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 at an all-time low of about 400,000 visitors that year. Since then, the pay-as-you-go park has become overrun with rust and nature, rendering it unsalvageable, but remained largely intact. 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.
While the park still seems to be powered by 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.
Update: After being sold off in 2015, demolition began on Nara Dreamland in November 2016. As of March 2017, the entire site no longer exists.
Know Before You Go
There are many easy access to the park, one of the best being at the east of the waterslides (south-east side of the park). There is no longer any security on site. Much of it is actually demolished now as of December 2018.