Wednesday, June 7, 2017

POP Places: Japanese Village & Deer Park

When DISNEYLAND opened its doors in 1955, Walt Disney changed the nation's idea of what constituted an ideal vacation. Previously, Americans would plan their vacations in which the destination was more of an afterthought. The bulk of the vacation would be spent exploring the various attractions along the way. When DISNEYLAND burst onto the scene, the destination became king. With millions of tourists pouring into Southern California, investors saw an opportunity to entice them away from the beaches and DISNEYLAND. Kitschy attractions sprang up throughout the south land. Attractions like the Japanese Village & Deer Garden.


The Japanese Village opened up just down the street from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, eager to attract some of the tourists who had ventured out west. Using folksy racism, dolphin shows and deer, the park welcomed thousands of guests over the years, though it wasn't enough.


Legend has it that the park was euthanizing deer to save money, serving up some of them as burgers in the restaurant. It was a quick decline for the attraction which closed its doors rather quickly. Today, the Village is largely an industrial office complex, though part of it became a city park.