A few years ago, before I started going to Japan on a yearly basis, I wanted to learn as much as possible about this beautiful country. Even though there are tons of beautiful and very interesting things to do and places to visit, there are also some very weird/scary places.
I came across a blog post with some super scary (spooky) pictures of the place and since then, I really wanted to visit the place.
However, due to circumstances and very tight schedules, it’s only been this year that I’ve been able to take a look at the abandoned theme park by myself.
For those of you who don’t know about this place, it’s a theme park (in Nara, close to Osaka) that was built to be a competitor of Japan Disney Land (in Tokyo). It closed in 2006 and has been left abandoned since then. Read the Wiki Page for more information.
Many blog posts mention that there is a security guard that’s not very catholic and will give you a ticket of JPY100.000 (around $1000) if he catches you on the abandoned (and gated) property.
I like adventure, so I decided to take a day trip to Nara and see the place by myself.
First thing I notice (and find quite funny) is that searching for “Nara Dreamland” on my Google Maps app would tell me the exact location of the place. For a business that’s closed for over 10 years (and also illegal to enter), it’s kind of weird to have its exact location.
Anyways, I took the 45 minutes walk (2.5km) to go see the place. On many blog posts, not only do they talk about the security guard, but they also talk about neighborhood calling the cops on people walking around. To go to the park, you need to walk across a residential area and I was kind of scared of being spotted (since I’m definitely a foreigner and I had my back pack).
Maybe it’s because I went there on a Tuesday at noon, but no one called the cops on me. I finally made it to the park and the first thing I notice is that the place is surrounded by a barbwired gate:
Then, when zomming with my camera, I found an abandonned car. I was not sure if it was some kind of security guard car or just something abandonned until I saw the picture on big screen. There is a long road (entrance) to do to reach this car.
There is a railway coming through the place. I wonder if this was a real train or some kind of in-place public transportation.
When zooming, we can see top of buildings.
Again, usually place with barbwires mean they really don’t want you to go there.
But how bad? They didn’t even put a simple “Do not enter” in English, even though many foreigners know the place and want to see it. I learned later that this means “Do not enter” in Japanese.
This rollercoaster was what I wanted to see. It’s a huge wood structure that is just left there rotting for almost 10 years.
All the previous pictures were taken in front of this gate. The thing is, it was TOO easy to jump the fence. There was just barbwire on the left part and none on the right part. Is it a trap?
I continued walking outside of the park (there is a road that surrounds it) and took some pictures from outside of the fences.
I believe this is where the train stopped.
I then tried to take good shots of the rollercoaster, from the outside. At least you can see how big it is.
It’s a HUGE structure, really imposing.
I love that shot.
I believe this is some kind of train thing that does noise when the train arrives.
This is the top of an abandonned building. It you read the wiki of the album, you’ll learn that Nara Dreamland was somewhat of a copy of Disneyland, but was not popular. Architecture looks similar, in some points.
Another shot of an abandoned building of the park.
Then I got closer to the wood rollercoaster. I noticed a second entraince for the park.
I modified this picture so you can see, but this was the fence next to the entrance. This was TOO easy. I mean, look, I didn’t even have to touch the fence to enter, I could easily fit in. After a few minutes of thinking, I decided I would go in. I was real aware that if I got caught, it would cost me JPY100,000 ticket (or about $1000 USD)… But hey, I didn’t walk 2.5km for nothing.
Now I can finally have a closer look of the rollercoaster. Weird thing is that there is absolutely NO noise in such a huge place. Kind of spooky. I decided to walk toward the rollercoaster, but very carefully as there were dead leaves cracking under my shoes everywhere.
I noticed this small cabin. I was real stressed that it could be the security guard spot, just waiting for intruders to come in. I was ready to run away at any moment.
So I went a little further and took a zoomed pic of the inside of the park. It’s weird to see it untouched with some graffiti.
I finally got the shot that I wanted.
I would have loved to go inside, take my time and bring back better shots, but I chickened out. It was time for me to leave. I could hear cars driving on the road next to the park, so I waited for a silent moment and just ran outside like if I never came in. I put my camera in my bag, put my earphones on and walked away from this iconic park. About 1 minute after I start walking, I hear a silver car speeding and stopping at the exact entrance I was. A person leaves the car and check around. I didn’t look back, I used the selfie mode of my cellphone to see him… I guess there could have been some security camera or someone called the cops/security on me as they saw me walking around with a Nikon camera… anyways, it could have been a pretty expensive minute if I stayed longer. I’m happy I got those shots before the place gets destroyed or renovated.