Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City was once a neighborhood comprised of separate structures laced together by makeshift walkways and plumbing. While some say it was home to a functioning community of around 33,000 people, there are others who saw it as a sprawling hive of drugs, crime, and prostitution. Some of the most extreme rumors say that the city was controlled by Triads, otherwise knows as the Chinese mafia. It was this seedy persona that many people came to associate with the Walled City, and it is this side of the city that has been recreated in a new arcade and amusement park in Tokyo called Anata no Warehouse. Keep reading to find out about this eight-story park that mirrors details right down to the very trash on the streets.
Designers based their work on rare video footage, which was used to recreate the various storefronts inside the arcade, along with a few photos that exist of the old Walled City. Signs that litter the city’s street were each hand-lettered and checked by a Hong Kong native to ensure no mistakes were made. Bordering on obsessive, one set designer even asked a friend currently living in Hong Kong to send over a box of garbage from their house to be used inside the theme park. As for the sordid side of the city, designers weren’t shy about making it known that prostitution was rife. One section of the building features a a faux-brothel, complete with a nude mannequin sprawled across a bed inside a red-lit room.
While those involved were committed to authenticity, there were some aspects of the building that might have had a negative impact on customer experience. Sweltering heat due to lack of air-conditioning, along with Triad occupation were some of the characteristics that have been omitted. There are also some very modern Japanese bathrooms hidden beneath a carefully detailed veneer of rust, a striking juxtaposition that just adds to the uniqueness of the building. Guests not interested in wandering the eerie halls of what used to be Kowloon’s Walled City can opt to keep themselves amused with a variety of arcade and betting games, as well as the resident Internet cafe.
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