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Photos of Japan’s Abandoned Amusement Parks, in All Their Ghostly Glory


 Nara Dreamland amusement park in Japan. (All Photos: Jordy Meow)

Urban exploration—visiting and often photographing abandoned locations—is a huge global force of discovery. In the U.S., we call it "urbex." In Russia, those who take their exploration underground are known as diggers. In Japan, it’s known as haikyo—literally, ‘ruins’.

Haikyoists, as they're known, are careful to preserve, and keep secret, what remains of the ruins. In his new book Abandoned Japan, Jordy Meow explains, “the haikyo community has a strong desire to respect and keep the ruins as they are.” In creating the book, Meow has visited schools, hospitals, industrial sites and whole towns to document their state of decay.

In a continuation of first ruin he photographed—an abandoned aquatic park called "Sports World"—Meow has a chapter devoted to amusement parks, and another for the Disney-inspired Nara Dreamland. He has also shot the Yamaguchi New Zealand Farm, a rural-looking idyll in a state of slow disrepair, a rusted ferris wheel from Kejonuma Leisure Land and Western Village, an Old West-themed park with, somewhat bizarrely, a mock Mount Rushmore. Steal a look with this collection of Meow’s images from his book.  

A close-up of the Biwako Ferris Wheel. It has since been dismantled. 

Streetscape in the Western Village amusement park, which became a theme park in 1975. 

The replica Mount Rushmore at the Western Village. 

A staged Old West scene at Western Village. The park closed in 2007.

Yamaguchi New Zealand Farm.

The ferris wheel at Kejonuma Leisure Land, which was open from 1979 to 2000. 

A close-up of the cars on the ferris wheel. 

Waterslides at Nara Dreamland, which was open from 1961 to 2006. 

The Nara Dreamland roller-coaster. 

The teacups ride.