Sunday, November 04, 2012

Nara Dreamland - The most frightening thing I've ever done...yet

Nara Dreamland

Ok, so my plan was to spend the night in a park in Nara so I could explore this abandon amusement park. This is something that not many people have done because; 1 – its highly illegal and 2 – not many people know it still exists.

The way I heard and found out about this place is that I was doing some research on Japan when I was sitting in my hostel in Riga, Lativa when I came across these ‘Dead Cities’ where people literally pack up and leave all of a sudden leaving books, clothes and other personal belongings in a house.
So here is a bit of information on Nara Dreamland.


Nara Dreamland is an abandoned amusement park in Nara, Japan. It was closed in 2006 and abandoned without getting demolished – which makes it quite a unique urbex location since all the roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, souvenir shops, arcades and other attractions are still there. (Although it’s up for discussion if the place is really abandoned. It’s closed, that’s for sure, but the owner of the park obviously still cares about it to some degree…)

The entrance to the park was designed to look almost identical to Disneyland, including the Train depot, a Main Street, U.S.A. and the familiar Sleeping Beauty Castle at the hub. It also had a Matterhorn-type mountain (with a Matterhorn Bobsleds-type ride, called Bobsleigh), and the skyway running through it, as well as an Autopia-type ride and a monorail. The park also had its own mascots, Ran-chan and Dori-chan, two kids dressed as bearskinned guards.

Anyway, I didn’t end up sleeping in the park, and lucky for me that was a wise choice as it practically rained all night, instead I just slept on the side of the road with a shelter over my head to protect me from the rain. I slept from 8ish until about 1.30 in the morning where I woke myself up and started the hike to find Nara Dreamland. Luckily I found it with no problems.

I started walking up the street where Nara Dreamland was on and there were street lights to light up the street, eventually the street lights stopped and with there being no moon made everything so dark. I was so scared and I wasn’t even in Dreamland yet!

Mind you, I was on my own for this entire affair so I had no one to get ideas or opinions off, it was just me, myself and I… all alone in the dark!

I eventually found the park and jumped over the, low but pretty gnarly gate with barbed wire and all the works and managed to scratch my wrist as I jumped over, a bit of blood but no worries. As I jumped over the fence with my bag on my back an my torch in my hand I noticed what I assume was an old ticket booth for cars to my right, I walked up to it to check it out I shone my torch to see what was inside and saw this… It Scared The Living Shit Out Of Me!

The ticket booth with...


Once I composed myself I could just make out a car that was at the end of the very small street leading towards the car park. As soon as I saw the car i was again freaked out, I was thinking that there either was a security guard sleeping in the car or worse walking around the park making sure people like me stayed out. My reason for being worried about this, is that you don’t just get slap on the wrist if your caught, instead you are going to have to pay potentially thousands of dollars which I do not have. So as you can imagine I was very cautious.

As I got closer to the Mazda 323 it had no body inside which obviously made me think that there could be a security guard inside… From the parked car I walked left, it was like a small winding street, I imagined there to be homeless people living in these houses but I didn’t hear a noise. All the windows were smashed and as I was walking I would sometimes step on the broken glass making a loud noise. I continued on until I saw the first roller coaster and the Castle. There I could just make out the silhouettes on the black sky.
I composed myself and took out my camera and tried taking some long exposure shots. They came out O.K, ideally id love to have a big SLR with a tri-pod etc for these photos but my little digi did really well, check out some photos.

So dark... so scary!! 

After I took photos of the main centre of Dreamland, I walked past the indoor games room where there were loads of SEGA machines all ready to be played, and im sure if you managed to get the power in the park working again, they would all work!

Games room!! Sega machines everywhere!

At the canteen! Everything was so much cheaper when the park was open!

I shot some photos here trying to be as quiet as possible, and afterwards I walked towards the biggest roller coaster in the park, that was all made of wood!

I don’t think I’d ever seen a wooden roller coaster, the roller coasters I’ve seen are made out of steel, so walked into the main entrance which had weeds growing so high at almost 6ft tall, I turned back a found another entrance to the roller coaster, which I assume to be the exit for the ride. I climb the stairs on my tippy-toes to make minimal sound.

So I climbed up the stairs to where people would have gotten into the ride. There were shelves on the side of where people must have put in wallets and keys (no phones in 1961) and all the little baskets were still there, so very eerie, at the other end of the shelves – at the control booth, it was absolutely trashed, windows smashed and a fire extinguisher lay on the ground with glass and rubbish everywhere.

This was taken inside one of the Roller Coaster control booths! Absolutely trashed!

I wanted to climb over the roller coaster but it was raining and slippery and if something did happen since I was on my own it could have ended really bad. Check out the night time photos of the roller coaster.

Midnight photos of the roller coaster!
Where the ticket booth was!!! The kids would have lined up here!

Every picture i was expecting for someone to grab me by the shoulder!!!!
From here I walked back down the stairs and went back toward the main centre of Nara Dreamland, where the castle was. This time though I walked down the street opposite the castle. This short street was lined with shop fronts, where the guests could have bought anything from food to computer games and souvenirs, because it was still drizzling there were weird noises coming from the shop fronts, I continued on and took some photos up and down the street, check them out.

The main street, looking back at the castle! Even the trees look haunting! 

So at the end of the street it took me underneath what would have been the ticket booth, I didn’t see any prices so I’m not sure how much it would have cost to see the amusement park.

I took some photos of this part of the park, and then headed around to the left of the next park which gave me some new views of the big wooden roller coaster. What I did find out, was that this road it was walking down to get a better view of the roller coaster runs parallel to one of the many streets in the neighbourhood close by. I freaked out thinking that it was a car driving into the park!

So as you can imagine I’m on edge! I’m freaking out about being caught by security, locals, zombies anything! But it’s all just mind over matter you continue on!

So I take some more photos and head back to the main square of the park, which is near the Castle, this time instead of walking down the street I walk to see what is behind the castle. On this side of the castle there are all the standard rides.

I walked past the Merry-Go-Rounds that don’t look so merry anymore, I see the cup and saucer ride and I even walk past a Mirror Maze which I DID NOT want to check out.

The merry go round!!! Haunted Horses!!?

Dunno what this ride is... looks fairly boring though! 

The mirror house! NO WAY was i going in here!

I proceeded to walk up to a one of the spinning rides, but as I got closer I heard ‘boom, BOOM, BOOM!’ like someone running across a roof towards me!!! I sprinted the other way and hid behind the corner only to look up to see the Haunted House with a scary looking Witch looking down upon me!!!

After i got the living shitzal scared out of me, i ran into this guy!!! AHHH!

My heart was racing, but I calmed myself and walked around the park a little bit more, it was still very early only about 4am, and I knew that the sun rose around 5.30, so I tried to get some sleep in the old cafeteria, but if it wasn’t the mosquitoes keeping me awake it was the bizarre sounds of the park that did.

The time ticked by, and I ventured out of the cafeteria and explored the park in a bit more light! It was a lot more enjoyable!

I re-saw all the rides and it was fun trying to make out what I was looking at in the dark to what I was meant to see. I’ll be honest though, it was a lot more errie to see it in the day. Because as you expect, you just imagine all the kids and adults running around with lots of noise and colour happening, but everything is just so quiet and empty.

By the time I left the park it was around 6am, so I jumped back over the fence making sure no one spotted me, gave a bit of a “woop woop” in excitement and headed back into Nara to check out some temples!!!

In conclusion, people have been asking why did you do it?! Well friend, because I wanted to see if I actually could do it. I’m one who is scared easily, watching horror movies… forget it! I’m a bit of a girl, but for me to spend a night in this creepy amusement park really proved to myself that I can almost do anything… Within Reason… 

Where i slept on the street from 8pm until 2am.

In the very early hours of the morning... the roller coaster!

A awkward photo of the castle... slight tilt?

The smaller roller coaster, just to the left of the Castle!

From the castle looking down the street towards to main entrance!

The sun is slowly coming up now, this is the main street!

The gaming room with all the Sega consoles!

The main wooden roller coaster!... the Aska!

The Aska!

In the foreground you can see the canteen i tried to sleep in...

Camera and a weather station at the top of the roller coaster!

The sun coming up... this would have been taken at about 5.30ish

These paintings of the kids are everywhere!

A train stop! The train used to take you throughout the park!

Old school Coca Cola sign!

The castle and the smaller roller coaster!

The weeds are growing this high all over the park!

The main ticket booth!

This is the main train entrance!

An overlook of the park from the main train entrance!


Nara Dreamland's Post Office!

The smaller roller coaster!

Merry Go Round!

The House of Mirrors i was refusing to go in!

See the ride directly ahead - this is where i got scared! 

Vines and Weeds grow everywhere!

Still pretty scary in the morning!

The castle with the fountain in the foreground!

The Mazda Car was still there in the morning!

The fence i jumped over!


And finally this guy!!!

Thanks for reading! Hope you werent too scared! Until next time!


1 comment:

  1. I'm not even sure if you're still on this blog or not but I really like this post! I'm not sure where you live or anything but I've been to the real disney world several times and that park looked very similar! The ride with the tea cups is literally called "The Tea Cups" in case you still didn't know. That weird looking man thing from the ticket booth is from the movie spy kids. They put "easter eggs" everywhere before they actually produced the movie,
    Anyway if you have any further questions I may be able to answer them