In modern times, when we think or hear about major theme parks, what often comes to mind are successful franchises like Disneyland and Disneyworld, Universal Theme Parks, SeaWorld or Six Flags.
Successful international theme park operations include Merlin Entertainment Group in the United Kingdom and OCT Parks in China.
But a growing independent group of specialized theme parks in Japan are catching the attention of not only corporate officers in an Asian, business-oriented society but also a food-wise general public that is flocking out of densely-populated urban areas to the Japanese countryside in search of entertainment, fresh food and the feel of the great outdoors.
You won’t find roller coasters or carnival midways, but visitors are treated to a full menu of restaurants, good food, and direct sales shops for agricultural products (with many featuring processing facilities where families learn how their food moves from field to factory and how it is distributed). Many visitors opt to get their hands dirty by volunteering a few hours in the field.
The rapidly growing number of agricultural theme parks in Japan offers diversity from one park to the next. Some reportedly offer musical entertainment, cultural experiences like animal exhibits or petting zoos; a few even offer tours of farmland and other types of entertainment designed for all ages.
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Farm support groups report that interest in these types of theme parks is growing rapidly, many visitors returning often to purchase fresh foods. Some are even supported by or operated by corporate involvement or partnerships.