Godzilla: King of Kurihama Flower World
Yokosuka City is famous for being the first location where curry was introduced to Japan, it is also the former home of Imperial Navy Veteran Mr. Godzilla Haruo Nakajima and hometown to hide the late great cyber-rock guitarist from X Japan. In Kurihama, Commodore Matthew Perry and his fleet of Black Ships forced the country to open its borders in 1853, later becoming the birth site of the Empire of Japan. The town home base to the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet was later destroyed on film in 1975’s TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA, directed by Ishiro Honda to close out the Showa era.
Going back to the egg in 1954, GODZILLA emerged from the sea just off Tatarahama at Kannonzaki in Yokosuka on the big screen. Four years later in the flesh Godzilla was constructed as a concrete slide on Tatarahama beach for kids and families to enjoy. The 1958 slide a permanent fixture on the shoreline off Tokyo Bay was pounded by the elements. It fell into such disrepair that by 1973 it unfortunately had to be demolished.
The Tatarahama area became what is known as Kannonzaki Prefectural Park with its famous lighthouse and beachside view of the bay. The area greatly changed, but the memory of the slide remained on the minds of the original and newer Godzilla Generation. In 1996, a grass roots effort to rekindle the first Kaiju Boom spearheaded by members of the Yokosuka Junior Chamber of Commerce initiated “Project G” who sought to bring the Godzilla Slide back to town.
The group collected signatures and donations from over 100,000 individuals, 200 plus companies and local businesses as their project made its way to Toho Studios top management. Finally, the Godzilla Slide was resurrected returning to the neighborhood after a twenty-six year absence on November 3, 1999 in the form of a 8.75 meter 5 ton statue towering on the hilltop at Kurihama Hana no Kuni (Flower Country). With technological advances and Toho’s involvement a much more evolved Godzilla Slide made from tempered plastic and steel debuted similar to the version in GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1992) with special effects directed by Koichi Kawakita (1942-2014).
Many flock to Kurihama Flower World (久里浜花の国) to forget about the hustle and bustle of big city life and the scenery is famous for its estimated 1 million Cosmos and Poppy flowers, plentiful during the months of June and October, allowing festival guests to pick and take home as many flowers as they wish. An affair frequented by elderly couples and women, young adults and kids also join in the fun at the park’s sprawling Adventure Land with its: jungle gyms, herb garden, foot baths, restaurants, and the Heisei era King of Flower World perched overlooking the ocean, seeing all the way to Chiba on a clear day.
The slide is perfectly situated in a movie style atmosphere with real high-tension wires above Godzilla like a scene straight from his historic films with you front and center. You can access the Godzilla Slide by taking a steep, sloping path to the top or via a stairway at the end of the flower field, both guaranteed to burn some calories as you journey upward to the major attraction of the park.
You can also arrive at Adventure Land in style by taking the Flower Train, which also makes stops at the park’s herb garden, one of the largest in Kanagawa prefecture. At the beast’s feet children can enter his body up a short flight of stairs between his legs to slide out of his tail. There are signs posted that read the slide is only for kids 12 and younger and one also says, “Caution, don’t climb. From Godzilla.”
The park is a little over an hour south of Tokyo. To get there by train from Tokyo take the Yokosuka Line from JR Shinagawa to Yokosuka Station to JR Kurihama Station, or take the private Keikyu Line from Keikyu Shinagawa to Keikyu Yokosuka Chuo Station to Keikyu Kurihama Station. At Kurihama Station you catch a taxi or take a 15-20 minute walk to the park. Look for the signs directing you to Kurihama Flower World 久里浜花の国
Kurihama Flower World is an awesome place for viewing seasonal flowers, taking an afternoon hike, and having lunch with family or a date at the park with the Big G as the ultimate chaperone. It is a bit of a trek from Tokyo or Yokohama, but definitely worth the price of admission, because there is no charge at all to enter Godzilla’s neighborhood and commune with nature, where the King of Kaiju reigns over his Flower World.