Japan is well known for its quirky taste in tourist attractions, but this one in particular might have you thinking you’ve entered some kind of parallel universe.
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Welcome to Yufuin Floral Village, an entertainment and hotel complex in Kyushu’s Oita Prefecture that was built to look like an old time British village. More specifically it was modelled on the Cotswolds, a beautiful area in south central England, although it also looks like something straight out of the Lord of the Rings. In fact, some of the Harry Potter movies were filmed in some of the quaint stone houses too.
The village was designed and built in 2012 by a local businessman, so is entirely modern. It is beautifully set amid lush green hills, and the whole place is brimming with plants and flowers, lamps and hanging baskets.
There are plenty of British icons peppered around, such as vintage red Minis, Beatrix Potter characters, a duck pond and the ubiquitous ‘keep calm and carry on’ signs. For some reason Snoopy the cartoon dog seems to be very popular too, along with plenty of other bizarre additions.
You can browse for souvenirs in shops like Alice in Wonderland and eat steak in the Cotswolds Dining Room. If that all seems far too normal you can leave England behind and step into a bread shop modelled on the bakery in Kiki’s Delivery Service, the Japanese anime movie. Any fan of studio Ghibli will be thrilled to meet the young witch and her cat face-to-face and try some excellent croissants at the same time.