Nara Dreamland, Japan. The beginning of the end.

This is a blog that has nothing to do with my main hobbies, but one of my secondary. I love abandoned places since I can remember. I visited some abandoned places in the past but never had the chance to visit an interesting place by myself untill this moment. This visit was so special for me, I loved it soo much that I just had to write about it. We are talking about a place that is HISTORY now. With other words, ereased from this planet, demolished by costruction workers and 1 guy who propably wants to build more houses on this beautifull place. There might not be so many pictures here and that is because I filmed most of the time. So you can expect a video in the future as well!! Here is my (looooong) story so grab yourself a drink and snacks…

September is coming. Everyone goes back to school or work. That makes it the perfect time for us to travel abroad. Tickets get A LOT cheaper and there are less tourists everywhere. Instead of having a lazy vacation in Spain, or Cabo Verde in an all inclusive hotel where we stuff ourself 24/24 with food we decided to have an active exploring vacation in Japan for 4 weeks. This is what we have planned to do:

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Quit a lot, right? On september 18th we flew from Schiphol Amsterdam, Netherlands to Xiamen Airport, China. There we waited 3 hours to take the plane to Narita Airport, Japan. We have spend 9 days in Tokyo and continued our travel to Osaka to spend another 9 days. And there the fun started… It aren’t Kyoto’s temples, or Akihabara’s neon lights, or the awesome food in Osaka that are the highland of the trip, but this is…:

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Nara Dreamland. The famous abandoned amusement park since 2006. let me tell you a bit about this explorers’s paradise… On the 1st of July, 1961 the park opened it’s doors in Nara, Japan. The park is designed to be a copy of Disneyland. The park was doing well and it sure does looked like a very fun place to be according to all the attractions I’ve seen there during my visit. It even had his own mascottes called Ran-Chan and Dori-chan. Untill a new, bigger and better park opened it’s doors in the nearby Osaka on March 31, 2001. A park called Universal Studio’s. The visitor numbers slowly dropped from Nara Dreamland untill there were only 10 people or so walking around the park. 5 years later, on August 29, 2006 the park had to close it’s doors forever…

Now back to my story. It’s tuesday the 4th of october, 2016. We woke up pretty late (hey, it’s holiday, right…), bought lunch and walked to Osaka station. From here we used our JR passes to take the Osaka Loop Line train to Nara station. The train ride is almost 1 hour.

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Once arrived in Nara station we went to the supermarket right under the train station to get a bottle of water and snacks during our trip in Nara Dreamland. I’m pretty sure there are no working vending machines anymore in Nara Dreamland. Packed with a couple of water bottles and snacks we started hiking towards Nara Dreamland. The hike to Dreamland is pretty simple. Just keep walking north! The hike took up around 30 minutes and gets steeper the closer you get to the park.

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Once arrived we stumbled upon some problems…. First we heard a bunch of noises coming out of the park, and I was praying it was not happening what they told me… A few days before we left to the park I have been told on Youtube the park has been sold last december and it’s waiting to get demolished, but no starting date of the demolishing have been given. My chanses to get into the park were sinking into my shoes, they must have started with demolishing… But somewhere I didn’t gave up and kept walking around. We stumbled on the famous fence with the mattress on it and wanted to climb over. However there were many cars passing by so we would get seen, seen by people driving their cars and propably the construction workers. Maybe some guards if they are even there. Actually, I don’t realy believe that there is security in the park. I read stories from people who heard from other people that got caught and fined, never stories from people THEMSELF who got fined and stuff… But if there is security and they don’t want you in.. Why didn’t they removed the mattress that hangs over the fence for already X years? Why didn’t they fixed the holes in the fences? I acted like the guard stuff was one 1 made up story to keep vandals away, but ofcourse I still watch out, especially now that they are demolishing this place as we speak. The only good guards there where the fuckin spiders. We decided to turn around and go back a few meters to another road that goes around the park. We noticed this road is surrounded by a bunch of trees and bamboo and it was a lot more quiet than the previous road. I slightly got more hope to find an entrance here…. We found old abandoned buildings between the trees on the left side of the road. I wonder where they were used for? Did they bolong to Nara Dreamland? If someone knows, please comment!

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We continued walking and taking pictures. Than we found this:

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From the point where I took this picture you could see the water slide attraction and there is a hole in the fence as well!! This looked much better than the previous trespasser-made entrees. But we decided to keep walking incase we find an even better place, but we kept this entree in our minds. Further up the road we found more legal entrances that were closed with chains ofcourse. However some people still made it across the fences. They stacked old freezers and other trash upon another to easely climb over the fence. We didn’t used this one because the path over the fence was full of spider webs and weeds. I don’t mind the weeds, but goddamn those spiders!! Some are over 10cm long and they look like you can only kill them with fire or something!

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Further up the road we found the parking of Nara Dreamland. The place is full of grass and vegetation now, it looks very peaceful in my opinion. (Actually I was filming at this moment, I went back later that day to take pictures as you can see down here)

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From here we turned back, we reached the end of the road and decided to go back to our precious hole-in-the-fence entree. We were a few meters away from the park, but the idea of big spiders crawling on our skin were still terrifying us. We walked a bit further, and that was the moment God has send us a gift.

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2 people, packed with a camera and backpacks were walking around the park as well. I saw they were tourists and I approached them, asking if they are looking for an entree as well. Full of confidence they said ,,Yes! We are looking to enter the park! I responded they have to follow me for a couple of meters and I showed them the entree we have found. ,,We are so close to the park but we are terrified of spiders… Are you scared of them?” ,,My girlfriend is a biologist and she is not afraid of spiders!” I almost jumped a hole in the air of happiness. She crawled through the hole in the fence and got rid of spider webs. When the coast was clear we followed her and stumbled on train tracks and another fence. This one wasn’t high so we easely climbed over it. Walking through the weeds and bushes we saw ANOTHER fence, but lucky for us the door of the fence was open! Thank you whoever did this! We walked through, and there we were. Inside Nara Dreamland.

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In a temperature of 30ºC we stood under the Water Slide attraction, the one you can see on this picture. I can’t remember how many times I’ve said ,,We’re in”, ,,We got inside the park” ,,Oh my God” ,,Holy shit look at that”. After I finally realized we’re truly inside the park we started to walk a bit around in the Water Land area. From the Water Slide we walked to Taverna Anacapri which is standing next to it. I was surprised that many things were still there. The firepits were still there, registers, fridges, boxes, buckets, watercans,…. Like the people just left with the idea they’ll be back tomorrow. Only that tomorow never came… We walked back outside and near the swimming pool I found one of those plastic ballpit balls.

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When I am looking back at Google maps and my pictures I noticed how so many attractions are completely overgrown with trees, bushes and weeds. Nara Dreamland on Google maps is still pretty “clean”, while I was there everything was overgrown, we even missed some attractions because they’re completely covered in vegetation. Impressive how nature takes back everything so fast.

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From the water Park we were walking towards the Jungle Cruise and Screw Coaster. First we had to pass the toilets. The entree of the toilets were covered with Spider webs. Thank God we have Hiromi who isn’t afraid of spiders and just whiped them away with her hand. Inside the toilets there were some mirrors and sinks smashed. I was surprised there was still soap left in the dispensers! We got out there fast, the place smelled like someone took a dump there 10 minutes ago. Maybe one of the construction workers did, who knows!! When we wanted to walk to the Jungle Cruise and Screw coaster we had to cross a path which was very close to the construction workers. Alejandro walked up the stairs from another taverne (The one on the right side of the upper picture) to take a look what’s behind the wall. They were there. We had to watch out. There were also tracks on the ground which means they drive around the park too. Quickly we ran across the road untill we were at the entrance of the Jungle Cruise. We were a bit scared to get seen by the construction workers, but it also gave us a huge adrenaline rush. The Jungle Cruise was amazing to see. 4 boats still lying there for a decade. Covered in dirth, broken. They never fern around again.

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Across the Jungle Cruise you have the Screw Coaster, the coaster with its double corscrew. Many people take pictures from the 2 loopings. Ofcourse I did this too, only I was too short, or the trees grew so fast that they almost blocked the entire view so I did not add the picture…

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From there we walked to a square which had a couple of attraction around. One of them is the carousel. The horses have these creepy faces that reminds me to the video game Silent Hill 3. Alejandro took a closer look around the carousel while I kept outside near the entrance, watching where the helicopter is going that was flying above our heads. I might be paranoid about this, what if that’s a helicopter to see what’s happening in the park? Or maybe to catch some tresspassers like us? We would be fucked.

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When the helicopter flew away we walked to the rest of the attractions. We had the Mirror Puzzle, Flash Dance, Monorail, and a bunch of other attractions where I don’t know the name from. So many of them were covered in vegetation that you could barely see the attraction. But damn it’s so beautifull to see.

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There was 1 attraction that I wanted to explore inside, as well as Alejandro. The Haunted House. Alejandro was already inside, I stood in the entrance. My boyfriend walked behind me untill we heard the noises of the construction workers come closer and closer. And they came closer FAST. My heart was pumping so fast and started to panic a little bit, scared to get caught and get in trouble. If this wasn’t enough I walked on debree which was making a bunch of noise, after that I said we have to leave NOW and we fled to the carousel again, and from there back to the Jungle Cruise. The Haunted House was indeed a scary experience!

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We decided the Nara Dreamland trip was over and we headed back to our entree, still watching out for the construction workers. Back at the Water Park we decided to have 1 last epic view over Nara Dreamland. We walked up the rusty stairs of the Water Slide. Once on top we were spoiled with a view over Nara city and the Water Park.

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I realy wanted to climb on top of the Aska wooden coaster, but it was impossible to get there without being seen… The construction workers are working from the inside to the outside of the park. They JUST started with demolishing as we got there and they started with Main Street. It sucks to be a day too late, but on the other hand… If we were 1 day later it was possible we never got to see the park because who knows what could happen, they might have spread to other parts of the park. We were extremely lucky for this and that we haven’t bumped into construction workers. We did see them and heard them demolishing stuff so they were there. After enjoying the view we went back downstairs. We looked around for the very last moment, knowing this is the last time we shall ever see the park. We turned our heads back to the fence where we came from, jumped over and crawled back through the hole. We were so glad we got to see the park. Together we walked back to Nara station while we were talking about the Park and other random things. At the station we said goodbye to eachother and went back on our own way. Alejandro, Hiromi.. We hope to see you again in the future!! Thank you very much for joining us, especially Hiromi who got rid of demons in webs during our visit in Nara Dreamland! Alejandro has a Facebook page and Flickr where he uploads his Nara Dreamland pictures, go check them out!

This is the route we walked through the park. The X is where we entered the park. We walked to the backside of the mirror puzzle and from there slowly back to the entrance. A shame we couldn’t see the great water fountain, the wooden coaster and Main Street but atleast we were able to see 50% of the park.

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We took the train back to Osaka, where our hotel was. I was so tired from excitement and adrenaline, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Dreamland… ,,If those construction workers weren’t there we could have seen everything from the park, goddamn it…” But wait… Construction workers also have days off… What if we go back on sunday??

A few days later Nara Dreamland was still stuck in my head. The idea that those construction workers also need their day off, I couldn’t get rid of it. Because we have these JR passes we decided to go back on sunday, hoping it was indeed their day off. We took thesame line back to Nara and instead of going to our entrance we walked to the Main Entrance. Once there we stumbled on a big white fence, those you see on all construction sites across Japan. And this one has… a guard….

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“Warning: It’s private land in this park and I prohibit all except for the person concerned from meddling without permission. When meddling without permission, it’s made the target of a detective Punish. -SK Housing Corporation”.

We said we are photographors from Europe and wanted to take pictures from the park before it is ereased from this planet for good. He called his boss or co-worker and asked us to wait untill he arrived. I slightly got hope to go inside but after he arrived on his scooter he’ve send us to a road that goes around the park. We followed the road and we bumped into the wooden coaster, released from years of vegetation. We tried to take the best pictures we could from behind the fence. And there was a surprise next to the wooden coaster.

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Mister guard had followed us on his scooter from inside of the park, making sure we don’t trespass. After taking some pictures of the wooden coaster we already decided to go back to our hotel. We know 100% sure that this place has guards on scooters, and they don’t like you in, even not with supervision of them. Slowly we walked back towards the train station, hoping to get another glimps of the park. We passed the famous fence with the mattress on and we noticed the place has been cleaned up, propably by the construction workers or people that belong to them. When we were here on thuesday the place was FULL of trash and dirt. Now they cleaned everything up, including the mattress! They also put up a warning sign this time that we should not enter the park or you get punished. We saw the hotels (Or atleast I think these were the hotels) one more time and they have put all kinds of stuff in front of it to clear the place out.

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This is the last picture I took from Nara Dreamland, and maybe this is the last picture forever. Demolishing places go fast. I don’t know what they are going to break down after Main Street, I don’t know what they are going to build after this place is vanished. I only know I will never see Nara Dreamland ever again.

Thank you for reading my blog. I think I never wrote this much in my life lol (I’m terrible at writing). Comments are welcome, tips to improve my blogs are welcome as well. Stay tuned for the Nara Dreamland video I am about to post on my Youtube channel. It shows MUCH more than the pictures I’ve shown here. My channel is nothing special, but I’ll upload it there so everyone can see the last days of Nara Dreamland. I am new to video editing so please give me some time 🙂 Thank you.

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-Sancta

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2 thoughts on “Nara Dreamland, Japan. The beginning of the end.

  1. Marcus Moribe says:

    Really interisting your post!!
    I went there yesterday (11/12) and like u said, guards everywhere. Even on sunday. We went there between 6am and 7:45am, the time that a guy in a van spotted us on the castle. We ran but he only wanted to know how we enter in the park and we leave the place. We only explore the Aska and the castle. Such a shame….

    Like

    • Sancta says:

      Wow you are lucky they didn’t gave you a fine or something, the warnings signs are clear. How does the park look now? Did they started with demolishing attractions or anything?
      Thank you that you like my blog about Nara, I appreciate it 🙂

      Like

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