Nara Dreamland was a theme park near Nara, Japan which was built in 1961 by a company called Nippon Dream Kanko. Its president, Kunizo Matsuo, wanted to build a similar park to California’s Disneyland that catered to the Japanese.
The park looked almost identical to Disneyland: its entrance looked the same and it had the familiar Sleeping Beauty Castle at the hub. It also had a Matterhorn-type mountain (with a Matterhorn Bobsleds-type ride, called Bobsleigh), and the skyway running through it, as well as an Autopia-type pubs and a monorail. The park also had its own mascots, Ran-chan and Dori-chan, two kids dressed as bearskinned guards.
The park contained several rides prior to closing, including: Fantasy Coaster, Bobsleigh (a steel roller coaster modeled after the Matterhorn Bobsleds).
Figure-8 monorail, Screw Coaster (an Arrow Development designed double corkscrew steel roller coaster), Kid’s Coaster and Aska (a wooden roller coaster based on The Cyclone at Coney Island) which was considered as the best attraction of Nara dreamland. Other rides included a Jungle Cruise styled ride, a small powered coaster, a carousel and a log flume. For 45 years they pulled in the big crowds.
Strict zoning laws prevent the site from being used for residential, commercial, retail or hotel developments, making the property largely unattractive to investors.
Even after its being abandoned, the wooden roller coaster Aska remains the most popular destination for all ‘visitors’. As there are no plans yet for the future, it will remain one of the decaying visions of misplaced dreams.