Small Worlds Tokyo is an essential destination for anyone who loves elaborate dioramas, massive European-style model-train layouts, airports, spaceports, or the Sailor Moon or Evangelion anime franchises. Open since June 2020, it's advertised as the world's largest indoor miniature theme park, and it features several room-size layouts painstakingly constructed at 1:80 scale.
Things start off with a bang at the Space Center, where you can watch a reenactment of a 1970s-era rocket launch, complete with sound effects, flames and smoke. Next comes a rather imaginative model of a spaceport in a future moon colony, followed by Global Village, a huge model-train layout featuring Alpine villages, a Mediterranean-looking fishing port, and a hybrid Chinese city inspired by Hong Kong and Shanghai. There's even a model of Kowloon's famous Walled City.
The miniature buildings in the next room may seem rather generic and boring after the exotic structures of the Global Village, but they turn out to be a relatively accurate recreation of Tokyo's Azabu-Juban neighborhood in the 1990s, down to shop signs of now-defunct businesses. Azabu-Juban was the real-life setting for the Sailor Moon series as well as the home of its creator, Naoko Takeuchi.
The next stop is Kansai International Airport, or at least a model of the runways and main terminal building. Planes taxi and then actually take off, lifted into the air on wires before disappearing into openings in the walls. By the way, while you're taking in all this scenery the overhead lighting in the various rooms is gradually changing from day to night and back again, while lights inside the miniature buildings are turning on and off at appropriate times.
The final small world is a model of Evangelion's Tokyo-3, which consists of a mountain village neighborhood and, off in the distance, a more urban zone of high-rises that slowly sink and disappear into the ground whenever aliens attack. Rather impressively, the mountain village is traversed by cars and trucks riding unaided along its winding roads.
If after spending an hour here you feel like you never want to leave Small Worlds, you can actually stay as long as you like, at least in miniaturized form. Thanks to highly advanced 3D scanning technology you can commission a personalized figurine of yourself, in the costume and pose of your choice, which can then be placed in either the Evangelion or the Sailor Moon city. This "residency program" includes a one-day group pass so you and your friends can come visit your miniature self once it's placed in its new home.
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