The Maishima incineration plant in Osaka's Konohana Ward attracts sightseers. (Video by Taku Hosokawa and Hikaru Uchida)

OSAKA--Thousands of tourists from around the world are flocking to a garbage incineration plant here, some of them mistaking it for the Universal Studios Japan theme park.

They could be forgiven for the error.

Universal Studios Japan is located near the Maishima incineration plant in Konohana Ward. And the plant does resemble a theme park or shopping mall.

It boasts a golden, onion-shaped chimney that stands 120 meters high, and its walls are decorated with a checkered design and red and yellow lines.

Instead of offering rides, the facility incinerates up to 900 tons of garbage a day.

The plant itself has become somewhat of a tourist attraction.

Around 12,000 people visit the plant annually, and those from outside Japan account for 30 percent of them, according to officials.

The incinerator plant was built in 2001 based on a design by the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The Osaka city government requested the design under the theme of “fusion of technology, environment and art.”

Although the facility has more than 500 windows, only 130 of them are real.