• Kyodo


Tokyoites now have another way to escape their day-to-day lives with the opening Saturday of an indoor amusement center featuring virtual reality technology in the Shibuya district.

Shibuya VR Land, in the Shibuya Modi shopping complex, offers an hour’s worth of virtual entertainment for an admission fee of ¥2,200 ($20). Theme park firm Huis Ten Bosch Co. created the facility in the hope of drawing visitors to its Dutch-inspired park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, which also offers VR attractions.

“We see it as a way to boost name recognition across Japan and globally,” a public relations official said.

Shibuya VR Land offers five different sets of entertainment content.

Ultra Reverse Bungee uses headsets and moving seats to create the sensation of being shot into outer space by a giant catapult, while Impending Whisper of Love puts you on the receiving end of a declaration of love from one of three handsome young men or a young woman.

The other sets include a musical game, a game where you battle hordes of enemies with a weapon of your choice, and a scenario in which you try to escape from a haunted hospital.

The popularity of VR has soared in recent years with the advent of commercial headsets like Oculus Rift and Sony Interactive Entertainment’s PlayStation VR.

Video game maker Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc. will open its own VR amusement center in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area next month that will let visitors to jump into the world of anime based on the popular “Gundam” and “Dragon Ball” series.

Competition among theme parks is heating up as consumer preferences shift toward spending on experiences rather than products, raising ticket sales. The steady influx of tourists from China and elsewhere is acting as a tailwind.

Tokyo Disneyland’s parent Oriental Land Co. is building a new area based on “Beauty and the Beast” to open in 2020.

USJ Co., which runs Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, is building a ¥60 billion space inspired by Nintendo Co.’s “Mario” video game franchise.

In Nagoya, Legoland Japan, a theme park based on the Danish block toy, opened in April, while renowned animation house Studio Ghibli has plans to open a theme park in the neighboring city of Nagakute in the early 2020s.

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