Spa-musement park Yu-enchi in Oita Prefecture, Japan came about as the result of an online joke and a viral video.

Yasuhiro Nagano, the mayor of Beppu city in the south of Japan, posed the concept of a spa/amusement park hybrid in a YouTube video.   Back in November 2016, the municipal government created a promotional video about a fictional amusement park in which visitors took baths and wandered around in bathrobes.

The mayor pledged that, if more than a million people watched the video, he would create the ‘bathtub theme park’.

The video went viral and the threshold was met in just three days.  So the city has kept its promise, renting out an existing amusement park and renovating a number of its attractions.

The pop-up park opened on Saturday.  It’s been called Yu-enchi, a play on the Japanese for ‘amusement park’ and ‘hot water’.

The 12 attractions include a watery roller coaster and a merry-go-round that has bathtubs instead of seats.

Visitors are asked to wear swimsuits and relax in bathtubs filled with hot water or bubbles.

Beppu has the most hot springs of anywhere in the world.  83,058 litres of water flows through the popular tourist spot per minute.

The city raised ¥82 million through crowdfunding and other measures for its bathtub park. About 12,000 people are set to visit Yu-enchi over the three days.

However only those who donated ¥8,000 or more to the city, or who have purchased an advance ticket, will be able to go into the park.

Yu-enchi closes Monday 31st July 2017.

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