JAPAN: Nara Dreamland Abandoned Theme Park

JAPAN: Nara Dreamland Abandoned Theme Park

The Japanese theme park Nara Dreamland was opened in 1961 in the town of Nara, inspired by the popularity of Disneyland.

In 2006 after 45 years, Nara Dreamland closed its doors due to dwindling numbers of visitors, likely due to the growing popularity of Tokyo Disneyland .

Today the abandoned park has decayed from weather, weeds, and as to be expected has been visited by a few thieves and vandals. What is unexpected is how much of remains in place and undamaged, the furniture and props still within the buildings, office supplies and park maps still within the box office.

Getting here: We took the JR train from Osaka to Nara (you can also take the train from Kyoto to Nara), and then caught a bus from Nara station.  We asked a friendly employee at the tourist information desk at Nara station how to get “here” (we pointed at the location of the abandoned park on a map). The man seemed confused as to why we wanted to visit the park that was permanently closed, but told us which bus we could take directly from the station (The bus dropped us here from where we crossed the street and walked around a fence and uphill).  A gap in the fence brought us to the parking lot of the park, and then a hole in the fence in the tunnel after the ticket office got us in.  The park was completely deserted with no signs of security, but we got in and moved around quickly in hopes of avoiding any security personnel should they exist.

Jason was brave enough to enter the pitch dark haunted house and sci-fi attractions, but I hung back since we didn’t have a flashlight and my SonyA7s doesn’t have a flash.

A last shot of the park from my drone after sunset.  As not to attract unwanted attention I put off flying my drone until just before we left, but by then it was already too dark to get very good shots.

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