taxi, the driver tends to be talkative and gives us a lot of information, but Mr. Taira did not seem used to being a guide and was very quiet.

But on this occasion, he came out of the car and took some photos for us.

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Easter Lily at Higashi Hennazaki

I pointed out to him that the Kanji (Chinese character) of his surname is the same this island’s main town, then he told me that his name is Taira, while the town is called Hirara.

He said “Taira is one of the top three surnames on Miyako-jima”.

The administrative ward of Miyako-jima is City of Miyako-jima now, but it used to be Taira City, according to him.

His family has always lived here from generation to generation.

He mumbled “I tried to live on the mainland once, but returned here as I prefer it here”.