This Photographer Shot an Abandoned Japanese Theme Park Before Its Demolition

Image by Victor Habchy / Facebook

An abandoned and overgrown landscape of a theme park called Nara Dreamland, that closed nearly a decade ago, became the unusual background of a set of artistic photos by French photographer Victor Habchy.

Built in 1961, Nara Dreamland was a brainchild of Kunizu Matsuo and was supposed to be Japan’s answer to Disneyland. Matsuo even met up with Walt Disney to discuss a potential joint venture in the park that did not come to fruition. Later, when Disney and Universal Studios opened up their own parks in Japan, the number of the visitors dropped significantly, and the park was permanently closed in 2006. Its attractions stayed in place though for more than 10 years, until all structures were demolished at the end of 2016. It had a pink princess castle, a few roller coaster based on Coney Island Cyclone and Matterhorn Bobsleds from Disneyland, and lots of carousels.

After its closure Nara Dreamland became quite popular among “haikyoists” – urban explorers, especially interested in abandoned structures and landscapes.

Habchy’s photos reveal how the run-down park looks like after 10 years of neglect. The photographer climbed to the top of the tallest wooden roller which is over 30 m tall, and shot also the abandoned merry-go-rounds, pools and flumes, cable cars, and other entertainment machinery.