Abandoned Japanese Amusement Park Is the Stuff of Pastel-Colored Nightmares

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Nov. 4 2013 10:45 AM

Abandoned Dreamland Amusement Park Is the Stuff of Pastel-Colored Nightmares

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

In 1961, Nara Dreamland was the Japanese answer to Southern California's legendary Disneyland, and shared several of its themes and features, including its very own Main Street U.S.A.

Unfortunately it lacked the longevity of the American entertainment staple, and the lights on Main Street flickered out for good in 2006 following an all-time low of 400,000 annual visitors. Since then, the pay-as-you-go park has become overrun with rust and foliage. Smiling characters have become creepily content in their shabby, weather-worn condition, and trees and bushes grow up and into what were once majestic coasters. What once attracted families full of smiling children now attracts brave urban explorers and nesting birds. Sleeping Beauty's castle, once a place of fairytales, now resembles something out of a haunted nightmare.

Advertisement

While the park still seems to be powered with electricity, the cost of bringing these monolithic coasters back to life is too high, yet the fate of the park remains uncertain. Guards regularly patrol the grounds fining trespassers, but no plans to demolish are currently in the works. Until its future is decided, it remains a decaying vision of misplaced American dreams.

Abandoned amusement parks:

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 21 2014 12:40 PM Asamkirche: The Rococo Church Where Death Hides in Plain Sight
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller's Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Doctor, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.