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nara dreamland ghost

World’s creepiest abandoned theme park with crumbling castles and empty rides left to rot for decades before demolition

  • Published : 12:20 ET, Jan 21 2024
  • Updated : 14:46 ET, Jan 21 2024
  • Published : Invalid Date,

ONCE hailed as Japan's own Disneyland, this theme park was left to rot for over a decade with empty rides and crumbling castles painting a horror picture.

Nara Dreamland was supposed to be the country's most popular adventure attraction, but all it could become was an eerily abandoned site filled with rot and dust.

Nara Dreamland in Japan was heavily based on the original Disneyland in California

Nara Dreamland was opened in 1961 and was based on the original Disneyland in California , which had opened just six years before.

The theme park was heavily copied from the California-based site - it featured copies of Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Autopia, Matterhorn and Jungle Cruise.

From the above, the layout of the park seemed identical to that of the original Disneyland - even the entrance castle looked the same.

The park also had its own mascots Ran-chan and Dori-chan - just like Disney's Mickey Mouse - which were two children dressed as bearskin guards.

During the initial years, Nara was at the peak of its popularity, attracting over 1.7 million visitors a year.

But after The Walt Disney Company closed a deal to bring its theme park to Japan , things started to fall apart for Nara.

As the Tokyo Disneyland opened its gates in 1983, visitors to Nara slowly began to decrease since most people wanted to visit the original site.

And after Universal Studio opened its theme park next to Tokyo Disneyland in the early 2000s, people forgot Nara completely.

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After failing to attract even the most minimal amount of visitors, the ambitious theme park started to crumble down.

By 2004, the park began to decline in quality - stores started to shut down, some attractions began to rust, and service trucks would be left abandoned with no one using them.

Nara finally shut down its gates in 2006 - and was eventually demolished in 2016 for good.

Rides stood still as the park was left to rot

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nara dreamland ghost

This Abandoned Theme Park Was Meant to Be a Disney Park

A group of people standing in front of a building

When it comes to abandoned things at Disney Parks, there definitely are a few.

From abandoned ideas to a fully abandoned amusement park such as Disney’s River Country at Disney World , there is a lot to dig into. Although many may associate Japanese Disney Parks with Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, another theme park was meant to become a Disney Park and when then left to rot.

mickey at tokyo disneyland

Nara Dreamland opened in 1961 with a heavy Disneyland influence. The park hoped to become a Disney Park after “Kunizo Matsuo, a Japanese businessman & president of the Matsuo Entertainment Company, met with Walt Disney to discuss the attraction.” Things were going well during the park’s development in terms of creating the park in the eye of Disney; however, Walt and Matsuo would then disagree over the license fees for using the Disney characters, which put an end to the idea of Nara Dreamland becoming a Disney Park.

tokyo disney

Nara Dreamland stood looking like Disneyland; however, the park would have no affiliation with the park and company. When Guests would enter Nara Dreamland, it was easy to see where the Disney resemblance was held. The park also had a castle as the “weenie” (as Walt liked to call it), which looked very similar to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The theme park would also have its own version of a Main Street, a Mad Tea Party-Esque ride, a Jungle Cruise-style boat ride, and a Matterhorn-like attraction.

Related: Disney’s America Was an Abandoned Historical Theme Park Meant for Virginia

Take a look at the abandoned state of the park after it closed on naradreamlandthemepark’s (@naradreamlandthemepark) Instagram.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nara Dreamland Theme Park (@naradreamlandthemepark)

Shalanski (@shalanski) posted a photo in front of the Nara Dreamland abandoned castle. The area would have been closed off to Guests when this photo was taken.

One of the best days in Japan so far; snuck into and explored the abandoned Nara Dreamland. No Disney theme park will ever amount. 
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Krista with a K Shalanski (@shalanski)

Below is the Mad Tea Party replica attraction posted by Steve (@steveronin).

Nara Dreamland Japan
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ronin Ackerman📍 Boston (@steveronin)

The theme park remained open for 45 years, but Nara Dreamland suffered greatly when Tokyo Disneyland was built. Attendance dramatically dropped at the theme park as Guests favored the new Disney-affiliated park over Nara Dreamland. In 2006, the theme park closed its doors for good, and not much was done after. The park would be left to decay for 10 years until 2016, when demolition would finally begin.

What do you think about Nara Dreamland? Let us know in the comments below!

Offbeat Japan

Nara Dreamland: An Abandoned Amusement Park

In the outskirts of Nara, here is Nara Dreamland. The last bits of spirit is leaving this abandoned amusement park. Let’s explore it.

In the outskirts of Nara, the last bits of spirit is leaving of Nara Dreamland, an abandoned amusement park. It closed in 2006, after its number of visitors dropped dramatically in the opening of the new Tokyo Disneyland, as well as the more recent arrival of Osaka Universal Studio. The Nara government is demolishing Nara Dreamland very soon, to get some more space for parkings and such. So I went to pay my visit as soon as possible.

[bs_notification type=”info”]I have been visiting Nara Dreamland many times since I have written this article. Check the end of this article for more. It was actually not demolished until 6 years later ;)[/quote]

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Knowing that the official entrance being completely blocked, I had to find another way. Therefore the night before, I went around the abandoned amusement park to find a possible entrance. While driving extremely slowly around the park, a loud voice from a speaker took me by surprise. It was a message in Japanese. Scary! I could not understand a thing, but since it was a recorded message there is nothing to worry… isn’t it !? Later, I actually learned that this message is asking people not to dump garbage around here… Alright! 🙂

Nara Dreamland - Fence

Then in the following morning, I still ended-up jumping crazily over the fence, as there seemed no any other way.I have to get in! After all I did not came all the way for nothing! After a short walk though the bushes, I arrived at Nara Dreamland’s official entrance.

Welcome to Nara Dreamland

Welcome to the wonderland! I can already fell that this is going to be an extremely good one, even though I was a bit worried. Some kind of security is supposed to be working here, and urban explorers have been caught many times in this place. Most people came here by night, but I really want my daylight pictures, so… that’s it.

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Dreamland was build in 1961, six years after the original Disneyland. The inspiration for this park actually came entirely from Disneyland, they even have exactly the same layout! Let’s visit it.

Main Street USA

Nara Dreamland - Main Street II

The main avenue really looks like Disneyland, with the Cinderella castle at the end. All the shops and restaurants are empty, but there are still tables and chairs inside. A real ghost town, to start with. Mmm, it seems there was also a Ghibli shop, called “My Neighbor Totoro”.

Nara Dreamland - Main Street III

Wait! There’s a map of Nara Dreamland on the floor. Here it is!

Dreamland Map

I’m going to the center of the park now, in front of the castle of Cinderella. There was no Mickey around, but there were two original characters whom can be found everywhere in the park. A sign told me that they were called Ran-chan and Dori-chan.

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This is actually the access gate to Fantasyland. But first, let’s go on the left, to Adventure Land !

Adventureland

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A wave pool and many standard water attractions can be found here. Information board said the park was looking for summer time staff, with a salary of 900 yen per hour, just to watch some Japanese girls wearing bikini.

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From the top of this attraction, we could get a magnificent view of the entire park with the roller-coaster in the back. At the same time, it was really easy to be spotted from here. Better to go down quick.

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Then, not far from them, the Screw Coaster. It is probably the second best attraction of the park, certainly one of the best subject to take pictures of.

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Fantasyland

This is the part behind the castle, and it is attractions for the family. The common magic cups…

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A closer look…

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The carousel…

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And the agonizing-looking horses in there…

Nara Dreamland - Horses

The Swan Cycle, some kind of flying little boats, and there are so many more attractions in there 🙂

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And don’t miss the haunted house!

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Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is the modern section of the park; with video-games, attractions accompanied by loud music in the background.

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A little look inside it…

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The noisy but very fun Flash Dance.

Nara Dreamland - Flash Dance III

And more interestingly, its woody roller coaster! Here is Aska, the most famous attraction of Nara Dreamland.

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Its name comes from Aska, a neighbor city of Nara which was a former capital of Japan more than 1500 years ago.

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The praises of this roller coaster are common and recurrent on the Internet. Thus it is amazing to see it being left behind, slowly taken over by the plants.

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The woody rollers-coasters have an advantage over the ones made of steel: they shake more. Also, they make sound like a big monster which makes it even more interesting and impressive.

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I would have loved to try this one! They are getting rare so the cost of maintenance must be very high.

abandoned, amusement-park, asia, attraction-park, haikyo, japan, japanese, kansai, nara, ruin, theme-park, urban exploration, urbex

That’s it for now. The sun is too high, so it is better to leave now. But actually it was way more difficult to get out than to get in. There were too many people around the park, plus the guard must be high on coffee and vitamins with his eyes wide opened now. I therefore jumped and run very quickly ouf of the park, never looked back, jumped into my car and drove away. That ended my aventure at the city of Nara.

Update: I lived in Nara for one year, went back to Nara Dreamland 20-30x more, so I have two articles more about it. The Abandoned Roller-coasters of Nara Dreamland and Nara Dreamland: The End of a Dream .

And for more awesome content about Japan, follow Jordy Meow on Instagram ! 🎵

commentaires

Wow…I didn’t even know you had been in Nara two years ago!  It’s quite amazing…similar to Six Flags New Orleans.  The first photo is very nice!  I didn’t find the park’s colours to be bad, but the mist really helped to add an element of mystery to my own photos.  🙂

But apparently Six Flags is much bigger, right? That was Tong said, he was a bit surprised to find out that Nara Dreamland was actually a relatively “small” attraction park. Haha, in this 2 years-old article, as I wasn’t happy with the original colors, I switched everything to HDR and deleted the raws! That’s why the pictures here look a bit odd… though I don’t dislike them. I will write another post about Nara Dreamland with more recent pictures, hopefully it will be better.

Hmmm…comparing sizes is difficult.  Nara’s park area is larger, but Six Flags’ overall area is larger.  Check out these Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=30.051111,-89.934417&ll=30.051934,-89.935734&spn=0.010512,0.01929&t=h&z=16 (Nara) vs. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=34.7,135.824167&ll=34.699496,135.822816&spn=0.009985,0.01929&t=h&z=16 (Six Flags).  The square area is very similar, but Six Flags is more compact.

It will be an interesting contrast to see the park without the mist!

I should have contacted you while I was in Japan!  As you may have heard, our urbex plans for April 22-27 were completely changed on us after I had arrived, so I was lucky to even see Nara.  Luckily, I was able to spend time with a friend in Yokohama.  🙂

Haha, just got surprised and impressed by the isometric display on Google Maps while zooming on Six Flag! We don’t have this feature in Japan yet. Mmm, they actually look very similar those two parks. Which one do you prefer?

Yes you should have, but I thought you were busy! Tong planned his trip with me for a while. I heard about your urbex plans being changed, but it was just about Matsuo, right? Or was it… much more? At least, yes, you went to Nara Dreamland, and it’s one of the best location 🙂

It’s difficult to say which park I prefer. They’re both very interesting! My all-time personal favourite photo is from Six Flags, so I’ll choose that location. 🙂  http://www.flickr.com/photos/motionblur/5895814044/

Tong didn’t mention he was doing a trip with you…which is a little strange.  He asked in February if he could join me in Japan.  We made plans to meet up with Ikumi from April 23-27.  When Ikumi cancelled those plans, Tong didn’t seem as interested in meeting up.  We tried to meet up for lunch one day, but that didn’t happen.  At least now I know why he asked me how to get into Nara Dreamland!  😉

The picture is awesome! With such a picture, I understand that Six Flags it’s your favorite! 🙂

Ha, sneaky Tong! But he’s rather the quiet type anyways, isn’t he? But I know he was really disappointed… as he really wanted to go to Matsuo Mine. And about that, thanks, it was easier getting in thanks to you. Actually the first time I went I just climbed the real fence, it was harder, but I thought it was a bit safer.

 Thanks about my star trails photo!  I was happy to assist with entering Nara too!  🙂

I will dig around for some scanned in photos I have of Dreamland. I don’t have them on my computers here in Lansing, but I probably have them on my computer at our retirement home in northern Wisconsin. I went there as a kid in 1965 or 1966 (I would have been 12 or 13) with a bunch of other kids that attended Chofu Junior HIgh and lived on the Kanto Mura base or on the Fuchu Air Station base a mile of two to the west of Chofu.

You have been to Dreamland too? That’s really interesting you went when it opened and that you took pictures there! I would really love to see… let me know if you can scan them and I will make them available for everybody to see. Thanks a lot Brian!

I believe it would be better if you didn’t change the colours of the photographs like you did with part 2 but they are still amazing! Congrats! 🙂

Of course Kostas ! Most photos are really ugly here but I am just keeping the article as it was my first explore of that place… too bad, but those are good memories as well.

Imagine one moment if an attraction operator where to go inside this park for fun. Let’s hope there is no more electricity. lol But, it would be fun to see if these attractions still work! (I was an attraction operator and if I could I would really like to try making one of those coaster move again. It would be sooo thrilling! (lol))

Apparently there is still electricity in the park 😉 But I doubt we can actually activate those attractions still. Haha, you can try activate them as an urban explorer! Better run after that 😀

If those attractions still have electricity, the only things needed are the keys for the operators and those for the mantaining crew and someone whose not afraid of going to check some parts of the attractions (check-up to see if, by exemple, the trains will, at least, stop). I’m not fond of heights… So only a small attraction, uh. (Laugh)

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See inside Japan’s abandoned Nara Dreamland amusement park

James Gabriel Martin

May 17, 2017 • 2 min read

The entrance to haunted looking Nara Dreamland, designed to look like a castle.

The entrance to haunted looking Nara Dreamland, designed to look like a castle.

Built in 1961 in Japan’s Nara Prefecture, Nara Dreamland was an amusement park conceived in the hopes that it would match the success that Disneyland had enjoyed in California. It was not to be however, and in 2006 the park closed, following years of falling attendance numbers. With demolition of the site now underway, a photographer has shared captivating images taken last year, showing it as it lay for a decade, abandoned and forgotten in time.

The entrance to haunted looking Nara Dreamland, designed to look like a castle.

Created by Japanese businessman Kunizu Matsuo, Nara Dreamland was constructed to look as similar to Disneyland as possible, with a large castle at the entrance-way, a Main-Street-USA-style walkway and a range of rides.

Mainstreet of Nara Dreamland which lay forgotten and abandoned

Prior to opening, Matsuo had met with Walt Disney to discuss the prospect of bringing the park to Japan , and the two men collaborated on some designs. However, the deal was abandoned, and Nara Dreamland opened with its own characters and branding.

Merry-go-round horses at the abandoned Nara Dreamland park in Japan

At its peak, the amusement park attracted approximately 1.6 million visitors a year. However, the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in 1983 and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in 2001 meant severe competition for the park, leading to its decline and eventual closure.

An eerie looking character at Nara Dreamland.

The images of the abandoned 32-hectare site were taken by Simone Armer, a photographer and blogger from South Africa who was inspired to explore the remnants of the park.

An abandoned camera shop at Nara Dreamland amusement park in Nara Japan

“As a kid, I always daydreamed about what it would be like to explore places like shopping malls and theme parks after closing time. I first read about the abandoned park online when I was still studying at university in South Africa, about five or six years ago, and just thought it was the coolest thing. I never imagined I’d eventually end up living Japan but when I got here, I knew I had to make a plan to go,” Simone told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Overgrowth on a roller coaster ride at Nara Dreamland

The series shows eerie, abandoned streets, graffiti-tagged rides, overgrown buildings and dust-covered objects left behind. The years following its closure transformed the park into another type of attraction, popular with urban explorers and fans of abandoned spaces .

Graffiti on the outside of a bus in nara dreamland japan

Demolition of the park is expected to be ongoing until next year. More of Simone’s photography is available on her website .

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Nara Dreamland Castle

With the success of Disney theme parks drawing crowds from all across the globe, several other competitors have tried to follow in the Mouse’s footsteps. Though some have found success and developed their own unique brand in the theme park world, there are others that were not quite as fortunate to have a long lasting legacy in the industry. There have been many closures of theme parks and amusement parks worldwide as a result of declining popularity or mounting debt, but none quite compare to the lonely and whimsical, Nara Dreamland.

Dreamland opened near Nara, Japan in 1961 as an attempt to bring some of the fantastical and magical atmosphere of Disneyland across the ocean. Dreamland operated steadily for 45 years before finally closing in August of 2006 due to declining popularity. 

Overhead Nara Dreamland

During its 45 years of operation, Dreamland boasted a handful of wooden and steel coasters, a boat ride, a log flume ride, Go Karts, a dark ride, a carousel, and a spinning teacup ride similar to the one in Disneyland. At its peak, the park recorded attendance at around 1.7 million visitors every year. The park enjoyed a little over twenty years of success with little to no competition. 

Then, in 1983, everything began to change. With the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, Dreamland began to notice a decline in attendance as more guests began to prefer visiting the official Disney theme park. The park was now recording around a million visitors per year, and things would only get worse for the park as time went on.

Dreamland during operation

In 2001, Tokyo DisneySea and Universal Studios: Japan opened and took a large bite out of Dreamland’s attendance numbers. After this, Dreamland lost more than half of its attendance, and the park’s condition worsened with many of the rides breaking down or becoming rusted. Finally in late August of 2006, the plug was pulled and Nara Dreamland closed for good, leaving behind 45 years of fond memories and laughter.

After the park’s closure, Dreamland remained in place, entirely abandoned for ten years. The decade of disuse left the remaining structures to decay and be overtaken by weeds and foliage. Most of the rides were left intact when the park closed, including its iconic corkscrew coaster that became a quick favorite of urban explorers taking in the sights of the abandoned park. You can see footage of the abandoned Nara Dreamland in the video embedded below which was posted by Bright Sun Films in October 2016.

Unfortunately, the ending for Nara Dreamland’s remains came in 2016, a decade after the park’s closure. After no bids were made for the property in 2014, demolition was the next best option. Demolition of the site began in October, 2016, and continued into the following year. Finally, the site was cleared of nearly all remnants including the pastel-colored buildings lining Main Street, the wooden coasters, the ride vehicles, and even the picturesque corkscrew coaster. 

The cleared site is supposedly now designated to be used as housing for the elderly. The loss of this lonely and once-beloved park is felt deeply by urban explorers and theme park enthusiasts who had the chance to visit during its heyday. Now, this abandoned marvel has become another ghost, forever remembered in theme park history.

Did you ever visit Nara Dreamland? Let us know your experiences and thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.

nara dreamland ghost

Ellie is a contributing feature writer for Theme Park Tourist. Although she lives out of state, she makes frequent trips to the Orlando parks and is particularly fond of the Universal Orlando Resort. Her favorite ride is VelociCoaster and her go-to snack at the resort is a Big Pink doughnut from Springfield!

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Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS]

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Built in 1961, this Japanese theme park was a Disneyland knockoff. Visitors had all but stopped coming by 2006, so the amusement park was closed. It was not demolished and became a playground for urban explorer photographers. Have a beer and enjoy this photo tour of abandoned Nara Dreamland. Photo #1 by © Bram Dauw

Nara Dreamland was closed and abandoned in August of 2006. This photo of the Screw roller coaster was taken 5 years later in August 2011 . Photo #2 by © Ralph Mirebs

Today: Satellite and Street View of the defunct Japanese theme park. It is located in Nara which is about 2 hours outside of Osaka, Japan. Photo #3 by Google / GeoEye Maps

Yes, like abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans , Nara Dreamland has security guards. If caught exploring, you could be arrested and fined. We are grateful to the photographers who dared to explore so we can tag along on their illegal tour. This is derelict Nara Dreamland as of 3-3-11. Photo #4 by © Bram Dauw

The wooden roller coaster Aska was in operation from 1998 to 2006. It’s 3,547 feet 11 inches in length. Here’s the abandoned amusement park in August 2011 from Aska. Photo #5 by © Ralph Mirebs

Nature reclaiming Aska, September 2010 . According to Wikipedia , Aska was based on the wooden roller coaster ‘The Cyclone’ at Coney Island. Photo #6 by © Michael John Grist

Screw coaster cars, August 2011 . This double corkscrew roller coaster operated from 1979 to 2006 . It was a “single train with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders.” Photo #7 by © Ralph Mirebs

October 2010 : High noon abandoned Main Street. In Japan, ruins of abandoned places are called haikyo, but haikyo is also associated with urban exploration or urbex. Photo #8 by © Jordy Meow

Faded dreams April 2011. According to an urban explorer , “Nara Dreamland is a rip-off of Disneyland in Anaheim. Disneyland was opened in 1955, Nara Dreamland followed in 1961. You have copies of the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Adventureland, Main Street USA, Autopia, Skyway, Tea Party Cup Ride, Submarine Voyage, Flying Saucers, the monorail, the fire station, a pirate ship, double decker omnibusses, vintage cars, and a train station (called DreamStation). Even the entrance looked the same!” Photo #9 by © Michael Libby

Climbing inside Aska, August 2011 . The roller coaster database states this ride had “7 cars per train. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 28 riders per train.” Photo #10 by © Ralph Mirebs

Witch and werewolf at abandoned Nara Dreamland, Japan, in 2008 . Photo #11 by © drzeus

July 2010 . A former park visitor explained , “This was a maze building with a difference. You were given a card on the way in and had to find 3 checkpoints inside and get the card stamped.” Photo #12 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

September 2010 : Merry-go-round under the stars. Photo #13 by © Michael John Grist

In July 2010 , the photographer wrote, “The bumper cars, screw coaster, merry-go-round and even Japan’s largest wooden roller coaster were still intact and almost tempting to climb aboard.” Photo #14 by © Kyle Merriman

Carousel as seen in October 2010 . Photo #15 by © Jordy Meow

Dried up derelict water fountain in 2010 . Photo #16 by © Florian Seidel via Abandoned Kansai

Dreamland on rainy day: April 27th, 2011. Photo #17 by © Michael Libby

Nature reclaiming Nara Dreamland monorail in 2006 , the year the park closed. Photo #18 by © kore/okamo

Top of Aska (98′ 5″) on August 15, 2011 . The coaster went 49.7 mph, had 2.8 G forces, and the ride lasted 1:45. Photo #19 by © Ralph Mirebs

Main Street in October 2010. The photographer wrote , “WARNING: The park being not colorful at all (or in an awful way), at the time of working on the pictures I converted everything to strong HDR and deleted the originals. Later, really disappointed by it I tried to re-work on them, and try to them look a bit softer.” Photo #20 by © Jordy Meow

February 2012 : Snowy abandoned Nara Dreamland. Photo #21 by © Florian Seidel

October 2010 : Mold and mildew creeping in. Photo #22 by © Jordy Meow

Going up. The Screw Coaster was 1,253 feet and 3 inches long . It reached 55.9 mph and the ride lasted 1:20. Photo #23 by © Ralph Mirebs

August 2011 : Screw Coaster and castle. Photo #24 by © Ralph Mirebs

Sinking boats in abandoned Jungle Adventure section. Photo #25 by © Michael Libby

Snowy Aska on February 2, 2012 . Photo #26 by © Florian Seidel

Nature reclaims abandoned Nara Dreamland’s main attraction, the Aska roller coaster. In 2010, the urban explorer / photographer wrote , “I’ve been to Nara Dreamland three times so far (during daytime and nighttime), spotted security twice and got caught once.” Photo #27 by © Florian Seidel via Abandoned Kansai

2008 , no lines for Aska. Photo #28 by © drzeus

August 2010 , overgrown lineup. Photo #29 by © Jordy Meow

August 2011 :5 years after abandonment, nature is starting to take back portions of Nara Dreamland. Photo #30 by © Ralph Mirebs

Waiting cable cars. Photo #31 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

Screw Coaster. The photographer noted , “The main entrance, filled with shops, restaurants, makeshift police and fire stations, ticket booths and even a public hall was showing clear signs that the plant life wanted back what was once theirs.” Photo #32 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

Rusty and crusty seen on October 2010 . Photo #33 by © Jordy Meow

Coaster taken over by jungle overgrowth September 2010 . Photo #34 by © Michael John Grist

Aska August 2011 . Photo #35 by © Ralph Mirebs

Top left: Nara Dreamland, Main Street in October 1963; Top right: Abandoned main street now; Middle left: Dreamland main entrance then; Middle right: Main entrance now; Bottom left: Screw roller coaster in 2004 while still open; Bottom right: Abandoned Screw coaster today. Photo #36 by © kevf , #37 by © Kyle Merriman via Imagineering Disney , #38 by © kore / okama , #39 by © Florian Seidel , #40 by © Theme Park Review , #41 by © Kyle Merriman via indoblogger

Abandoned waterpark ride in October 2010 . Photo #42 by © Jordy Meow

Lonely Viking ride at derelict Dreamland in August 2011 . Photo #43 by © Ralph Mirebs

Inside the Matterhorn-like mountain where the photographer captured this rusted heavy machinery with heavy overgrowth in September 2010. He wrote , “A coaster ride goes round the outside, while the cable-car goes through.” Photo #44 by © Michael John Grist

Overgrown as seen in April 2011. Photo #45 by © Michael Libby

Excellent. August 2011 : Nature reclaims surveillance cameras. Photo #46 by © Ralph Mirebs

Some sort of swan-mobiles hidden behind weeds in March 2011. Photo #47 by © Bram Dauw

Top left: Nara Dreamland castle in 2005 while still open with the British park mascot; Top right: Abandoned knockoff Disney castle in April 2011; Bottom left: Snow wtf White while Dreamland was open; Bottom right: Derelict Dreamland kiddie rides. Photo #48 by © Ivan Lucas , #49 by © Michael Libby , #50 by © MSN Money , #51 by © Florian Seidel

Control booth in the ruins of Nara Dreamland. March 2011 : Control booth. Photo #52 by © Bram Dauw

Urban explorers often have to dodge security and remember someone may be watching. “Say cheese,” the photographer wrote . He arrived at the park “a little after midnight. The streets were quiet and calm as we walked the 30 minutes to the Dreamland site. Both of us were pretty excited. There was always the possibility that the security guard might do night sweeps. There was still the threat of fines, motion sensors, alarms.” Photo #53 by © Michael John Grist

Artistic shot of “pink attraction” ride in October 2010 . Photo #54 by © Jordy Meow via haikyo

Dreamland no more October 2010 . Photo #55 by © Jordy Meow

HDR from July 2010 . Photo #56 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

July 2010 : ‘Dreamland Sleeping Beauty.’ Photo #57 by © Kyle Merriman via Speigel Online

03.03.2011: Dreamland Abandoned Park. Photo #58 by © Bram Dauw

Pirates, July 2010 . Photo #59 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

October 2010 : Castle, maybe more like Grimm Brothers than Disneylike Dreamland? Photo #60 by © Jordy Meow

Abandoned pink Cadillac, March 2011. Photo #61 by © Bram Dauw

July 2010 : Derelict dreams or urbex fantasy? Photo #62 by © Kyle Merriman via BrandKnewMe

Nightmare at abandoned Dreamland? Photo #63 by © Bram Dauw

Sunrise. Watch out for security! Photo #64 by © Michael John Grist

69 Responses to “Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS]”

Wow what a beautiful place, Id move right in!~

Fantastic photos and location – an audio field recordist’s dream!

wonder why this dreamland is abandoned….

It basically just took Disneyland… degraded it to a six flags level and people started to catch on and this Dreamland was shut down for several copyright issues but it is still so cool to see pictures of an abandoned theme park like this one and how much it looks like Disneyland… what were those people thinking.

Thats not right.

It shut down because a bigger and newer park oppend called universal and they lost the costumers to keep it going, its not because of copyright issues, lol.

Yeah, what were those people thinking…for 45 YEARS! It’s not like it opened and flopped because people hated it or it got shut down in a few years because Disney came after them for copyright infringement. It lasted almost five decades! You think Disney just “caught on” after 45 years and then went after them? Please.

Japan does not have likeness copyright laws, there was and is nothing Disney could do about this blunt clone. And before construction, Walt Disney was actually asked tons of questions about Disneyland by the designers, which is willingly gave up. Ole Walt was actually more pissed off that they has the balls to drill him for questions, when they were secretly creating a clone of his park.

That said, it closed down because of attendance numbers. The Japanese don’t drive out to far away locations, like Americans will. So as other parks were created closer to major cities, attendance kept plummeting and it eventually closed down.

I guess this shows us we should not copy someone elses vision. Erie but familiar.

[…] Once-in-a-lifetime picture of lightning striking San Francisco’s Bay Bridge Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS] The Nenets of Siberia – In Focus – The Atlantic Peruvian miners rescued from collapsed […]

This looks like a lonely theme park

Yes … the design is clearly needed to be changed 🙂 What would be brighter , nebudu (

Thank you for posting these! Hauntingly beautiful.

Hauntingly beautiful.You are macabre. What is nice hier except the photos? The human cretinism to ruin the nature to build something beautiful and to destroy it? Sorry i speak not english i need the google to translate. But I can write so much: that civilization is very, very sick. Our destruction become of God a blessing for the next civilization!

Learn english if you are going to post in an American forum!!!!!!!

*fart noise*

americanbully

You’re are an idiot.

Sad to look at, but I can see how a knockoff would lose business once Japan got a real Disney park.

[…] Para mais fotos: http://www.lovethesepics.com/2012/03/illegal-tour-abandoned-amusement-park-nara-dreamland-65-pics/ […]

How much? and when can I move in?

What a shame. Looks like it was a very nice place before. Unfortunately the scrap steel boys will eventually eat it up. Wish my country could have some of those rides, even if they are old (Nicaragua.) Wonder what happened. China also has one of these skeleton parks and they never got off the ground. What goes around comes around.

Awesome collection of photos. Theme park is very much amazing!!…Lovely pics

[…] These photos from an abandoned amusement park in Nara, Japan which from the sounds of it shut down when they realised trying to run a copycat Disneyland in a country that already had a Disneyland probably wasn’t a great idea. […]

I think this place is awesome. You call it a rip off disney but hey everyone deserves to go to Disney even if it’s not the real one. Not everyone can afford to go to the real disney. If I could I would buy this place, clean it up, and reopen it. That’s just me.

I feel sorrow looking at these pictures. This whole Dreamland must be lonely, waiting for people to come and have fun. But it is now, just a faded dream. 🙁

Awesome photos. HDR, in particular, really lends itself to highlighting everything about abandonment and subsequent degeneration. Believe me, the risks taken to get these photos are really appreciated by those of us Urbex wannabies (me especially) who don’t get the opportunity or don’t have the balls to go and check these places out ourselves. They really capture the desolation and deterioration so well. I love abandoned theme parks. There’s nothing so captivating as a place originally designed to bring joy, laughter and fun which, once closed and in the process of deterioration, seems to then reflect the exact opposite ambience to that which was originally intended. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Even if Disney had a hand in shutting this park down, I find it REALLY weird that no other company wanted (or was allowed)to purchase the land, boats, cars, or rides in general. I live near a park and they are constantly buying & selling attractions from all around the world. They transport used rides. Weird. I guess when Disney came to town they cleaned house & obliterated the competition.

Great Pics! Thanks for sharing!

[…] Men det kanske det är värt? […]

[…] Nara Dreamland […]

I find it interesting here that the bulk of the comments here are about copyright instead of all the waste portrayed in these photos.

It took a LOT of resources to make this place. Now it sits there rotting. In a world on its knees because of waste, I find it really sad that the focus here is on copyrights.

@AJ Klein, if it hadn’t have been for copyright issues, the themepark would never have shut down and hence, less waste.

Seriously? You really believe that? That it took Disney 45 YEARS to get it shut down for copyright issues? Pay attention. Yes, the park closed in 2006, but it didn’t open in 2000 or 2002…it opened in 1961!

And people want to bemoan the “waste”? Is EVERY business that opened in 1961 still open? How are the resources that it took to build this park–in 1961!–wasted when it operated and entertained families for 45 YEARS?! I guess people shouldn’t build ANYTHING then, because in a few DECADES it might go out of business and “waste” those resources. Sheesh.

And as for “reopening” it. Um, business pros, there’s a REASON it closed (no, NOT copyright), you know? As in losing business to a bigger, newer competitor? Like the way businesses go out of business every day? So why would that reason suddenly disappear and the park be a smashing success again if it suddenly reopened?

Face it: It had its time, filled a need during that time, and now its time has passed. No waste. No “misuse” of resources. Sad, yes, as we find all aging and dying sad. Look at us, as humans. Should we have never lived because one day our time, too, will have passed?

Couldn’t agree more. Things come, things go. Just the way it is. I find it a great thing that the place hasn’t been demolished and we are lucky enough to enjoy these fantastic photographs (even more lucky for the people who can get to go there and explore). It could just as easy be a completely cleared area with just a few concrete blocks left around as a reminder. The sad day will come when there is nothing left to make people remember that it ever existed.

[…] Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS] […]

The cadillac man! Noone speaking of that? 😀 Itlooks good enough to repair and ride.

Exactly what I was thinking. That poor car just sitting there collecting dust 🙁 it truly breaks my heart

[…] More photos: Link […]

no queue’s!!!!!! brilliant

OMG!!!!!! How wouldnt I know about this amazing place.

What a photo clarity & daring this photographer has!

This place looks so stunning especially the Wooden roller coaster

…Am I the only one who noticed the guy in the forest, in the boats picture?

It’s not a guy; it’s a dummy of a Native American (American Indian) that is a part of the Jungle Adventure ride at Disneyland (yet another thing they copied–gotta admire their attention to detail!).

would love to buy that Cadillac!!!!!!!!!!!

[…] from: Love These Pics and theme park […]

These are gorgeous. BUT THE PINK CADDIE. Somebody needs to bring some gas, fill her up and ride her out.

[…] Fonte da imagem: Reprodução/Lovethesepics […]

[…] Images found Here, Here, Here, and Here. […]

I want that Cadillac

[…] ‘Atlantis’ School’s Out for Summer! School’s Out Forever! Salute to Graduates! [46 PICS] Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS] Ghost Town: Bodie Historic State Park Urbex: Abandoned, Burned, Semi-Demolished Emge Foods Meat […]

The park was closed when a black guy was caught peeing in the fountain at the main entrance

This is so fascinating. It looks like they literally closed it for the day and never came back. These pictures are incredible.

C’mon folks, the place lasted 45 YEARS! It’s not unusual for a facility like that to go away after a decade. Disneyland and Knotts are the exceptions for longevity, supported by a healthy (expensive) marketing campaign and booming communities around them. If this place was built in the wrong area without a supporting population, it’s a miracle that it lasted as long as it did. People won’t spend money to go to a park that looks old or tacky… if the facility and its’ features aren’t kept in top shape they won’t stay for long or make a return trip. Blade the place flat and start over. Fun while it lasted.

I’m so going to this next time I’m in Japan…

This reminds me of many other parks that lost it luster. But in its current state it makes a great place for those futuristic movies where earth has lost the battle. Anyone remember the movie “Hannah” where one of the scenes was an abandon amusement park. I wonder ifvit was done here or Germany.

It was filmed at Spreepark, Germany.

[…] Image source […]

I actually visited this park back in1983 when I was living in Japan. It was just off the rail line that connects the cities of Osaka and Nara. We visited in March when the hundreds of cherry trees that were throughout the park were just coming in to bloom. Amazing to see how nature is reclaiming the site.

Wow! Great collection. Done very well. Grateful to see them.

So you said there was security there, so you’re saying there were like infra-red trip lines and modern cameras? I assume you must’ve gone in some camouflage gear and gone all metal gear solid on the guards.

Why has ths not be re-done?

and why the hell is security still around?

It’s a shame that this has gone to ruins but a great set of pictures 🙂

[…] […]

My kingdom to go back in time and spend a day there. Im not a rollar coaster man but I will LOVE that water slide

As crowded as Japan is, I’m surprised it has not been torn down for land to build housing.

[…] Articolo: Maggy Bettolla Foto: lovethesepics.com […]

[…] Un magnifico reportage fotografico pubblicato da LoveThesePics […]

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Nara Dreamland – An Abandoned Theme Park In Japan

Nara Dreamland

Nara Dreamland in Nara, Japan was built in 1961 and was based on the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California . It featured its own version of Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Autopia, Matterhorn and Jungle Cruise. It eventually closed permanently in 2006 and was left abandoned. It has begun to fall into a state of disrepair and is a favourite destination for Japan’s urban explorers, or haikyoists, as they’re known.

The original Disneyland opened in Anaheim in California in 1955. Nara Dreamland followed just 6 years later, opening to the public in 1961. The park was almost a carbon copy of Disneyland. It featured copies of the themed areas – Main Street USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Attractions that were copied included Sleeping Beauty Castle, Autopia, Skyway, Tea Cup Ride, Submarine Voyage, the monorail, the pirate ship, double decker omnibusses, vintage cars and the train. From above, the layout of the park was almost identical. Even the entrance looked the exact same.

The Castle in Nara Dreamland

After World War II, industry in Japan was booming. The United States helped rebuild the economy after the war and American culture became extremely popular in Japan. One Japanese businessman was keen to capitalise on the trend. Kanizo Matsuo, president of the Matsuo Entertainment Company, visited the newly opened Disneyland on a trip to Los Angeles. He was immediately impressed and sought a meeting with Walt Disney. His plan was to build a similar park in Nara, Japan’s old capital , and licence the designs and characters from Disney. Matsuo began working with WED Enterprises, the subsidiary of Disney behind construction of Disneyland and the precursor for what became known as Walt Disney Imagineering .

Abandoned castle at Nara Dreamland

Kunizo Matsuo began construction of the Japanese version Disneyland in Nara under the company name Japanese Dream Sightseeing Company. As building progressed however, Matsuo took issue with the licence fee being sought by Disney for use of its famous characters. Rather than abandon the project, JDSC paid WED Enterprises for the help they’d received in building the park to that point and created their own branding and characters for the newly renamed Nara Dreamland. It opened on July 1st 1961. Ran-chan and Dori-chan were the park’s mascots.

Nara Dreamland was popular for a time and welcomed 1.6 million guests at its peak. Despite starting out as a carbon copy of Disneyland, other attractions were added over the years to take it in another direction. A wooden roller coaster called Aska was built, based on  The Cyclone at Coney Island . There was Screw Coaster designed by Arrow Development.

Abandoned screw coaster at Nara Dreamland

Disneyland finally came to Japan on April 15th 1983 when the Oriental Land Company opened Tokyo Disneyland . They had done what Kunizo Matsuo had failed to do and successfully licensed the Disney brand and characters for their park. It was a massive success and visitor numbers at Nara Dreamland collapsed. The supermarket chain Daiei bought it later in 1993 but didn’t make any significant investments. In 2001, Universal Studios Japan opened in Osaka , just 40 kilometres (25 miles) away and attracted 11 million guests in its first year. Tokyo Disneysea also opened that year , turning Tokyo Disneyland into a two park resort. Nara Dreamland struggled on until August 31st 2006 before closing. It was in an extreme state of disrepair by the end.

Nara Dreamland joins a long list of abandoned theme parks in Asia including Wonderland in China and Okpo Land in South Korea . The theme park was sold to SK Housing in 2016 and it was finally demolished in 2017 to make way for housing.

4 thoughts on “Nara Dreamland – An Abandoned Theme Park In Japan”

no more adds please

i need more info about the aska coaster.

i need more info about the castle

i need more info for my research project and quick please otherwise i will get a F-and flunk 5th grade and also please publish a book and ship it to me.

your friend, colin.

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Journey into Dreamland

Photos from inside Nara Dreamland, Japan. The park was abandoned in 2006 and nothing’s been done with it since. It’s all locked off.. but I found a way in.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

Updated: August 21, 2023

Getting into Nara Dreamland

I don’t think this was entirely legal. You see, I had heard about an amusement park in the Japanese city of Nara that had been abandoned – just left as it was and untouched for years – and it had intrigued me.

I had decided that I wanted to see it for myself and so began my plan to journey into Nara Dreamland.

Doing some research online, I had come across some recurring phrases: security guards, fines, police, arrests. They’re not the kind of words you want to read about a place you’re thinking of going into… but they didn’t deter me.

After all, I wasn’t planning to do any damage or cause any trouble. I just wanted some photos of what sounded like a fascinating place.

I studied Google Earth to get an idea of the layout of the park. It was quite large and as I virtually toured the exterior I looked for a possible entry point. When I had found what I was looking for, I was ready for the mission.

I arrived at the boundary of Nara Dreamland at about six in the morning. The timing was intentional – partly to minimise the chance of getting caught and partly so the light would be more interesting for my photographs.

The maps online hadn’t shown the barbed wire at my chosen entry point but I wasn’t going to let it stand in the way. I found a section of the fence that didn’t have too many sharp and rusty wire barbs and jumped, grabbing onto a pole and hoisting myself up.

I was in… or so I thought.

About 20 metres further on there was another fence made entirely of barbed wire. Luckily there was a small hole in one corner – probably made by previous explorers – and I was able to squeeze through it. Now I was definitely in.

My heart was beating faster than usual. It was cold and my breath came out like mist… when I wasn’t holding it.

I walked as quietly as possible down the access road until I emerged between a huge wooden rollercoaster and a Matterhorn-style cable car station. I began snapping photos as the sun rose over the rides.

Nara Dreamland, Japan

Nara Dreamland was built in 1961 and was apparently inspired by Disneyland in California. You can see the influences in the large Matterhorn mountain, the fairytale castle, the monorail and the main street.

It’s not nearly as big as the park in Anaheim but the Japanese tried to replicate the same feel.

Not that you can tell these days, of course. The park was closed in 2006 because of low visitor numbers. But rather than sell off the rides, or look at an alternative use for the land, it was just abandoned.

Nothing has been done to it at all.

The ticket booths still stand next to the ride entrances, the carriages still sit on the tracks of the rollercoasters, even the chairs and the coffee machines are still in the restaurants.

If you just stumbled across somewhere like this, you would be sure that the whole population had suddenly fled because of a nuclear holocaust or something.

Exploring Nara Dreamland

In the end, I spent about an hour in the park. At first I crept between buildings and looked around corners before I walked out into the roads. I was genuinely worried I would encounter security and have the police called on me. I had read about that happening to someone else who had gone exploring.

But I had no trouble this time. Being overly cautious, I didn’t climb up to the top of any of the rollercoasters – which looked like it would have been possible. And I didn’t go to every single corner of the park, deciding not to push my chances after I had seen all the highlights.

Still, I could feel the adrenaline pumping the whole time.

It was an extremely eerie feeling to be in this enormous amusement park all alone. You could faintly hear the traffic from the streets around it but, otherwise, the only sounds were the birds in the trees and my feet occasionally stepping on some gravel.

I could tell that the weather and nature were having their way with the whole complex – paint was peeling off, weeds were growing, rust was forming. But that made everything even more interesting with the texture of time.

After all that effort to get in there to take some photos, it’s only fair I share some of my favourites with you. This is what Nara Dreamland looks like now it’s been put to sleep.

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN NARA

The Japanese heritage of Ancient Nara can be found in a lot of the city’s authentic accommodation options.

For a budget option, Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi has comfortable beds and a lovely common area.

An affordable hotel option is NARA Visitor Center and Inn in the centre of town.

For something a bit special, Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring has an onsen in the hotel.

And if you’re looking for a luxury option, the Nara Hotel is probably the best in the city!

More stories about Japan

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  • A 3-day itinerary for Tokyo
  • Tips to save money in Japan
  • How do to a Kamakura day trip
  • The best things to do in Osaka
  • Exploring the World Heritage of Kyoto
  • Things to see in Kanazawa
  • What to do in Sapporo
  • Seeing snow monkeys in the hot springs

109 thoughts on “Journey into Dreamland”

Neat photos! Love the one with the robot in the foreground.

It’s surprising that everything was left as it is and that they didn’t sell off any of the fixtures and fittings.

Yeah, that’s what I couldn’t understand. I wonder if they’re hoping to reopen it one day. Or maybe the owner isn’t quite ready to emotionally admit that it’s all over.

Its a shame because none of that cooking equipment can be used again by now. Could have been great equipment for a church or community center or something since it was literally just thrown away.

Hi Michael! I just stumbled with your amazing blog while doing a little research about the park. You mentioned that you looked up on Google Earth the park to get an idea of the layout. As I´m also very curious I looked it up as well. Sadly it looks like it has been demolished… what do you think happened? (sorry if my English is crappy…it´s my second language but I try my best)

Based of the number of deaths , I think not.

My apologies, not sure but seems like previous owner previous owner owed the city of Nara 650 million Yen in ground tax, so the city foreclosed Dreamland and sold it to the only bidder for 730 million Yen – a real estate company called SK Housing. SK Housing’s plan is still unknown.

Awesome to have walked the roller coaster! – even if you got to do a part of it.

I only walked down a very small part of it. It could have been quite dangerous to have gone to the top because I’m not sure if any of the wood is rotten these days. It didn’t seem worth the risk (and I didn’t particularly want to be up there if a security guard came by…)

we should buy it for fun

I’ve read about this and seen photos and I certainly want to go, but I didn’t know it’s so hard to get in … and maybe even forbidden 🙁 …

After all I’m female and I live here in Japan. I want to avoid getting into trouble. Your photos are great and really tempting. I’d love to go there!

Love the shots with plants creeping over the roller coaster.

Yeah, it looked pretty cool to see the way they roller coasters have been overtaken by nature. It’s weird that nobody comes around and tidies up at all… but it makes for some good photos! 🙂

Fantastic photos! I have a love-hate relationship with Nara Dreamland since I ran into security twice there, but I can’t stop being fascinated by the place. (Nevertheless I have no urge to go back…)

So you wouldn’t really recommend visiting, would you? I’d really love to go, but I’m too scared of being caught! ^^;

I wouldn’t recommend anyone does something that is potentially illegal. It would be a risk to go in there and I’m not sure what the consequences would be.

I love your photos of the place! I came across them when I was doing some research. I’m really curious to know what happened when you came across security? That was my fear… and not speaking much Japanese, wasn’t sure how I would handle it.

Very cool, Michael. It’s as if I can hear happy kids and carousel music. Macabre, yet fascinating.

It would be the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel or some kind of horror film, wouldn’t it?

My first thought was surprise that it isn’t being used as a movie set. That main street is perfect for a period story, though the roller coaster and abandoned restaurants do call for something ominous. Great photos! Nara has been a subject of curiosity for me for several years…now I can check it off my bucket list!

Yes! Your photos are awesome and I love the story with it!

The story was actually quite scary at the time. I’m not too sure about the laws and whether I was breaking them. I was really worried about finding out the hard way!

Fantastic photos, sir! The old amusement park always have some rotten (in a good way) aura, I can feel the eerie, the longing, the beautifully tragic air of this used to be happy place for kids. I don’t have word to describe this feeling in English, but I think Japanese term “Mono no aware” would be fit for it.

I’ve heard of this phrase “mono no aware” before. I came across it when I was doing some research into bonsai trees. It’s funny that you mention it because I can see it perfectly now! It’s all about appreciating the transience of life and embracing the imperfections, rather than worrying about them. I love that you’ve given me a whole new look on the park now. Thanks!

Cool! Pretty good exploration and nice pictures! If you are interested in urbex you should check this guy’s page. http://www.totorotimes.com/urban-exploration/nara-dreamland-abandoned-rollercoasters/ He is a French guy living in Tokyo and doing a lot of urbex all around Japan.

Thanks for the link. I found that as well when I was doing some research before going in. Those photos are incredible and I wish I could have made some of mine come out like that. I would definitely recommend that site for anyone interested in urbex in Japan – it’s got some great stuff!

Love the photo of the graffiti… so cute. As always, all photos are great.

Thanks. I wasn’t sure about the graffiti photo… I couldn’t tell if it was cute or boring. I’m glad you appreciated it – makes it all worthwhile! 🙂

Love the stories about forbidden places! Spooky dreamland. I can almost just picture the employees walking out for the last time. Maybe they became travel bloggers 🙂 Great story.

Ha! I hope, for their sake, they didn’t become travel bloggers! I wonder if any of them have gone back and visited the place in its current state. It would probably be a bit depressing.

Very cool! Abandoned places are so creepy and that makes me want to visit them even more! But what’s up with all these abandoned amusement parks? I just read about another one in South Korea. Same idea – instead of selling off what is still in good condition, they just left it to rot.

Maybe it just costs too much to go through the process of selling things – it’s actually cheaper just to leave it all how it is. I would have thought the land would be worth something, though. Unless they’re hoping to revive the place one day.

I love places like this – but I’m not sure if I would have gone in, especially since talking yourself out of the situation would be kinda hard (“Oh, I really didn’t think it would be a problem to have a look since there were only two barbed-wire fences… officer!”). I’ll probably stick to doing all the illegal stuff at home, where I have an idea of what happens to me should I get caught;). But man, the photos are awesome – I’d love to spend a day there. Or move in. How can you go wrong with a place that still has the coffee machines installed?

I think you’re right – I was worried about similar things and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else do it. But I guess I was lucky and the risk paid off for me. I like to think that because I wasn’t planning to do any damage or anything like that, the travel karma gods looked after me for the morning.

You always find the coolest things! What a daredevil, though your photos certainly make it seem worth the risk. Do you think it had such low visitation because there is a Disney in Japan?

Very cool – in a depressingly interesting kinda way. You’re a wild man!

Oh yeah, there was certainly a part of it that was really depressing. It’s sad to see it abandoned like that. Not just closed, but left without any care or thought.

Hello! Nice to meet you.

Now I saw your blog, and it is very interesting. If you like, please come to my blog and, give me your opinion. For example, the place that you want to know, the Japanese food you want to eat, and soon.

I will improve it every day.

Thanks for sharing your blog, Miki. I’ll check it out!

So interesting! I love roller coasters, I don’t think I could go there and not want to try them all out, weeds and all!

If I’d felt like I had a bit more time I might have climbed up the wooden rollercoaster. There was a path along the side, although it’s probably pretty dangerous because some of the wood could be rotten. It probably wouldn’t have been a sensible thing to have done on my own.

The photos are definitely worth the effort.

Thanks. I think so too 🙂

Such an awesome story & experience! I am eager to become a travel writer myself and am inspired by your stories.

So, thanks for the inspiration!

Thanks, Molly – it’s lovely to hear from you. I’m sure you’ll have huge success with your plans. There are lots of ways to travel the world and make a living doing it – travel writing isn’t the only one. And all of them beat being stuck at a desk!! 🙂

Great photos! I wonder how long this abandoned place will remain there.

I get the feeling the owners are hoping it will become a viable business again someday. Otherwise they would have starting selling things off.

I came across this whole Nara Dreamland thing while actually reading wikipedia on the history of disneyland . I have been obsessed ever since . This park is extreamly interesting to me . Was it ever a success? I really want to find pictures of its opening day … do you know where i can find some…

its interesting to me that the park actually lasted for as long as it did … its actually a mix between a family fun center and disneyland/ six flags.

Those pictures were creepy but interesting. I just have the slightest of an urge to go there and ride all the roller coasters! 🙂

Hey Micheal, just passing a comment… =)

love, love, ‘looovvveee’ your photos! Very intriguing and I love the way you expressed yourself emotionally throughout the whole ‘adventure’ of yours. It made me feel of trying something similar. =P You deserve an award for such boldness and amazing photos! Good job!

– Singapore

Thanks so much, Danial. I’m so glad you stopped by. I wouldn’t want to think I’ve inspired people to try something that might be illegal…. but… please do let me know if you go here yourself or to somewhere similar. I have a bit of a fascination with abandoned places like this now!! 🙂

Great Photo’s! And nuts of steel too! Your an absolute legend in my eyes. I especially love the picture of the tracks going under the rollercoaster,great composition,I was properly drawn in. I shall definitely be keeping a keen eye on this site! Your truly an inspiration!

Thanks mate. This was definitely a bit more adventurous than the average day for me – but I really loved it. The place was so stunning in its emptiness (and I didn’t feel too bad I may have been breaking the rules because I wasn’t doing any damage).

Hi Michael! I have a quick question…Is the park still there or was it demolished? Thank you 🙂

It is definitely still there… just locked up! Who knows if they will ever demolish it?

I love these pictures!! There’s an old fun park in my city that I’m planning on exploring in about a week. The owners sold it, and another place tried, but then it went under again, and they just kinda left everything there, the bumper cars, the mini golf, rock wall, all of it. . Any tips on what to bring? Like, what did you personally feel comfortable taking on your trip? And btw, thanks for the inspiration.

It’s still there. I walked around the outside fence this afternoon. A little recon before returning to enter…

Almost reminds me of photos that tunnelbug took of the abandoned Neverland Ranch when all the rides were still there, shortly before MJ died. You should check those out some day if you get a chance. He snuck in on 3 different nights and took amazing photos of the place.

Seeing these photos makes me want to explore many abandoned amusement parks here in the US, as well as abroad.

Also wanted to suggest checking out amazing photos from the Abandoned Six Flags New Orleans. It’s still abandoned. Some of the rides have been salvaged and sold, but most stuff is still there, due to the extensive decay and damage from the hurricane. The Mega Zeph, the Jester, practically all the coasters are still there, and other cool stuff lying around. Some of the rides are still half way in the water as well, due to the Hurricane Katrina, part of why the place closed down, it was because of the forecast of the hurricane.

I just looked up some photos from the New Orleans site. It’s bizarre how similar some of it looks to Nara Dreamland! I guess maybe rusting rollercoasters have the same feel everywhere in the world! 🙂 It sounds a bit trickier to get in there, though. It sounds like the authorities are much stricter. Pity – it would be nice to see a couple of other ones for comparison’s sake.

Love the photos! Am Going to Japan later this year and plan to cycle a lot of Kyoto and Nara. Apparently there is a great bike path. For one riding past, I’d be most excited to stick my head in / around the park. How hard is it to actually get past / thru fences? Is there a recommended entry point? I wouldn’t stay long, but the adventurer in me says. “Take a quick look !

Great photos! I’d heard of this place and was looking for pictures as I’m writing a novel that happens in an abandoned place such as this one, INSPIRING! Thank you

Was very eerie reading the story, but very interesting. I remember as a kid some of the older amusement parks in PA that we used to go to for family or company picnics and I occasionally look them up to see if they are still there, and sure enough they are. Thanks for sharing your journey, awesome!! Glad that you didn’t get caught!! I hope that you alerted someone that you were going there just in case. I would have opted to take a partner in crime I think. Its almost as if I would be afraid one of the rides would have come to life and scared the #### out of me ..lol !!

Very nicely done. Somehow you make me miss a place I have never been to!

Surelly these photos are so beautiful. I love to go there atleast once. It would be a great fun to visit them. Really it is a wonderful world.

got to your pictures thru google. I was stationed in okinawa 87-89 and found an old Spa complex that was also abandoned. They just closed the door and left everything there also. It was pretty creepy, silent, wind going thru the buildings.

It’s unfortunate that there are those non-Japanese that have no respect for the property of others and take advantage of the openness and hospitality of the country. At one time one could visit Tsukiji Fish Market and roam around freely. But then some Gaijins took a joy ride on some machinery and disrupted the place of business and now access inside Tsukiji is restricted.

Very creepy photos. I go to Japan a lot and would love to see it for myself one day. With this level of gaijin interest in the creepy crumbling remnants of the park it’s a wonder some crafty Japanese entrepreneur hasn’t opened it again and charged admission for entry as a curio. I’d pay to get in!

That’s such a good point – it would make a great tourist attraction and I definitely would have paid to get in. There was something thrilling about having to do it with stealth, but you would get the same photos!!

This blog is great, I love the shots you got! I desperately want to visit but I’m also scared of security in a foreign country. I’ll find out next week when I’m in Nara 🙂

Good luck! Let me know how it goes please. Would be curious to hear if anything has changed recently.

I was reading on another blog that it was up for auction sometime within the past 10 years, possibly for other development. I’m so interested in knowing whether or not someone bought it. It’s been a while since anyone has posted about it.

Hmmm… interesting. I would be curious to know too. I did a quick search then and it looks like it went up for auction at the end of 2014 but there were no buyers. Not sure what’s happened since…

I had forgotten all about this place. I was there around 1964. All I really remember was ordering fried spaghetti because it was the only thing I could identify on the menu. That seems like a lifetime ago.

Ha ha ha – I love that story. Amazing! I bet it looks a bit different now to how it did back then! 🙂

Wow! I loved your photos. Thank you to share.

My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed them.

Love your photos and would love to shoot the whole place at night painting it as I go with my lights. Thank you for sharing!

I’m not sure what it would be like at night – I imagine it would be really dark (and probably quite dangerous) so I would be a bit wary about that.

This seems absolutely amazing.. when I go to Japan I’ll make sure im there

It can be tricky to get into and not neccessarily legal so be careful. But, if you do go inside, I would love to hear what you think.

Hi Michael,

Really beautiful, creepy! pictures. We’re currently in Nara and thinking about going to Dreamland tomorrow or the day after. Any advice? 🙂

Hi – sorry I didn’t get back to you in time. How did it go? I would love to hear about your experience to see if anything has changed in the past couple of years.

Loved your pics and I visited the park on a couple of occasions last year…..but was always worried about getting caught.

I recently read that the Dreamland site has been sold (see link below). http://japanpropertycentral.com/2015/11/nara-dreamland-sold-to-osaka-real-estate-company/

I was in Nara again in January, after the sale, and I visited the park again on two occasions and took many pictures (just in case it all gets torn down in the near future). There does not seem to be any security these days and the new owners have not bothered blocking off the entry holes in the fences.

I would like to share my photos with everyone, however I don’t have the computer nouse to set up a site. I can send them to you if you are interested in them, or to someone else who might be interested?

I’d love to see your photos! Perhaps you can upload them to an album on Imgur. What times of day did you visit?

Pathetic. It is most definitely Disneyland visits the Twilight Zone. Amazing that it took from 1961 to 2006, or 45 years, to close. That is a long history for such a nightmarish looking experience. And I am referring to the pre-closure pictures. Pure carnival. Often imitated, never duplicated, the magic of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdoms demonstrate the importance and necessity of making an emotional connection to visitors thru storytelling, intense detail and intentionality via overmanagement. The designers of Dreamland only knew to copy (or attempt to copy) something that they liked and obviously wanted for themselves. Unfortunately, they did so with no true understanding of what they were attempting to copy. It is obvious that their own visits to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA., made a massive impression on them. They obviously LOVED it! They miserably failed to copy it. Very typical of the Japanese, especially in the 60’s. LOVED THE PICTURES. Thanks!

Ha, yeah, it’s not the best copy of Disneyland but it’s a bit hard to judge how it would have looked when it first opened. Perhaps back then it was something pretty special, by Japanese standards. These days, with an authorised Disneyland in Tokyo, for instance, this would have seemed a bit sad. I do wonder whether when a completely different culture copies something from the US, whether they try to do an exact replica or whether they adapt it to local tastes. That might explain something. Anyway, thanks for the kind words about the photos!

Fuck you nerd.

We have one like this in New Orleans, a six flags. I’ve been a few times, ran into security once and they are using it as a movie set now. I’m thinking of going to check this out as I’ll be in Nara in a few days. Great photos.

Turtle, you have crossed a great way ahead. And thanks to show your courage. Images are stunning. Seems like a historic amusement park is reserved for future generation to see it and wonder in dreamland.

Been more curious about this place. Love your photos very much

I’m far to old for such exploring. But, I’m going to anyway. Great pics and story. Thanks Michael.

Its like a adventure fairy tail story, even I was 40 now I enjoined your journey like a small kid, thanks for sharing!

This is such a sad sight. What an absolute waste. Seems crazy not to have sold off the equipment really, and what couldn’t be sold off, could have been melted down…or something. Such a waste of good land in a country where waste is frowned upon and land is limited. Great photos there though Michael, and thank you for sharing

Dreamland completely demolished. Report on Pipeaway.com: http://www.pipeaway.com/nara-dreamland-amusement-park-end/

Very sad to see this Nara dreamland abandoned. Many people loved this place.

All the photos look eerily beautiful! But what a waste… Maybe better marketing could’ve helped bring more people to the place! Thanks for taking the risk to take the photos!

I’ve been working to decode what Japanese there is to English.

So, I found out that the ride in front of ‘Bobsleigh’ (The mountain/maderhorn ride) is called ‘Tree Bushy’.

It made me sad somehow… To see the horses in the carrousel just waiting to take a ride again.

Awesome post! Too bad I missed it. Was in Nara last week. Thanks for posting!

Visit North Brother’s Island in NY or Centrailia in PA

If you still are replying to comments in 2018 I would love to say that if dreamland was still there, and not demolished, I would take a few of my friends to Japan to explore the place with me but I’m a few years too late, and way too young, at 13 years old, to go but I love looking at pictures and maybe one day a time machine will exist so I can go when it was open and after abandonment but at least I can look at these pictures in the meantime

I loved the Abandoned Water Park in Hue, Vietnam, but this.. this looks really cool! Brb… heading to Japan.

Very good blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!

I have never heard of this place until now, how interesting! Loved your article. They should open this place up to visitors on occasion! Who wouldn’t love exploring an abandoned theme park and they could even charge a small admission to get in. Rope off any dangerous areas and open it up!

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Stunning job with the photos! This place is like a map from a horror game to be fair. Also not sure if I could risk to go in there after doing your research. As a foreigner I tend to follow all the rules when I travel but I am glad you went in there so I can experience it a little. Also the abandoned “ultraman” looked so funny in that picture. Did you by any chance grabbed a souvenir?

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Nara Dreamland: A Paradise Lost

September 17, 2020 Gravereviewer Leave a Comment

Nara Dreamland Written By: ZMT Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff

Nara Dreamland

Theme parks have been the craze all around the world since the opening of Disneyland Park in 1955 in California. In Japan, Tokyo Disneyland is the top grossing theme park, having an annual attendance of 17,910,000 tourists in 2019, ranging from foreigners to locals who want to feel the magic for the first time or relive the experience again. Despite its success, Tokyo Disneyland is not the first of its kind in Japan. Before Tokyo Disneyland, there existed a theme park in Japan which was considered as the happiest place in the country but is now forgotten in time. This theme park is known as Dreamland in Nara, Japan.

BUILDING A DREAMLAND

A few years after the successful opening of the first Disneyland, Japanese businessman and president of the Matsuo Entertainment Company, Kunizo Matsuo, visited the said theme park and was extremely impressed and believed that such a theme park would be a perfect fit in Japan. Matsuo later on had direct contact with Walt Disney himself and made a deal to bring Disneyland to Japan. Matsuo, having a background as a Kabuki actor, was heavily invested in Japanese culture thus proposing that the theme park be established in the city of Nara to which Walt Disney agreed on despite him wanting it to be created in Tokyo.

Near the end of its construction, Matsuo and Disney had a disagreement with regards to the licensing fees of the Disney characters which led to the abandonment of the Nara Disneyland project. Despite this, Matsuo Entertainment Company pushed through with the theme park, rebranding it to Nara Dreamland complete with its own set of mascots and trademarks.

nara dreamland ghost

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

Nara Dreamland first opened its doors on July 1, 1961. Since the park was initially tied up with Disney, most of its attractions were identical to what anyone would see in Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. The theme park houses its own version of Main Street, Train Depot, as well as a castle similar to that of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Some of its notable attractions include a horror house, a monorail, a jungle cruise ferry ride, a water park, and 4 roller coasters namely: Aska (a wooden roller coaster), Bobsleigh, Screw coaster, and a family friendly roller coaster. Nara Dreamland has its own mascots named ‘Ran-chan’ and ‘Dori-chan’, two children dressed in English guard uniforms. Being the closest thing to Disneyland in Japan that time, the theme park garnered a whopping 1.7 million visitors per year during its peak.

In 1983, Tokyo Disneyland opened to the public for the first time. As such, the number of guests going to Nara Dreamland slowly began to decline. People were now focused on the official Disneyland Park instead of the “knock off” that was Nara Dreamland. This began the downfall for Nara Dreamland, leaving it to roughly around a million visitors per year. New theme parks began to rise in the following years such as Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo DisneySea which was the final nail in the coffin for Nara Dreamland. The number of visitors plummeted to around 400,000 visitors per year. The upkeep and maintenance of the theme park was heavily affected, prompting for stores to close and some of its attractions rusted. The dreaded day finally arrived, Nara Dreamland operated for the last time on August 31, 2006.

THE END OF THE DREAM

Since 2006, the theme park was abandoned for roughly 10 years, making it a popular spot for urban explorers and ghost hunters. There were some reports of strange noises coming from different attractions in the park however, this was never verified as the park was demolished on December 21, 2017. Haunted or not, one thing is for certain, the theme park was able to bring about joy and laughter to its visitors. The happiness that their visitors experienced can never be replaced.

Did you like our article on Nara Dreamland? Comment below.

You may also like our article on Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan .

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Ghost Town: Strange History, True Crime, & the Paranormal

Jason Horton & Rebecca Leib discuss and explore some of the most mysterious and interesting events in history. Take a trip to haunted hotels, abandoned malls, deserted amusement parks, paranormal experiences, infamous true crimes, and weird historical and cultural events. This is Ghost Town.Find us … read more

13: Nara Dreamland

Nara Dreamland was Japan's answer to Disneyland, until it wasn't. It remained abandoned for years before it's final demolition.

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14 Haunted Theme Parks That Were Abandoned

There's nothing scarier than an abandoned amusement park; a twisted version of a once-joyous place; these spots are totally haunting.

Read update

  • Nara Dreamland in Japan is an often-photographed abandoned amusement park, with rotting roller coasters and preserved coffee shops.
  • Crinkley Bottom Theme Park in England, which was part of Noel Edmond's amusement park, is now haunted and visited by ghost hunters.
  • Pripyat Amusement Park in Ukraine was forced to close before its grand opening due to the Chernobyl Disaster, and radioactive particles still persist in the area.

If you’re a thrill seeker or general roller coaster enthusiast, there’s a good chance you’ve been to a theme park or two in your lifetime. However, what would it take for you to visit a theme park that’s been abandoned ? You wouldn’t find any food stands or operating rollercoasters, but you would have an unforgettable experience.

It should be noted that not every abandoned amusement park in this article is necessarily haunted by ghosts —sorry to disappoint. However, their eerie visuals and spooky stories are guaranteed to haunt any visitor. Indeed, in this article, we’ll go through twelve former amusement parks where resounding screams have been replaced with numbing silence, enchanting colors with unsettling paleness, and feelings of comfort with a sense of cold dread.

So, sit back and keep a pen and paper close, as any of these could be a contender for your next travel destination.

UPDATE: 2023/11/07 17:19 EST BY MARIA BOU INK

Whenever theme park is mentioned, a bundle of joy fills our spirits! However, this is not always the case. Harsh circumstances may force them to close, and after a while, these abandoned theme parks become a sought-after attraction for ghost hunters and people who love creepy places. Therefore, this list was updated to include additional haunted abandoned amusement parks.

14 Nara Dreamland

One of the most often photographed abandoned theme parks worldwide is Nara Dreamland. Constructed in the 1960s, the park was deserted in 2006 as a result of a decline in visitors. It was built in a Disneyland-inspired manner, contrasting the vibrantly colored fantasy rides and the now-rotting roller coasters. Even the coffee shops still have chairs, and everything has been preserved just as it was on the park's last day.

  • Location: Nara, Japan

13 Crinkley Bottom Theme Park

As a component of Noel Edmond's Mr. Blobby-themed amusement park, Crinkley Bottom Park, Dunblobbin was designed to resemble the iconic figure from the 1990s television series. When the remainder of the park was refurbished and made into a hotel, the amusement park was allowed to degrade and was abandoned. Ghost hunters frequently visit this place in the hopes of recording anything otherworldly because there are current allegations that it is haunted, making it one of the creepiest haunted amusement parks.

  • Location: Dunblobbin, England

12 Spreepark

This abandoned amusement park, located in Berlin, Germany, was first opened in 1969 . Although Spreepark prospered following the reunification of Germany, mounting debts forced the park to close down in 2002. Today, old rides that once provided entertainment and thrills, such as the iconic red Ferris wheel, now stand as eery oxidized structures fit to frighten any trespassers after sunset.

  • Location: Berlin, Germany

11 Atlantis Marine Park

Opened in 1981 , the Atlantis Marine Park attracted tourists from around the world to a small town called Two Rocks in Perth, Australia. The park enticed visitors with water-based features, including live dolphin shows and pedal boat rides. However, financial difficulties following the 1987 stock market crash forced the park to close after nine years. Once home to cetaceans and transfixed tourists, the abandoned park now serves as a home for vandals and plant life.

  • Location: Two Rocks, Australia

12 Beautifully Scary Churches From Around The World That Will Creep You Out

10 pripyat amusement park.

The Pripyat Amusement Park in Ukraine was on course to kick the summer of 1986 off with a bang . The park featured a 26-meter-high Ferris wheel, bumper carts, swing boats, and more. However, although there was indeed a bang, it wasn’t the kind the Soviet Union was planning for. The Chernobyl Disaster struck just a few kilometers away and forced the park to close before the grand opening. The park exists today as a dark symbol of the nuclear disaster. Those daring to sneak into the ghost park should be warned that radioactive particles are reported to still persist around the area to this day.

  • Location: Pripyat, Ukraine

9 Six Flags New Orleans

This theme park in New Orleans was at one time world-renowned for its rides, including the Mega Zeph rollercoaster and SpongeBob SquarePants ride. Unfortunately, the park was forced to close in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Today, the surreal setting is something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Rumour has it people still sneak into the park to feast their eyes on decapitated clown heads floating in the mud and fantasize about zombie invasions.

  • Location: New Orleans, USA

8 Chippewa Lake Amusement Park

Located in Ohio, the Chippewa Lake Amusement Park entertained guests with a number of rides, including rollercoasters, flying cafes, a carousel, and a Ferris wheel. However, exactly 100 years after opening, the park was forced to close in 1978 due to poor management and lack of attendance. Forty years on, the desolate park is a spooky jungle of overgrown shrubs feeding on moribund wood and scrap metal.

  • Location: Ohio, USA

20 Images Of Eerie Forests We Would Never Visit After Dark

Located in Antwerp, Belgium, Dadipark aimed to provide experiences for families that were affordable and unforgettable. Unfortunately for one young boy, his unforgettable experience involved him losing an arm while riding on the Nautic Jet Ride. Following fierce backlash from visitors, including complaints about other safety concerns, the park closed in 2002. Not much is left at the abandoned park besides ruined equipment and a chilling atmosphere today. Plans are reportedly underway to transform the park into a new recreation area. However, will any renovations be enough to eradicate the horrific memories of the past?

  • Location: Antwerp, Belgium

6 Williams Grove Amusement Park

The Williams Grove Amusement Park in Pennsylvania boasts a long history, having operated for over a century from 1850 to 2005 . Despite closing, plenty of aged equipment continues to haunt the abandoned property. In fact, the desolate park was considered so creepy that the owners decided to re-open it for one night only in 2016 on Halloween.

  • Location: Pennsylvania, USA

5 Boblo Island

It was once normal to hear spine-chilling shrieks at the Boblo Island Amusement Park. Guests would fly up and down the tall Space Needle ride and be flung from side to side on the Screamer. Today, however, all you can hear is the eery whispers of the wind as it brushes past tattered metal. Indeed, all that’s left at the abandoned park on Bois Blanc Island are the scattered remains of rides that were left behind after its closure in 1993.

  • Location: Boblo Island, Canada

The Eerie California Ghost Town Looks Like An (Abandoned) Wild West Movie Set

4 gulliver's kingdom amusement park.

Located in the shadow of Mount Fiji in Japan, this unique theme park was designed drawing inspiration from the 18th-century story Gulliver's Travels . The park is famous for featuring a 147-foot-long statue of Lemuel Gulliver, the main character from the novel, tied down to the ground. The park shut down in 2001 after four years due to poor ticket sales. It’s expected one of the reasons for the closure is due to the park’s close proximity to the Aokigarah Forest, Japan’s infamous “suicide forest.” Despite being demolished in 2007, the grounds still feature odd structures that give trespassers the feeling that they’re not alone in the park.

  • Location: Mount Fiji, Japan

3 River Country Waterpark

Opened in Orlando in 1976 , River Country was Walt Disney’s first waterpark. At one time, the amusement was one of Florida's top summer vacation spots. However, due to a lack of demand, the park closed in 2001 and never reopened. For 19 years, the site has been abandoned, with many rides left to battle corrosion and plant life. The park won’t be vacant forever, though, as it was announced earlier this year that the grounds will be redeveloped into a new nature-themed resort to be complete by 2020. If you want to explore the spooky mess before it’s too late, you better act quickly.

  • Location: Florida, USA

2 Renaissance Faire

One abandoned theme park not far from Washington D.C. in Virginia is the Renaissance Faire . It is known as Virginia's "Medieval Ghost Town" and is a theme park replica of a medieval town (complete with a replica pirate ship). The project failed (the humid summer temperatures didn't help), and the structures and pirate ship were left to decay.

  • Location: 60 Miles From Washington D.C., USA

Unfortunately, it is located on private property just off King's Highway in Virginia - so people are not permitted to visit. It was a star that, while it may have burned brightly, was short indeed. It was only open between 1996 and 1999.

These historic haunts in the Upstate New York mountains are extra spooky .

1 The Catskills Game Farm

The Catskills is full of abandoned attractions and resorts . Before cheap flights made more accessible destinations viable, it was the destination of choice for wealthy New Yorkers. One of the abandoned parks that people can actually visit is the Catskills Game Farm .

  • Opened: 1933
  • Closed: 2006

At its peak, the Catskills Game Farm was home to around 2,000 animals before it went into decline and was eventually abandoned. But in 2012, it was reanimated as an attraction - the old giraffe barn was rejuvenated as a boutique hotel. The whole sight is now an upscale campsite and inn.

  • Location: New York, USA

Mental Itch

Exploring the Amazing Abandoned Places of Japan

nara dreamland ghost

Hashima, the Ghost Island of Japan

Exploring abandoned places in Japan, known as “haikyo” (which literally translates to “ruins”), is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the country’s recent and distant past. Japan’s rapid modernization and changing economic and social landscapes have left behind a fascinating array of abandoned sites. These range from deserted amusement parks to derelict hotels and forgotten historical sites. Here’s an overview of some of the remarkable abandoned places in Japan:

  • The Royal Hotel (Hachijo Royal Hotel) : Once one of the largest hotels in Japan, located on Hachijojima Island, this hotel was abandoned in the 2000s. Its grand, overgrown structures stand in stark contrast to the island’s tropical landscape.
  • Fureai Sekibutsu no Sato (The Village of Friendly Ghosts) : In the town of Osawano, this park filled with hundreds of stone statues of people was abandoned, creating a surreal and somewhat spooky atmosphere.
  • Keishin Hospital : Located in the Fukushima exclusion zone, this hospital was hastily abandoned after the 2011 nuclear disaster, leaving behind a time capsule of life interrupted.

Expoland, a Strange Abandoned Amusement Park in Japan

Expoland amusement park in Osaka, Japan, opened as the amusement zone of Expo ’70, the International Exposition hosted in the city in 1970. It was supposed to be a temporary part and closed down after the end of the exposition but reopened in 1972 due to its popularity. The park covered an area of 20 hectares and included more than 40 rides and attractions, 19 restaurants, and shops.

On May 5, 2007, a tragic accident took place at Expoland. The Fujin Raijin II rollercoaster derailed , resulting in the death of a 19-year-old university student while 40 people were injured and 31 were taken to the hospital. The investigation revealed that the ride derailed due to a broken axle. None of the ride vehicle’s axles had been replaced for 15 years.

Reopening of the Park

The park reopened after a series of safety inspections but closed again on December 9, 2007 , due to a lack of customers. In 2008 there were reports that Paramount Pictures was looking to turn the Expoland site into a theme park. In 2009, 20% of the park’s area was renovated and reopened as a new theme park called ‘Farm Expo’.

Safety Concerns and Violations

Concerns have been raised concerning the security of Japan’s theme parks following the catastrophic roller coaster accident at Expoland in 2007. Similar roller coasters at other parks voluntarily shut down and were inspected for the same axle issue that led to the Expoland tragedy after tragedy. However, further investigation revealed that the park had received a warning from authorities for poor upkeep after identical axle cracks were found on a second train just one month after the first accident. The park’s difficulty in recovering its visitors’ trust was made worse by these safety concerns and violations.

Permanent Closure of the Park

Expoland announced its closure in February 2009 after failing to recover from a catastrophic rollercoaster accident in 2007. After the board voted to liquidate the company, the corporation abandoned its request for corporate rehabilitation protection. The park struggled to regain the public’s confidence in its safety and suffered from the sluggish economy despite its history as a well-liked family and thrill-seeking destination. The park’s future remains questionable until now, with speculations of a possible replacement with a theme park from the US film business Paramount Pictures.

Gulliver’s Kingdom

Located in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan and in operation from 1997 to 2001.  Although Japan has its fair share of uncanny abandoned amusement parks, we think that Gulliver’s Kingdom, a failed theme park based on Jonathan Swift’s classic tale, takes the proverbial cake. Although demolished in 2007, the several-year span when the Lilliputian theme park sat disused and neglected was a high point for the many intrepid urban explorers looking to crawl all over Lemuel Gulliver’s lanky, 147.5-foot-long concrete frame.

The park’s closing, the result of poor ticket sales, probably had something to do with its rather unfortunate locale: although located at the foot of Mount Fuji, the park was adjacent to Aokigarah, Japan’s infamous “Suicide Forest,” and in the same village where the Aum Shinriyko doomsday cult, the group behind 1995’s Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo, was headquartered.

The Strange Mansion of Mr. H, Japan

This strange home belonged to the mysterious Mr. H is one of Japan’s most famous abandoned buildings. The mansion was built in 1928 by a Mr. H, a Japanese politician. Mr. H held a position within the Freedom and People’s Rights movement, a group which was in part credited with the establishment of Japan’s first constitution in 1889. As such, Mr. H could doubtless afford such a spectacular home; unfortunately, the mansion was constructed in 1928, a mere two years before his death.

It seems likely that he did not live there much, and it is unclear as to who may have inhabited the house for any length of time. There is no indication as to how long the mansion has been derelict for, but it has remarkably retained the charm and grandeur it must have had in its heyday.

Abandoned Fukushima

The Abandoned Towns of Fukushima – Ghost Town

The abandoned towns of Fukushima

Four years after the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and displaced more than 300,000, the surrounding towns of Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant remain abandoned. Even today, tens of thousands of survivors live in temporary housing as the area surrounding the nuclear plant remains too contaminated by radiation for residents to return for more than short visits.

The New Sky Building in Shinjuku, Japan

The New Sky Building in Shinjuku belongs to the stable of architecture known as Metabolism, a 1970’s movement in Japan to create utilitarian, utopian, bolt-on and off structures that can change and evolve as needed. It was a grand-sounding vision that never went mainstream, as Metabolist buildings were often a nightmare to construct and far too much effort to actually ‘transform’ by re-bolting. Another example is the Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi- slated for destruction.

The Abandoned Matsuo Mine – Japan

Matsuo Mine used to be a huge, bustling sulfur mine before being abandoned, and now if you ever wanted to try to check it out for yourself you’d be met with a giant wall of mist that constantly hides it from view, making it look like the scariest ghost town ever.

The Abandoned Japanese Lovers Hotel Where Rooms Were Rented by the Hour

The Medievil room with carriage and suit of armour in the Fuurin Motel. This stunning set of photographs offer a peek inside an abandoned hotel used as an escape for extramarital affairs. The empty Fuurin Motel, in Tokyo, Japan, used to be a meeting point for lovers who rented rooms by the hour.

Ten themed bedrooms, including a Medieval suite with a full suit of armour and a carriage-shaped bed, lay perfectly preserved under layers of dust. Other room themes include Greek, Traditional Japanese Ryokan and hunting – all with their own dining rooms and bathrooms.  The hotel was closed 17 years ago, but the furniture and fittings remain. Locals have respected the empty hotel, due to rumours the building has a paranormal presence.

Japanese Holiday Resorts Abandoned and Left to Rot!

Covered in dirt and falling apart, this resort was abandoned 40 years ago and left to the mercy of the elements.  The one-time holiday camp in Japan’s Izu peninsula fell victim to changing times at the turn of the 1970s.  As in Britain, that period saw Japan’s domestic tourist industry in steep decline as affordable air travel allowed holidaymakers to seek out exotic destinations overseas for the first time.

Nara Dreamland, an Abandoned Theme Park in Japan

Nara Dreamland theme park was built in 1961 near the city of Nara, Japan. The creators of the park were inspired by Disneyland in California and tried to replicate the same feel, copying some of the main landmarks including the Train depot, a Main Street, U.S.A. and the familiar Sleeping Beauty Castle. The park had its own mascots, which were 2 kids dressed as bear skinned guards, named Ran-chan and Dori-chan.

Nara Dreamland closed permanently on August 31, 2006 due to low visitor numbers. Everything inside the park, including the rides and reastaurants, was left induct and is still standing today. This gives the impression of an eerie ghost town, attracting many urban explorers.

Hashima, also known as Gunkajima or Battleship Island due to its shape, is an abandoned island an hour away from the port of Nagasaki in Japan.

Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 to use it as a base for an underwater coal mining facility. There, they built Japan’s first concrete building (9 stories high) in 1917 to accomodate the workers. In the following decades, Hashima became the most densely populated place on earth, with a population of over 5,200 people, or 83,500 people per square kilometre of the whole island.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, between 1943 and 1945, the Japanese government and Mitsubishi transported Korean and Chinese prisoners to the island on Mitsubishi-owned ships known as “hellships,” and then forced them to handle the most dangerous work in the coal mines. Hundreds or thousands of the prisoners died to to the poor living conditions and coal mining accidents. Eventually, captives were freed in 1945 when the atomic bomb shook the windows of the island’s apartment blocks.

The island shut down in 1974 as a result of the decline in coal industry during the previous years. Since then, it was left abandoned before it was reopened for travel again in 2009. Hashima is also featured in the 2012 James Bond movie, Skyfall. Today, a process is underway to designate the island as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Japan’s abandoned places, or haikyo, offer a unique window into the nation’s history and cultural evolution. They stand as silent witnesses to times of prosperity, periods of change, and moments of crisis. While they attract explorers and photographers with their haunting beauty and historical significance, it’s important to approach them with respect, awareness, and caution.

IMAGES

  1. Nara Dreamland: How It Became a Nightmare

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  2. Dreamland

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  3. Creepy Nara Dreamland ~ You have to see this!

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  4. Creepy Nara Dreamland ~ You have to see this!

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  5. The Slumbering Nightmares of Nara Dreamland

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  6. Creepy Nara Dreamland ~ You Have To See This!

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VIDEO

  1. Ratatoskr find "amber resin" in Kratos bag #shorts

  2. Nara Dreamland, Abandoned places in JPN

  3. 【Ruins】Memories of Nara Dreamland 160302

  4. Nara Dreamland Then & Before #nara #japan #naradreamland #yokohama #disneyland #disney #themeparks

  5. GOODBYE NARA DREAMLAND (Possibly the last footage before destruction)

  6. Nara Dreamland 2016

COMMENTS

  1. World's creepiest abandoned theme park with crumbling castles and empty

    Nara had been left abandoned for over a decade Credit: Mediadrum World. Nara Dreamland was opened in 1961 and was based on the original Disneyland in California, which had opened just six years before.. The theme park was heavily copied from the California-based site - it featured copies of Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Autopia, Matterhorn and Jungle Cruise.

  2. Dreamland decay: The final moments of a forgotten theme park

    The park, Nara Dreamland, has been abandoned for a decade and was demolished in 2016. While visiting Japan, Veillon photographed the amusement park in its final moments. "I had wanted to travel to ...

  3. Nara Dreamland: The End of a Dream

    Nara Dreamland was an abandoned amusement park. I've just spent a year in Nara (2015-2016), a kilometre from the park, so it's time for me to write a little epilogue. ... turned into the Ghost Island and soon became one of the most famous spot for urban exploration. September 7, 2015. Japan Kanto Minato Tokyo. Typhoon at Roppongi. Curious to ...

  4. This Abandoned Theme Park Was Meant to Be a Disney Park

    A post shared by Ronin Ackerman📍 Boston (@steveronin) The theme park remained open for 45 years, but Nara Dreamland suffered greatly when Tokyo Disneyland was built. Attendance dramatically...

  5. Nara Dreamland: An Abandoned Amusement Park

    In the outskirts of Nara, the last bits of spirit is leaving of Nara Dreamland, an abandoned amusement park. It closed in 2006, after its number of visitors dropped dramatically in the opening of the new Tokyo Disneyland, as well as the more recent arrival of Osaka Universal Studio. The Nara government is demolishing Nara Dreamland very soon ...

  6. Abandoned

    Nothing like this exists in the world. A park replicating Disneyland so much only to be left abandoned and now known for legitimately how creepy it is. This ...

  7. 10 fascinating theme parks that have closed forever

    Nara Dreamland (Japan): Located on the northern outskirts of the historic Japanese city of Nara, the park opened in 1961. The park endured until 2006 and was a popular destination for urban ...

  8. Nara Dreamland

    940 Nara Dreamland Jordy Meow (Used with Permission) In 1961, Nara Dreamland was the Japanese answer to Southern California's legendary Disneyland, and shared several of its themes and...

  9. Nara Dreamland

    History Beginnings On July 1, 1961, Nara Dreamland was opened to the public. The entrance to the park was designed to look almost identical to Disneyland, including its own versions of the Train Depot, Main Street, U.S.A., and the familiar Sleeping Beauty Castle at the hub.

  10. See inside Japan's abandoned Nara Dreamland amusement park

    Built in 1961 in Japan's Nara Prefecture, Nara Dreamland was an amusement park conceived in the hopes that it would match the success that Disneyland had enjoyed in California. It was not to be however, and in 2006 the park closed, following years of falling attendance numbers. With demolition of the site now underway, a photographer has shared captivating images taken last year, showing it ...

  11. Meet The World's Most Photographed (Abandoned) Theme Park

    Famous in the urban exploration community, Nara Dreamland is the most photographed abandoned theme park in the world. The misty weather and lush creepers slowly reclaimed the rusty metal and flamboyant paint, saturating the air with a tranquil and comforting aura, as if to assure observers that, over time, the stillness of nature will consume all the chaos of modernity.

  12. Abandoned Nara Dreamland: Japan's Almost-Disney

    Now, this abandoned marvel has become another ghost, forever remembered in theme park history. Did you ever visit Nara Dreamland? Let us know your experiences and thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page. View Profile Ellie is a contributing feature writer for Theme Park Tourist.

  13. Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS]

    By 2006, the theme park closed, it was all but a ghost town. The fun part exists due to Nara Dreamland being left abandoned but not demolished. Enter urban explorers armed with cameras and exploring the Japanese ruins, or haikyo. They took all the danger and adrenaline rush to bring us on an illegal tour via their awesome captures.

  14. Exploring Abandoned Disney's Theme park

    Nara Dreamland, located in Nara, Japan, was a once-thriving amusement park that captivated visitors with its whimsical charm and magical atmosphere. Inspired...

  15. Nara Dreamland

    It opened on July 1st 1961. Ran-chan and Dori-chan were the park's mascots. Nara Dreamland was popular for a time and welcomed 1.6 million guests at its peak. Despite starting out as a carbon copy of Disneyland, other attractions were added over the years to take it in another direction.

  16. Nara Dreamland: Japan's abandoned theme park

    Nara Dreamland was built in 1961 and was apparently inspired by Disneyland in California. You can see the influences in the large Matterhorn mountain, the fairytale castle, the monorail and the main street. It's not nearly as big as the park in Anaheim but the Japanese tried to replicate the same feel. Not that you can tell these days, of course.

  17. Nara Dreamland: A Paradise Lost

    Nara Dreamland was a theme park in Japan which opened in 1961 and was inspired by Disneyland. After operating for 45 years, it closed in 2006. ... Since 2006, the theme park was abandoned for roughly 10 years, making it a popular spot for urban explorers and ghost hunters. There were some reports of strange noises coming from different ...

  18. Abandoned Disney World Theme Park

    RISE ABOVE MERCH HEREhttps://www.riseabove.shopSubscribe to my 2nd Channel!https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQqQJlN8fZO-CDK4JFKotSQ/Rise Above Instagram page...

  19. 13: Nara Dreamland from Ghost Town: Strange History, True Crime, & the

    Nara Dreamland was Japan's answer to Disneyland, until it wasn't. It remained abandoned for years before it's final demolition. Learn more about your ad choices. ... Ghost Town: Strange History, True Crime, & the Paranormal. 491 EpisodesProduced by Studio71Website. Jason Horton & Rebecca Leib discuss and explore some of the most mysterious and ...

  20. Nara Dreamland

    From the parking lot, it kind of looks like a ghost town. As if we just stumbled upon someplace that was closed. It wasn't. Upon entering, it looks JUST like Disneyland! This is freaking weird! And it looks REALLY nice! We get past the train station to the main street area! And there's the castle!!! From first glace, the park looks nice!

  21. Abandoned Theme Parks & The Local Legends They Inspire

    This led to many ghost stories, with illegally trespassing visitors recalling tales of eerie whispers and unexplained noises. Nara Dreamland closed permanently on August 31, 2006. The park was completely abandoned until its complete demolition in October 2016, but can still be seen in photographs and video footage.

  22. 14 Haunted Theme Parks That Were Abandoned

    Nara Dreamland in Japan is an often-photographed abandoned amusement park, with rotting roller coasters and preserved coffee shops. Crinkley Bottom Theme Park in England, which was part of Noel Edmond's amusement park, is now haunted and visited by ghost hunters. Pripyat Amusement Park in Ukraine was forced to close before its grand opening due ...

  23. Exploring the Amazing Abandoned Places of Japan

    Hashima, the Ghost Island of Japan Exploring abandoned places in Japan, known as "haikyo" (which literally translates to "ruins"), is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the country's recent and distant past. Japan's rapid modernization and changing economic and social landscapes have left behind a fascinating array of abandoned sites.