The Biwa-ko Lake Paradise (びわ湖パラダイス)
Biwa-ko Lake Paradise is a complex including recreational and amusement park facilities with a spa resort (health center), established next to the former Biwa-ko Lake Spa Resort (the Hotel Koyo (currently the "Ryotei Koyo") located in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture). The previous name of this complex was The Koyo Paradise.
The complex started its service in 1966 as the Koyo Paradise. Later, the name was changed to the Biwa-ko Lake Spa Resort Koyo Paradise. The facilities are renovated and re-opened as the Biwa-ko Paradise in 1991.
When the business of these facilities opened, it won a popularity for its various recreational services including spa, amusement, gourmet food and theatrical show activities provided to the visitors.
The spa resort was popular because there were various types of hot spring baths to be enjoyed at once in one place. Especially the "Jungle bath" in enormous scale was well known.
The amusement park had a roller coaster with its track projected over the surface of the lake.
In 1978, the "Hotel Orient Express" was opened on the site of these facilities and drew attention of people, by setting up a train with a German made steam locomotive and eight sleeping cars made by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. However, this train was also disassembled when the facilities went out of business (also refer to the article, "Steam locomotive hotels").
The TV spots broadcasted during the Koyo Paradise period were unique and publicly well-known, by introducing and advertising its "Jungle Bath" and the "Hotel Orient Express," and especially the next TV spot, played by several adult actors saying, "A naked paradise! The Koyo Paradise!" made a big impact on the TV audience of the Kansai and the Chubu regions (The TV spot of the adjacent facility, the "Hotel Koyo," became also legendary as an advertisement, and it is still talked about today for its quality.)
(These TV spots were broadcasted throughout Japan via TV programs produced by those local TV companies in Kansai region.)
(For details, refer to the article about the Biwa-ko Lake Spa Resort.)
The closedown of the facilities and after
The facilities began to show their age, and most of them except the spa facility were closed in December 6, 1998.
Gradually the number of visitors decreased because the public transportation network was developed for travelling various locations, and the surrounding area was also developed with more attractions for visitors--in the end, this spa facility was also closed.
The Marutama Tourism Co. Ltd., (Kyoto City) the previous management and operation body of the "Koyo Paradise" and the "Ryotei Koyo," went into bankruptcy on March 1, 2006 for the financial difficulties caused by the redevelopment of the Ryotei Koyo and the Koyo Paradise. The Ryotei Koyo was sold off to the Japan Leisure Service Group (Kyoto City, abbreviated name is JLS) prior to the bankruptcy of the Marutama Tourism Co. Ltd..
The Kinoshita Museum, built for exhibiting the collection of the founder of the Hotel Koyo, Mayusaburo KINOSHITA, (including the sculpture of Greece and Rome, traditional Japanese paintings and Western style paintings) was preserved for operation even after the bankruptcy of the Marutama Tourism, but the museum was closed for moving to a new building.
The vacant lot of the facilities was sold off to the Tokyu Land Corporation, and the developer constructed a condominium with a resort-like atmosphere, the 'Buranz Nishi-Otsu Lake Front' with the total number of households in 275.
(The condominium was on sale in May, 2006; the completion of the construction was in mid-March, 2007; the residents started to move in at the end of March, 2007 (It is still on sale as of 2009.))
As of 2009, new facilities, "Pachinko Slot DREAM" and the "Restaurant Sagami," are under construction in the previous lot of the facilities.