In the most unlikely of places, in an old run down park in Ogano town, there is currently a Doko Demo “Anywhere Door”. An “Anywhere Door”, or doko demo door is one of the gadgets in the highly popular Doraemon cartoon in Japan. It is a bright pink door that allows travel to “anywhere” any time. In Ogano you can travel back to the Neogene Period.
Doko Demo / Anywhere Door
Quite a few people messaged me about this location, after I shared some of these photos on my stories on Instagram. I have of course answered them as best I can on a short mail, but there is some confusion about the location. Understandably so… Google Maps has the park marked as permanently closed. I don’t know why, but the park is very much open. I have shared a map under information for good measure. However, just to note the lookout point at the foot of the mountain is currently closed off for safety reasons. Furthermore, the tiny community center on the grounds is closed. Moreover, the larger community more picturesque community center is only used sparsely for community events. Paradoxically, Google Maps has both of them marked as open.
Doko Demo Doors have popped up all over Japan in recent years. Normally you see them backdropped by flowers. But this one is quite clever. The purpose of the Doko Demo door is to travel anywhere. And at this abandoned park in Ogano Town you can travel to prehistoric times. To a period known as the Miocene epoch. I am certainly no expert and I don’t trust my translation of the rather technical information that was available at the site, but the general gist:
Paleo Chichibu Bay
They discovered a fossil fish from the Miocene epoch and a genus of aquatic mammal on the grounds of the park in 1983. Sources online say the age of the fossils are about 20 million years old. However, the information at the site says 15 million years old. Either way; pretty neogenic! The species of fish is unique to the Chichibu area where it was found. Hence they named it the “Chichibu Sawara”. The aquatic mammal remains found at the site were of the Paleoparadoxia, which I believe the area is known for. They named Chichibu’s famous steam locomotive, the closest steam train to Tokyo, after the mammal: the PALEO express. The area of the paleo paradoxia and Chichibu Sawara Statues, and the Doko Demo / Anywhere Door in summer 2021, is part of the former Paleo Chichibu Bay and current day Chichibu Geopark.
This type of location is great for a breath of fresh air with kids during the pandemic. There was literally no-one else there. Moreover, they have a bathroom which is always useful when travelling with kids! The park is on the Hannya No Oka hiking trail. We did not walk the full length of the trail, but the part we walked was freshly mowed. There are reports on Google Maps that the trail is not maintained, but it doesn’t specify which part. We didn’t encounter any trouble on the short section we walked. At Hannya no Oka there are actually stairs built into the mountain to help you ascend. There is also a ramp, but it is exceptionally steep, I wouldn’t fancy pushing a stroller or wheelchair up it. Coming down would be even worse!
|Address:||Hannya, Ogano, Chichibu District, Saitama 368-0103|
|Phone:||0494-75-1221 (Ogano Town Hall)|
|Hours:||24 hours but the car park closes over night.|
|Online:||Web page for the park on the Ogano Town Website|