Heidi's Village (ハイジの村)
Outdoor | Avg price: ¥510 | English Available: None (Unknown)
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Heidi, Girl of the Alps theme park in Yamanashi
Heidi's Village is an odd one. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, this petite park attracts crews of cosplayers, all decked out and taking photographs against the backdrop of the park. To be fair, it's a beautiful backdrop; the parks flowers, trees, and pond are framed by looming mountains. You can see why the cosplayers come here, they must get some 'fairytale' shots. The question it though, 'Where do they come from?' (maybe Nirasaki Station on the JR Chuo Line - 30 min direct bus to the park from the station).
Cosplayers aside, the park is attractive. The main entrance starts up on a gently mountain slope, and paths meander through gardens, trees and features, down to a rather romantic central pond. It's fairly quite place, too and might lend itself to a romantic road trip.
Of course, this is a theme park of sorts (although don't come here expecting rides and roller coasters). What you will find are the requisite gift shops (Heidi high on the theme, naturally), some places to eat (and drink), and a garden center. Most of these facilities congregate around the park's main entrance. Wander a little further though, and you'll find a mock old-world house, and little bit of an animal farm. For some nice (if a little windy) mountain views, there's a viewing tower up by the main entrance. While we were there, they were also conducting Segway tours of the park.
There's little reason to come out of your way for Heidi's Village, but if you happen to be in the area (we were on some sort of tour), then maybe make a stop. Watching the cosplayers is quite entertaining, and if you're a cosplayer yourself, then you could get some fantastic shots here.
The park also has its own lodgings if you want to stay the night.