Belgium photographer Reginald Van de Velde – known for capturing the world's most abandoned places – recently visited Japan for the sole purpose of exploring some of its forgotten amusement parks, explaining: "The Land of the Rising Sun is cramped with derelict goodies, and they're on a scale you've never seen before."
Taking a walk around the former Nara Dreamland, Western Village, Family Land and Big Mountain Pachinko – he gives us a fascinating glimpse into the fun that once was, and what has been left behind. With empty Ferris Wheels, rusting rollercoasters swamped by nature and eerily quiet arcades – the apocalyptic scenes evoke a melancholy mood.
But why are these parks no longer? Nara Dreamland was inspired by the original Disneyland and was built in 1961 with almost identical rides and attractions to its American idol. But when Disneyland Tokyo and Universal Studios Japan opened their doors, Nara Dreamland quickly saw visitor numbers drop and sadly closed its doors in 2006. Western Village was launched in 1975 but was forced to close in 2007 because of its remote location and similar competition. Family Land closed as far back as 1970 and leaves only a giant Ferris Wheel in its wake. And last but not least, Big Mountain Pachinko is one of Japan's many abandoned Pachinko parlours – deserted, lost and forgotten forever.
If you love photographs of abandoned places as much as we do, check out more of Van de Velde's work via www.suspiciousminds.com.