In what could be viewed as a fitting metaphor for 2020, a new theme park ride in Japan lets guests zipline into the gaping mouth of a massive Godzilla statue.
Part of a new attraction called Godzilla Interception Operation Awaji, it officially opened in October at Nijigen no Mori, a theme park located on Awaji Island, southwest of Kobe and Osaka.
The star of the new attraction is the “life-size” Godzilla, which measures 20 meters (65 feet) high, 25 meters (82 feet) wide and 55 meters (180 feet) long and sits in the heart of the park.
Zipline into the belly of the beast
As part of the attraction, visitors are invited to become members of the “National Awaji-island Institute of Godzilla Disaster” and tame the fearsome beast by completing a series of “missions.”
They will first watch a seven-minute movie showcasing the story behind the site and the operation.
The missions include ziplining into the mouth of the roaring (but inactive) monster and completing a shooting game where players must stop Godzilla from growing further by aiming at its cells.
If flying into the beast’s belly isn’t thrilling enough, there’s another set of zip lines that flies past the Godzilla statue. The zipline courses are about 15 meters (49 feet) high and 162 meters (531 feet) long.
A special bag is provided so visitors can take photos and videos during the ride without worrying about dropping their phones.
They can also join two Augmented Reality activities that invite gamers to solve mysteries and collect pieces of evidence around the park. Those who have cleared their mission and solved the mystery will be given a paper Godzilla institute ID card.
The new theme park addition also includes the world’s first permanent Godzilla Museum.
Co-created with Toho Visual Art Co., Ltd – the team behind the special effects of Godzilla movies – the museum features about 100 exhibits with some large-scale original props and materials, including one from the very first Godzilla movie, released in 1954.
More visitors than last year
A representative from the park tells CNN Travel the new attraction has been very popular since opening in October, and the theme park has gained more visitors since the pandemic as local schools and families prefer to visit an outdoor destination like Nijigen No Mori. Amid the pandemic, Japan has encouraged domestic travel.
The park has implemented Japan’s standard Covid-related theme park practices, encouraging guests to practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer. Visitors have their body temperatures checked prior to entrance and staff wear transparent face guards.
Besides Godzilla Interception Operation Awaji, the Nijigen no Mori theme park is filled with Japanese anime- and pop culture-inspired attractions.
Nijigen no Mori, 2425-2 Kusumoto, Awaji-shi, Hyogo, Japan, +81 0799 64 7061