Get ready to add Beppu City to your travel bucket list. The Japanese city, which boasts the most natural hot springs in the world, is taking its passion for hot water to the next level by opening a hot tub-centric theme park.
The idea was unveiled last year in a conceptual video that outlined what the park could ultimately look like. Just a few amusements included a carousel, a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster, each with carts filled with steamy water.
In addition to introducing the concept, the video doubled as a pledge from Beppu Mayor Yasuhiro Nagano — once the video reached 1 million views, development would begin to make the park a reality. Given the nature of the internet, the video quickly went viral and the goal was met in just a few days. (To date, the video has nearly 3 million views.)
Nagano is keeping his word, and the park is scheduled to open July 29.
Of course, the promise of such a theme park raises some fascinating industry questions. First and foremost: It's one thing to set a stationary spa on a concrete slab, but how do you support the tremendous weight and forces resulting from moving carts filled with water?
And what about bather loads — really heavy bather loads? How would you maintain clean water in each individual cart of a roller coaster ride, let alone an entire park of them? And many of these rides would create significant splash-out. How much water would such a park go through in just one day?
And perhaps the most important question of all: Would people really enjoy a hot tub-themed water park? We'll find out this summer.