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Archive for the ‘Nara’ Category

The Partly Submerged Water Power Plant is one of the most famous abandoned places in Nara, probably in all of Japan. And everybody seems to approach it the same way: drive to the middle of nowhere, rent a boat for a ridiculous amount of money (something like 8000 Yen!) a few hundred meters down the Kitayama River, take photos from the water, leave – a few brave ones actually enter the building, but even those guys all get the same shots; boring! So Ben, Chelsey, Ruth and I approached the unusual setup from a different angle… the land side.
Getting to the Partly Submerged Water Power Plant by land isn’t an easy task and requires some planning – and since I hadn’t seen anybody done it before us, we didn’t know what to expect or if we would be able to get there after all. The road leading to the plant is blocked by barriers and warning signs from both directions, impossible to pass by anything bigger than a bike. On foot you should also discard the option from the west as you will run into a landslide or two sooner or later on this unmaintained, unpaved, basically abandoned road. If you approach from the east, the road is basically a mediocre, flat hiking trail. A nice walk if you wear decent shoes. If not, they may fall apart. Like Chelsey’s. As soon as we picked up the rental car in the morning and even before we had driven one meter, the sole of her shoes started to come off. But instead of making us drive through the Osakan suburbs for hours to pick up another pair at home or a store that would open hours later, Chelsey just smiled and said “I need some duct tape!” – tough chick, the kind you really want to have on an urbex trip like that. (Since the nearby 24/7 kombini didn’t have any, the shoes were later fixed with free package tape at a supermarket in the countryside… and then started to fall apart on the way to the plant. So why did I tell this story? Because it was hilariously funny to everybody involved, a key moment of this exploration, and as a huge sign of respect to Che-Che who raised even more in everybody’s appreciation.)
We were walking along that more or less trustworthy dirt road for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden I felt eerily cold, as if a dozen ghosts rushed through my body; or at least how I image twelve rushing ghosts would feel if they would exist. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, and I obviously don’t believe they exist, so there must have been another exploration. I looked up and saw a tunnel ending mid-air about 20 centimeters above my head – then I looked into the other direction… and there it was behind me, down in the water, the Partly Submerged Water Power Plant. We decided to explore the tunnel first and I had a very bad feeling about it, the place just didn’t feel right. After a while we reached a sharp drop with a sketchy looking ladder somebody left behind. Up there was a concrete reservoir construction very reminiscent of the *Kyoto Dam* I explored years before this adventure. Since I stupidly left my tripod in the car (not expecting tunnel systems to shoot in…) I wasn’t able to take any pictures there, so I left with Chelsey while Ben and Ruth pushed forward; basically confirming the Kyoto Dam thing from above, while I continued on to the dirt road to see the rest of the construction, obviously severely damaged, but nobody would ever need those concrete pipes again. Not since the 1960s, when the Nanairo Dam was constructed, slowly damming the river behind it from 1965 on, flooding several valleys and everything below a certain level, including this older water power plant, apparently built between 1929 and 1931.
A couple of minutes later our group was reunited, so we headed down to the power plant to have a closer look. There we even found two boats we could have used for the short ride of maybe 20 or 30 meters, but none of us felt lucky… or like stealing a boat. The sun was already setting and the light was quite difficult from that position, so after a couple of minutes we headed to the dirt road again and back to the car. Personally I never thought this location was very interesting, but approaching it by land and finding the massive concrete leftovers at the slope above the plant gave it a new spin – and as a group experience it was just incredible fun. There are many factors that make or break an exploration… and company is definitely one of them!

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We were driving down the mountain on a road consistently getting worse for about ten minutes when all of a sudden the navi wanted to send us in the opposite direction. Relying on the previously researched route we decided to continue… and five minutes later we reached our destination, a tiny hamlet in a valley of the Nara mountains, about 30 minutes away from the next town. It was a small wooden school that lured us there, but a neighborhood shrine turned out to be the secret highlight of this dying town.

Upon arrival we saw an old lady in front of her house opposite the school, so we exchanged friendly greetings and headed over to the orange bridge, leading across a gorgeous stream into a cypress hurst. There it was, the wooden neighborhood shrine, in perfect harmony with its surrounding – such a spiritual atmosphere, exactly what you expect to see when you hear “wooden shrine in a cypress grove in rural Nara prefecture”.
A few minutes later we headed over to the school – smaller than expected, but nevertheless quite charming. To the left we found two small class rooms for maybe half a dozen students each, to the right was a rather large room for a regular size class, probably also used as an auditorium and gym. In one of the smaller rooms we found a large soroban (a Japanese abacus), while the bigger room was filled with wooden boards, which had been there for at least a year since I’ve seen them on a Japanese blog before. The black piano in the corner instantly caught my eyes, but with keyboard instruments in pretty much every abandoned Japanese school, the nearby ceiling fixtures looked much more interesting to me. In addition to electricity plugs and a lamp, there was a rather simple compass rose and a mounting for large maps.
The rest of the school was a lot less interesting – a mostly empty room in the back, probably once some kind of a teacher’s lounge / storage room, plus some urinals / restrooms outside. Luckily my fellow travelers Chelsey and Ruth didn’t mind, so while I wrapped up shooting the school, they sat outside and made friends with the village dog; in *the DPRK* it probably would have been named “beige”…
Spectacular abandoned Japanese schools like the *Landslide School* or the *Stolen Anatomic Model School* feature buildings with several floors, tons of left behind items, and spectacular views – the Nara Countryside School on the other hand impressed us with its remote yet sublime location and an overall relaxed atmosphere. Osaka more often than not turns into Osucka, so just being in such a serene surrounding was a reward by itself… and a perfect start into a road trip weekend with occasional urban exploration.

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Some of the Japanese teenagers tried to flee in panic, others froze like deer in headlight when the beam of my flashlight hit them without a warning – but they all screamed like little girls, proving that a real scare doesn’t need sound or gore, just the right atmosphere and a decent torch with enough lumen. 🙂

10 days ago I spent another night at Nara Dreamland, for the first time since I was one of the pioneers to do so five years prior. Back in 2010 Nara Dreamland was a rather unknown abandoned amusement park in top condition, with a reputation for tight security – spending the night there meant avoiding security, but also taking photos in darkness and during daylight… a win-win-win situation for the few insiders, barely a handful of people.
A lot has changed since then. Nara Dreamland rose from obscurity to one of the most famous abandoned theme parks in the world, leading websites like GoogleMaps and Wikipedia revealed its exact location thanks to careless users adding the information… and I continued exploring other places. My personal relationship with Nara Dreamland was a bit difficult right from the start anyway, as it gave me a serious headache twice when I was an inexperienced explorer back in late 2009 and early 2010. During my first visit I had to hide while a security guard checked the hotel / administrative building I was in on the main parking lot. Not a pleasant experience. Even worse: two months later I had a very unfortunate run-in with security in the actual park. Ever since I was reluctant to revisit Nara Dreamland, turning down to accompany quite a few friends and fellow explorers. In autumn of 2010 I stayed overnight for said first time, 15 months later I did a day time exploration / engagement shoot with a British couple. And that’s it! The more famous Nara Dreamland became, the less interesting it was to me – but it was easy for me to say as I took pictures and videos long before most people even found out about Dreamland’s existence. After 2011 I checked up on Nara Dreamland about once a year from public roads, but I never entered any building or the premises of the main park again – especially after Japanese explorer friends advised me not to go anymore, mentioning some court case.

Nevertheless there always was a strong connection between Abandoned Kansai and Nara Dreamland – if for nothing else than internet search engines. For years now hardly a week passed by without people asking me about Nara Dreamland via e-mail or in the comments sections on Abandoned Kansai, *Facebook* or *Youtube* – since I have little time and don’t answer questions about access / security in general, most of those contact attempts remained unanswered, nevertheless some people contacted me again after their visit, a few even sent photos. I also talked to Japanese and Western explorer friends, and they all told me the same thing – tons of graffiti, tons of vandalism… still good, but not nearly as good as on the photos I published so far. At the same time Abandoned Kansai readers kept dropping lines like: „I am surprised that there is no vandalism at Nara Dreamland!“ – definitely a misperception based on the fact that I explored Dreamland in 2009, 2010 and 2011… and never again since then. After 3.5 years of exploring abandoned theme parks all over Japan, it was about time to revisit the one in my backyard, the one that keeps attracting new readers to Abandoned Kansai on a daily basis, the one that got me my first hate mails after I wrote an *April’s Fool* article about it, the one I am most conflicted about as I REALLY love and REALLY hate it – the one, the only… Nara Dreamland.

Early June was probably the perfect time to spend a night at Nara Dreamland. The temperatures were moderate and the sun rose early – less than two weeks later the weather already feels a lot more humid, and soon countless mosquitos will turn Dreamland into Nightmareland, thanks to do dozens of puddles and ponds all over the park.
When, how and where Yuko, Takanobu and I entered Nara Dreamland is something I won’t discuss, but less than ten minutes onto the premises (and before we were even able to take a single photo!) we saw some flickering lights and heard people talking over at the water park. To avoid a night long game of cat and mouse I decided to approach the group for a friendly chat, but as soon as they realized that they were not alone, they scattered into the darkness like a bunch of roaches. Well, at least it wasn’t security!
To get an idea of what had changed in the 3.5 years since my last visit and to show Yuko and Takanobu what to expect in the upcoming couple of hours, we did a quick walkthrough of Nara Dreamland before heading to its main attraction, the wooden Aska rollercoaster. The partly overgrown beast was already barely accessible, but I found a way through the green hell that once was the line up area, up the stairs to the coaster’s track / main platform. Yuko is a professional photographer and quickly set up her first camera for a nightly time-lapse sequence – the moon rising over the main part of Aska. The first time I went to Nara Dreamland at night was the first time I ever took pictures at night, a steep learning experience back then. Since then I occasionally shot in dark rooms, but outdoor night photography was still a challenge. While the three of us took pictures, the clicking sounds of our cameras were the loudest sounds we made. Soon we saw two or three groups of visitors passing by below us – smecking away, and not caring about the wicked world one bit. One of those groups tried to get to higher ground (i.e. our hideout), but they failed miserably in the green hell, allowing us to ignore all of them completely.
From Aska we moved over to the monorail station, only to find the train completely in graffiti. Sadly it was too dark to take a decent picture of it, so we used the elevated level of the platform for more shots of the surroundings.
On our way to the moonlit Sleeping Beauty Castle we heard yet another group of noisy teenagers strolling through the park. Their voices came closer quickly and soon we saw the beams of their flashlights, maybe 30 meters away. They had no idea we were there, because we behaved appropriately in a situation like that – low voices and relying on the light of the waning moon. All of a sudden I felt mischievous, so as soon as group came around the corner I pushed a single button. Some of the Japanese teenagers tried to flee in panic, others froze like deer in headlight when the beam of my flashlight hit them without a warning – but they all screamed like little girls. We quickly made sure to let them know that we were not security and after a few seconds most of them were smiling again, so we had a little chat about us being photographers and them doing… whatever.
Like pretty much every other building in Nara Dreamland, the Sleeping Beauty Castle now had an extra layer of (spray) paint, which was quite disappointing to see. It’s one thing to vandalize Main Street U.S.A., but it’s another to scribble all over the castle – a fugly piece of architectural art in its own way as it was. Well, not all over the castle, but enough to turn it from unintentionally ugly to just nasty ugly. Around the same time we finished shooting the castle, the group of teenagers we just met minutes before returned, proving once again that they were a bunch of immature morons, basically yelling at the top of their lungs while playing hide and seek with a second group. I asked my fellow photographers to tell the buggers to be quiet as the neighbors of Nara Dreamland have a reputation for calling the police when they see or hear people on the premises. The warning helped a little bit, but not really…
Minutes later dawn was breaking, at around 4 a.m. (!), so we moved on to the water park. By the time the sun was rising (before a quarter to 5!) I stood in the water fountain in front of the castle. Surreal. Such a surreal experience. The amazing light, the colors of the castle, the statues, the drained fountain, the total silence… except for yet another group of kids breaking glass and smashing wood in the background somewhere. Bunch of friggin savages in this town! In moments like that one wishes for regular raids and severe punishment of those little bastards! Altogether we saw about 20 people during our visit – all of them Asian (the ones we talked or listened to were all Japanese!), all of them most likely between 16 and 25, 80% guys… not one of them visibly carrying a camera. No vandalism in Japan? Yeah, right! Of course we all have the same right to be at Nara Dreamland (none!), but in my humble opinion it makes a huge difference how you behave. I can guarantee you that Yuko, Takanobu and I took nothing but photos and left nothing but footprints – a lot of other people though seem to vent their frustrations there, giving ALL visitors a bad name. Before I really start to rant, let me give you the Japanese answer to that problem: shoganai, “it can’t be helped” / “there is nothing one can do”. While it’s usually an excuse to avoid a problem by not talking about it any longer, in this case it’s actually the right attitude – Nara Dreamland has reached a point of no return and there is nothing a regular person can do to stop it.
And so our little group of three continued its tour through the park, stopping here and there to take a photo before finally calling it a day… or a night… or a new day. After all, Nara Dreamland still has security. Not only did we saw patched spots of fence, new barbed wire obstacles and warning signs from outside of the park – even inside somebody left “strong worded” notes (as Takanobu worded it), mentioning the police… and if you know anything about Japanese culture and language, you know that you have to be very careful when somebody stops to be extremely polite and threatens you with the authorities…

I have to admit that I went back to Nara Dreamland hesitantly and with mixed emotions… but I am glad that I did, because it gave me a much better grasp of the current situation. A lot has changed there in the past couple of years, but it is one thing to hear about those changes and another thing to see / experience them myself. I go to an average of about 70 locations a year, big and small; exploring some of hours, leaving others after seconds. And in the past almost six years I met about as many people overall at abandoned places in Japan as I did that one night 10 days ago. I wasn’t aware that Nara Dreamland was that popular / well-known. During my first visit most of the damage there was very selective – rather small holes in windows and doors to get access to buildings, panels removed with a screwdriver. Now some buildings look like they were busted open by an explosion, despite the fact that they had already been accessible. In 2009 / 2010 there were hardly any graffiti at Nara Dreamland. Now they are everywhere. Not nice graffiti by aspiring artists, like at the *La Rainbow Hotel*. No, just smearings every vandalizing moron with a spray can do. Thankfully there still is security… and it seems like every once in a while some people get caught. I just hope those people are vandalizing teenagers, not harmless photographers / urban explorers trying to take a few interesting photos. So maybe this is one of the few instances in which a Japanese person in charge actually takes actions and isn’t hiding behind shoganai…

(For all your Nara Dreamland needs please have a look at the *Nara Dreamland Special*. *Like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* if you don’t want to miss the latest articles and exclusive content – and subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube* to receive a message right after a new video is online…)

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3000 Facebook fans! Wow… For many years I totally underestimated social media, so the *Abandoned Kansai FB page* went up 1.5 years after I started writing about deserted places in Japan and the rest of the world – and also long after I started writing about Abandoned Kansai’s most important location: Nara Dreamland. I went there as early as 2009 – not the first person after it was closed, but probably the first regular urban explorer to go there. In the past 5.5 years I wrote more than half a dozen articles about this amazing abandoned theme park and dug up all kinds of information, usually for the first time in English. In October of 2010 I wrote an article about the *Hotel and Administrative Building*… but I didn’t publish the video I shot there. It was taken in December of 2009, during my first visit, and I never intended to publish it – but what the heck, 3000 Facebook fans are a reason to dig deep and celebrate… Enjoy!

(For all your Nara Dreamland needs please have a look at the Nara Dreamland Special. *Like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* if you don’t want to miss the latest articles and exclusive content – and subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube* to receive a message right after a new video is online…)

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Believe it or not, I am really not a fan of April Fools’ jokes – probably because I equally don’t like lying and being being lied to, which is really tough sometimes in a country that glorifies being a two-faced bastard with the term “honne and tatemae”. Nevertheless I couldn’t resist coming up with my own April Fools’ joke yesterday… 🙂

It all began in late 2013 when I was writing and scheduling the articles about my *second trip to North Korea*. I had to spread them out in a way so I would be able to publish the next regular urbex article on a Tuesday, because I pretty much always update Abandoned Kansai on Tuesdays – and that’s when I realized that April 1st would be on a Tuesday in 2014, too. At around the same time I found out that *Igosu 108* had been dismantled in autumn of 2013 and that it was shipped to Vietnam to be rebuilt there. But… what if it would have been *Nara Dreamland* instead of Vietnam? So I wrote the first draft of my April Fools’ joke story.
The piece was resting for months until coincidence helped me bringing it to a whole new level. Some weeks ago I found out that on January 31st the Nara Shimbun wrote a story about Nara Dreamland being foreclosed, because the current owner “Dreamland” owed the city 650 million Yen in taxes, that negotiations about tax reductions failed and that neighbors opposed the city’s idea to buy the property and build a crematorium. All of this is actually true – it’s just that Dreamland still owes the money as the auction hasn’t happened yet. So I updated the article by incorporating those new facts.
Since I tend to write or at least polish articles last minute, I went over it again just before I published it, adding some details you might have or have not found interesting. The company’s name for example, Nara Dreamland: The New, is a reference to “Biohazard: The Real” a.k.a. “Resident Evil: The Real” – a haunted house style attraction at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Not only is it extremely bad use of English in both cases, but USJ is one of the reasons why Nara Dreamland had to close. The CEO’s name, Katsuhiro Yuenchi, is a combination of the real first name Katsuhiro and the Japanese term for amusement park, Yuenchi. Japanese business years indeed usually start on April 1st and most outdoor water parks here are in fact open for only two months, completely ignoring that it is hot enough to make money from at least June till late September. Of course I really asked Japanese friends to write letters to the owners of Nara Dreamland to get permission to take photos there, maybe even to interview somebody – still no answer though… Oh, and the article ends with a quote from Vanilla Sky, one of the few Hollywood remakes I liked better than the original.

As you can see, most of the article is true, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why so many people believed it. I am actually quite flattered by that fact, because it makes me believe that I enjoy quite a bit of credibility out there on the interwebz. And I hope I didn’t jeopardize it with my little joke. (I even waited till 10 p.m. Japanese time to publish yesterday’s the article, to make sure that it would be April 1st in most countries in the world – I could have posted it at 0.01 a.m. Japanese time, still March 31st in most Asian countries and in all of Europe, Africa and America…)
On the other hand I have to say that the April Fools’ joke about Nara Dreamland turned out to be one of the most read articles I have ever written – because people happily spread the word. *My posting on Facebook* was seen by three times as many people as I have subscribers there! Usually about 40% of my subscribers see my postings, which already is a lot more than the 6% Facebook average that we all read about in the media recently. 300% vs. 40% vs. 6% – so please keep Liking and Sharing stuff, if you think Abandoned Kansai is worth supporting! On Facebook and Twitter, by posting links on forums, in comment sections or by sending them to friends. I really appreciate it – and I really don’t like making up big stories to get attention…
By the way: April 1st will be a Tuesday again in 2025… so be careful when reading Abandoned Kansai in 11 years! 🙂

Oh, and since the sour was actually the April Fools’ joke, I’ll give you lots of sweet this week! The gallery below consists of previously unpublished photos I took at Nara Dreamland plus an exclusive one photo preview at tomorrow’s article about another abandoned Japanese amusement park you probably haven’t heard about yet!

(For all your Nara Dreamland needs please have a look at the *Nara Dreamland Special*. If you don’t want to miss the latest article you can *like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* or subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube*…)

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Nara Dreamland soon to be reopened – all the details exclusively on Abandoned Kansai! (Unless you speak Japanese…)

For almost eight years people were wondering: Why do the owners of *Nara Dreamland* pay for a nasty security guard to keep intruders away? Some thought they had too much money while others claimed that they wanted to avoid vandalism, so they could rent out the place as a movie set – Japanese horror movies are famous all over the world, or at least they were for a while, before they were beaten by the descendants of their common Korean ancestors. For years I tried to get in contact with the owners (first Daiei, then a company called “Dreamland”, represented by “L.A. Investment” in Nara) to get official permission to shoot there, just to run into a wall of silence. On January 31st 2014 the Nara Shimbun reported that the city of Nara foreclosed Nara Dreamland and put it up to auction as Dreamland owed about 650 Million Yen (currently 4.6 million EUR or 6.3 million USD) in taxes; previous negotiations about tax reductions failed – and local residents opposed the city’s idea of buying the property to build a crematorium (no kidding!).

The new owner, a company called “Nara Dreamland: The New” (Japanese people and English, always good for a laugh!), went to work quickly. Not only did they finally answer  the letters I wrote months ago to their predecessors, they also invited me and a couple of well-known Japanese urban explorers over to Nara on Sunday, March 30th, as they appreciated “the support of our most devoted fans”, so CEO Katsuhiro Yuenchi. I went to Nara with a bilingual friend and the story embargo was just lifted seconds before this article went online… it will probably hit the mainstream news tomorrow. And news they had for us, unexpected big news! (In case you wonder about the timing: In Japan most companies start their business years on the first day of the second quarter.)

As you already know from the headline, Nara Dreamland is about to re-open soon! Renovations began right after the acquisition in January to make a ridiculously tight deadline: April 26th, just in time for Golden Week, one of the most important vacation periods in Japan. Mainstreet USA and the Cinderella Castle are already almost completely renovated, dozens of experienced woodworkers and technicians currently make sure that the Aska roller-coaster will be ready to go, while the park’s other famous ride, the Screw Coaster… is getting screwed. After almost a decade of negligence the coaster was so rusted and overgrown that new management decided to demolish and replace it. The merry-go-rounds and other small rides in the back of the park are under repair as we speak, so are the BBQ area and the monorail, for which brand-new trains will be imported from the States, hopefully arriving on time for the grand reopening. New attractions include a freefall tower and a Ferris wheel – although the latter one will actually be an old friend! A couple of months ago the giant wheel *Igosu 108* disappeared from Shiga prefecture *as I mentioned on Facebook a while ago*. Structurally sound and completely repainted it now makes Nara Dreamland visible from far away. At least one major attraction like that will be added every year, according to the new management of Nara Dreamland. Sadly they guys were also a bit stuck up and told us to leave our cameras behind in the bus before they gave us the grand tour. Well, most of the attractions and buildings were under construction and partly or completely scaffolded anyway, but I am sure official promo photos will be released soon.

To stick with the park’s tradition and to stand out from the competitors, the new Nara Dreamland will be a pay-as-you-go amusement park, which means that the entrance fee will be only 500 Yen (free during Golden Week 2014!) and that you’ll have to pay for every ride – between 200 and 800 Yen. Dreamland’s water park is currently fenced off and will open completely overhauled  from early July till late August / early September, like most other water parks in Japan, too.

Personally I am very excited about this news! I’ve been to Nara Dreamland at least once a year since 2009 and I am happy that I can finally enter for a small fee without sneaking around. Sure, it is a loss for the whole Japanese urbex community – but at the same time it is such a big win for Nara and all of Kansai! (Sorry, no “new” abandoned location today. Just remember: The sweet is never as sweet without the sour!)

(For all your Nara Dreamland needs please have a look at the *Nara Dreamland Special*. If you don’t want to miss the latest article you can *like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* or subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube*…)

CNN Loved This Photo So Much, They Put It On Their Front Page (Archive Photo)

CNN Loved This Photo So Much, They Put It On Their Front Page (Archive Photo)

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Nara Dreamland (NDL) has been a constant companion ever since I picked up urbex as a hobby in late 2009. Exploring this gigantic and barely touched abandoned amusement park I had the best of times, I had the worst of times, I definitely started with no wisdom and was quite foolish when entering on a Saturday morning, because I didn’t belief in the security guard there as it was indeed the epoch of incredulity, later I saw Nara Dreamland in the season of light and in the season of darkness, though spring didn’t bring hope and there was as much despair in winter as there was ecstasy.
After I explored Nara Dreamland *overnight for seven hours* in early autumn of 2010 I decided that I would retire the place, never going back there again. Half a year prior to that visit I ran into a security guard on the premises, so I had to come back to settle the matter properly; but after my nighttime adventure, I had seen almost all of the park, so I didn’t feel I had to prove anything anymore – neither to myself nor to anybody else. Till this very day, three years later, I turn(ed) down every requests from friends and strangers to go to Nara Dreamland. Except for that one time…

Oliver from the UK dropped me a couple of lines with “a slightly unusual request” in mid-October of 2011, pretty much a year after what I thought was my final exploration of Nara Dreamland. He was about to get married in Osaka to his fellow Briton Ava and asked very politely if there was a way to include Nara Dreamland somehow. Since smuggling in a whole wedding party was way too risky, the three of us decided to go to the publicly accesible *Eastern Parking Lot* to take some wedding photos and then decide spontaneously what to do next. Of course things didn’t go as planned…

Oliver and Ava just finished changing into their amazing tweed kimonos (no kidding!) when we had an encounter with some locals and decided that we might be better off shooting inside NDL that day. Since climbing barb-wired fences is not a thing you want to do tweed-clad or wearing a kimono (let alone both!) my new friends had to change back, enter the park and put on their unique apparel again. While Ava and Oliver were dressing up in the abandoned Cinderella castle, I took the opportunity to take some daytime photos and videos of areas I actually missed the previous time – only to find out that the soon to be newlyweds realized in my absence that tweed kimonos are not exactly practical in case security shows up and we had to hop it. None of us was looking for trouble, so we decided to just take some light-hearted photos of the engaged couple in normal clothing. On the wooden Aska rollercoaster, the fake Mainstreet USA and some other places all over the park. What a fun and unique way to spend time at an abandoned amusement park!

In addition to some wonderful photos of Ava and Oliver I took tons of pictures of Nara Dreamland as well as half a dozen videos. In the future I will post an additional article or two based on this visit, but for now I hope you will enjoy this never before seen footage – and if you are reading Abandoned Kansai for less than two years I strongly recommend checking out the *Nara Dreamland Special* with links to all previous NDL articles, including some of the most interesting photos I have ever taken!

(If you don’t want to miss the latest article you can *like Abandoned Kansai on Facebook* or subscribe to the *video channel on Youtube*…)

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