Urbex in Japan : Nara Dreamland – Haikyo
Ask anyone in Japan with an interest in haikyo (廃虚), Japanese for ruins, about Nara Dreamland and they are sure to have at least heard of it. Few places have that sort of infamy, Japan is filled with so many abandoned areas great for urban exploration that knowing them all borders on the impossible. When I ended up in Osaka, less than an hour from Nara, I knew I couldn’t leave without trying to get into Nara Dreamland. Many explorers have blogged about Nara Dreamland with clear instructions, enter at your own risk. That’s true for any place, but stories of motion detectors, an enraged security guard, and 100,000 yen fines, make you think twice before waltzing in.
We entered with an hour to spare before the sun began its descent.
Starting from the north, we moved in a clockwise direction. The park is fairly big, but with actual maps and signs directing us, getting lost was a non-issue. Soon we ended up heading towards the artificial mountain coaster ride, the Bobsleigh.
You could hear periodic drops of water amid the darkness. A select few holes in the upper layer let in tiny strands of light, as we climbed the stairs alongside the track. The idea behind the dark ascent was of course to instill a sense of excitement and anxiety as the ride begins.
Noticing the abandoned train, we made a quick detour to check it out before continuing further. The train was absolutely covered from end-to-end in graffiti.
From there we headed towards the town section.
After that was the arcade; like the rest of the park, it remains as it orginally was before the park was shut down.Unfortunately, also like the rest of the park, many of the machines have been vandalized, including the coin exchanger which was smashed open.
Darting from section to section, we came upon the Screwcoaster, but not before we took a look at the water park. It projected a serene quality, perfectly still and calm.
Soon darkness began descending on the park, our pace quickened as we made our in the direction of the park’s flagship wooden coaster, Aska. Here’s a quick clip (try HD for clarity) as we walked past the Screwcoaseter; the dark creating an uncanny atmosphere:
Growing brush and foliage dominated the area, you could almost feel the earth slowly reclaiming not just the coaster, but the whole park.
We ended our time in the park at the top of Aska, by this point it was completely dark and there was almost no light. The abandoned rides and the sprouts of growing plants lent an eerie aura in the night; the perfect setting for a horror film. Moving hastily, we left as quickly as we came.