Story Time: Abandoned Beauty

So last time I ended my story to the point where I was deciding should I go to the abandoned amusement park with these people I have just met. In the end it wasn’t hard decision (sorry mum…). Of course I went in! You only live once or something like that…

Part 1: Lost In Abandoned Amusement Park

Part 3: Problems with Police

I will again mention that you shouldn’t be like me. Later on this story I learn that visiting abandoned Japanese amusement park in fact is illegal and you will get in trouble. However I also learn that Japanese people and police are so kind and understanding. And I also may learn that there is something charming and special in abandoned places. It’s feeling I can’t even describe. So I hope you like this long boring story of me being totally lost like usually. Enjoy!

(In the first post I meantioned that I had lost almost all my abandoned amusement park photos. However, now I found a few photos more so I hope you will like them!)

Dreaming in Dreamland

abandoned roller coaster nara dreamland

So I was standing next to the abandoned amusement park and the couple I had just met stared me expectantly. After I answered for them all three of us approached cautiously the park’s gate. There was huge gap in the gate and we went inside without any problems.

My first look to the park made me breathless. Cute pastel houses, colorful plastic balls and eerie huge pink princess castle. It was perfect sight and I immediately knew I had done the right choice coming here. We started wandering around and checking what we could find. The couple was taking photos like professionals while I was just staring everything in awe.

After walking around for a while I decided it was time to part from that kind couple. After every minute I was feeling more and more like third wheel. After our goodbyes they continued towards the castle while I decided to wander deeper to the park. When their voices had faded to the distance I felt the scary “I’m all alone in this world” feeling hit me.

nara dreamland

I couldn’t hear birds, traffic or anything except my own breathing and wind. I have never really experienced anything like that so I decided to enjoy every moment and thing there was to see. First I found old roller coaster loop. I think photo of this exact spot is in every abandoned places article/video there is in internet. I hope I had all my photos because it was beautiful. (I don’t know how the heck did I lose half of my abandoned amusement park photos…)

I just stood there staring in awe and not even wanting to continue. How would anything I saw be more beautiful than that? Sun was shining behind the roller coaster and the sky was blue without any clouds. Once again perfect day and perfect moment.

abandoned_cars

After that I saw so many beautiful sights that lose the count of them. Huge swimming pool and water park are with its colorful slides and small food stands. Abandoned cars just being there behind every corner. Building after building full of stuff.  Park tickets, colorful props and dust covering everything except the foot prints wondering back and worth the floors.

It had been over hour at that point and I haven’t even seen half of the park. I saw some kind of  pond and decided to take closer look to it. The ride was adventure and amazon themed. There was sinking colorful boats in the small lake. Then I turned to look the ride’s ticket booth and at the same second started to run and hided behind wall close by. My heart was beating too loudly and for moment I was sure this place was cursed.

I tried to glance the sight that had scared me almost to death. It still looked same. There was someone sitting in the ticket booth. Someone without head and looking like rotten body. After I had evened out my breathing I decided to take closer look. My reasoning side told me there was no way that it would be real body. My more imaginative and scared side was sure it must be zombie or cursed traveller.

abandoned japanese amusement park

I went closer and closer and soon realized theobvious truth. The scary headless zombie body was just prop or decoration for the ride. Someone had propably stolen its head and arranged it there to scare all the intruders like me. The whole situation was making me laugh and I was letting out the sigh of relief when weird noices broke the silence and made me jump back to my hiding spot.

After listening closely the weird noices seemed to be car driving by except I didn’t see anyone. Later on I will realize that it must have been the guard but at that moment I just tough there may be road close by. The noice was gone almost as fast as it had began and I was ready to continue my exploration.

abandoned mirror house nara dreamland

I saw some more interesting thins: merry-go-round, more rides and another roller coaster. It was silent everywhere. Next spot I spend more time in was mirror house. Once again I was strugling with easy question: to go and adventure the inside or stay safely outside? The broken mirrors and messages left to the walls made the place look like scene from horror movie.

I had to jump over some broken pieces so I didn’t get wounds through my sneakers. I got totally lost. There was mirrors everywhere – some broken and some colored with spray paints. I kept walking around not understanding how would children’s amusement park have this place in it. Then I realised every now and then there was small arrows pointing the right way out.

After exiting the house of horror mirrows I continued towards the huge castle I had decided to visit last. I didn’t know how wrong the end of my happy day in abandoned amusement park would soon go! (Well, I had fun and can now laugh for the things that happened but at that time it was horrible…)

mirror_house2
“Not scared at all!”

So well… I may have problem with writing too long stories… Because of that you have to wait until next week to read the ending of my story (and also the main point where I get caught by Japanese police…) I’m sorry, I’m bad at not sharing too much boring things. But I hope you enjoyed my story or at least the photos.

I hope you are having an amazing week!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Story Time: Lost in Abandoned Amusement Park

Hello everyone! And mum if you are reading this you should probably stop now. Because today after a long time I am going to share with you fun story/memory/warning example from my travels.This is going to be story of me getting in trouble with Japanese police, getting lost in abandoned amusement park and doing everything solo travellers shouldn’t do.

So be prepared once again for too long story from my crazy adventure! (I accidentally wrote so long story that I will publish it in two parts… Sorry, not sorry! And because I have mystically lost almost all my photos from this adventure enjoy the other Japan photos I have picked out for you. Enjoy… )

Finding Abandoned Dreamland

Japanese Abandoned Amusement Park

Even after spending two months in Japan I still hadn’t learned to not trust the free tourist maps. Deciding to visit Nara was kind of quick decision (someone told me about the cute deers and I wanted to go and see them right away!) so I didn’t have a lot of time to research things to do in the city. Then one person from my hostel showed me photos of small Kurokamiyamainari shrine with beautiful long torii walkaway. He even showed me the place from my Nara map I had gotten from Kyoto’s tourist office. It wouldn’t be that hard to find before going to see the deers, right?

When I got off from the train and continued exploring Nara towards the shrine I didn’t have clue that my day would soon turn to thrilling adventure. I kept walking around and at first everything went well I knew exactly where I was and the Nara around me was charming like Japanese cities usually. And then I was lost.

Japanese Forest Path torii

On my left side there was huge amusement park and on my right side huge parking lot. Neither of them was on my map. Because I’m good at getting lost this didn’t cause a lot of panic for me. Confidently I walked the road I thought would be right one and ended to the huge parking lot. I think it was that moment when I realized this must be Nara Dreamland the abandoned amusement park everyone is talking about.

Because I had no idea where I was and around me was just wild abandoned looking area I decided to sit down and eat the breakfast onigiris I had bought from the station. There I sat with my map looking totally lost when group of locals at my age appeared from the same road I had used. Because I wanted to find my way out of this frightening abandoned place I decided to approach them.

Japanese red shrine
I have still million photos of Japanese temples and shrines that I have not shared with you. So here is one more of those photos!

I didn’t get a lot of help. Apparently they weren’t as interested about shrines as I was. But we had a small conversation and they told me they were going to the abandoned huge amusement park next to us. They even asked if I wanted to come with them but I declined. I was left standing alone to the parking lot when they walked in from the huge hole in the main gate. They had probably done this several times before.

I really wanted to go with them but decided to just find the shrine and not do anything stupid. So I continued walking around until older man stopped me and asked if I need help. Another thing I had learned but forgotten while in Japan: don’t trust blindly the people helping you. That old man gave me advice and because of it I got even more lost and walked for three extra kilometers until I somehow found myself again from the same abandoned parking lot.

Nara cute tame deer
Here is one of the so famous Nara deers. I think it wants to kill me…

So there I was again standing on that parking lot staring the amusement park’s gate. Maybe I should go in? If you had been next to huge abandoned Disneyland looking amusement park and the gate open what would have you done? There was no way I would not go in.  This was my adventure and even if I knew it was stupid I really wanted to go in.

Hostel life eating problems
This funny photo is my lunch. If you wonder why there is my name and room number, you have never lived in hostel!

Because I am coward I sat there once again eating and staring longingly towards the hole in the gate. Then I saw once again people coming towards the amusement park. I stood up to say hello (because I didn’t want to seem like suspicious person just staring at them). When they saw me they got totally spooked out. They hide behind one of the buildings close by and I was left there alone like an idiot.

For a moment they kept glaring me behind the building. (Maybe they tought I couldn’t see them?) And then they decided it was safe to come and say hi to me. We talked for a little and like I had guessed this American couple with design clothes and huge camera were headed to the amusement park next to us. 

Once again I was asked to come and do something probably not so safe. (Abandoned places are full of death traps…) If you want to hear the rest of this story I will publish it next Friday. Then you will get to know if I really went in to the abandoned amusement park. (SPOILERS: Of course I did! I’m a little bit crazy like that.)

img_5922
By the way this is first time I’m publishing my own photo in this blog. So, hello everyone!

Have you ever been visited abandoned places? And what would you have done in situation like this?

Part 2: Abandoned Beauty

Part 3: Problems with Police

I hope you will have an amazing weekend!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Bucket list: Golden Pavilion

Today I’m going to introduce yet another Wanderlust Wednesday place based in Japan. This golden pavilion is mainly on my must recommended bucket list attractions because of its photogenic looks but also because of the amazing experience I had visiting there. Kinkakuji aka Golden Pavilion is one of those places you shouldn’t miss when visiting Kyoto!

So let me make sure you will fall in love with Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion and add it to your Japan bucket list! It may seem too expensive to visit and there isn’t a lot of things to see. However, if you want to brag in social media using amazing photos from your Japan trip this golden temple is the must place to go in Kyoto. The selfies and photos you can take when visiting Kyoto’s Kinkakuji are just simply breathtaking.

Golden temple autumn Kyoto

Golden Pavilion

Other Names: Kinkakuji

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? Direct buses leave from Kyoto Station

When to go? I think the prettiest time of the year to visit Kinkakuji is when there are autumn leaves. However, this Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion is worth to see all year round. Kinkakuji is open from 9AM to 5PM. Go early so you have enough time to get charmed by Japan’s golden wonder.

How much does it cost? 400 yen

Why should you add Kinkakuji to your Japan bucket list?

Like I mentioned already Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple is the right place to take your best travel shots. Or well probably just that one photo with you standing in front of the water and golden building. Finding Instagram photos spots in Kyoto won’t be hard but Kinkakuji is definitely one of the best photo spots. If you are lucky there are no photobombing tourists next to you.

I could keep making fun of the Golden Pavilion because of the insane amount of tourists visiting there. However, Kyoto’s Kinkakuji did impress me. I would not recommend it as a thing to add on your Japan bucket list if it was just for that one selfie. I have to admit that I had never seen anything quite like Kinkakuji. Beautiful gold pavilion. Isn’t that enough of reason to visit this Kyoto’s tourist hot spot?

kinkakuji3

My Visit to See Kinkakuji in Kyoto

I had some challenges trying to find the entrance. There was huge construction site between the bus stop and line for Kinkakuji. Finally, I found the right place following group of students. The closer I got the more students I saw. Apparently, there was field trip going on.

I walked confidently to buy my ticket, saw how much it costs and ran away in panic. 400 yen to see one building. Why would anyone pay that much? With that money, I would pay dinner of the day. I didn’t know what to do so I kept walking back and forth among the students.

kinkakuji2

In the end, I decided it was just money and walked again confidently to buy my ticket to Kinkakuji and went through the entrance. There was a lot of tourists and I was starting to regret my decision. Until I saw the Golden Pavilion. How can one building be so beautiful?

I took some photos and probably appear in dozen holiday photos others have taken. It was crowded in the perfect photo spot and guards were making sure no one stood on the walking path but rather in the photography area. That one not so perfect selfie with Kinkakuji was quickly taken and I walked ahead.

There was some other buildings and things to see but nothing would be worthy of mention after seeing the main sight. In the end, there was some small shops (and a lot of free food samples…)

kinkakuji_forest
The other things to see in the area were nothing when compared with the golden building.

It was a hot day so after exiting the park I bought ice cream from vending machine. I had just eaten it and decided to leave when a group of students (probably under ten years old but I’m really bad at guessing ages) approached me. Behind them stood their teacher who smiled warmly at me.

“Hello, can we ask questions from you?” one of the students finally dared to ask me. Their teacher explained that they were English language students and had this mission to ask one tourist things about them. Of course, I agreed.

kinkakuji

They asked shyly about my name, nationality and other things. I gave Moomin pins for them because I used to always carry them with me in the case I met someone special. After they had asked all the questions I, of course, got sticker decorated business cards from them. So Japanese and extremely cute that I had to keep myself from laughing.

It was a fun experience and I got really surprised how good English they spoke. Perfect ending for my Kinkakuji visit.

My second time visiting Kyoto’s Kinkakuji

After visiting Kyoto for the first time in 2015 I couldn’t get this beautiful city out of my head. It wasn’t surprising for anyone when I decided to return to Japan for the second trip in 2018. The only difference was that this time my cousin and sister were sticking along because apparently, my stories of Japan, Kyoto, and Kinkakuji had made them curious.

And so we ended up visiting the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto for their first time and for my second. Let me tell you that even after seeing it already once the charm of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji hadn’t faded. Would I pay for the ticket again? Yes, probably. Visiting Kinkakuji won’t take a lot of time out of your day in Kyoto but at the same time, it’s one of those places everyone should add on their Japan bucket lists or must to do things in Kyoto.

I even learned new things this time around! When you walk the path through Kinkakuji garden there are these “cups” and statues where people throw money for good luck. Definitely must to do when visiting Kinkakuji, however, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Like always feel free to comment below your thoughts. What are some of your favorite destinations on your Japan bucket list? Or maybe Kinkakuji in Kyoto is one of them?

Wanderlust Wednesday: Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion
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Have wonderful adventures!
Lost Viivi

Fushimi Inari Taisha

It’s time for first Wanderlust Wednesday! This is new blogging series that will have new post every Wednesday in my blog. (This is mostly for me to keep writing something every week… But don’t worry! I will still publish a lot of travel articles in other days too.)

The idea of this series is to recommend places for everyone to visit at least once in their life time. Kind of like bucketlist but destinations I have experienced and loved. The topics will be everything from countries to small attractions and even cozy accommodations. So follow my blog if you want more inspiration to travel!

Today I’m going to introduce one of my favorite places in whole world. If I could only do one trip before dying I would probably decide to go here. This place is beautiful, calming and full of secret trails. It’s full of tourists but also locals. So what place am I talking about?

Magical Forest Kyoto Torii

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Other names: Fushimi Inari shrine, Mt. Inari, Mount Inari

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? I always walked because my hostel was only two kilometers from the entrance (and I had a lot of time). You can also use train. It takes about 5min and costs 140 yen.

When to go? Fushimi Inari is always open. I loved the autumn leaves but don’t know about other seasons. I recommend going on early evening and walking to the top when it is still bright. Then stop at the observation/restaurant spot and admire the sun setting over Kyoto. (PS. At dark the place is scary but magical.)

How much does it cost? Totally free! Just remember take water and snacks with you because the ones they sell are pricey. And you may end up buying souvenirs from here or crave for ice cream on your way to the top. So you should budget some money to do that.

Why to go?

If I should persuade someone to visit Mt. Inari I would just show them some photos of the Torii gates covering all the paths up. Why I fell in love with this place, is a much difficult matter. So let me tell you one of the many tales from my visits to Mount Inari.

torii

My Story (To Get You Visit This Beautiful Place)

It was my second time on the top of Mt. Inari and it was starting to get dark. I knew the sun would be down before I would get back down. Fortunately the main trails have street lights so it was only a little scary to walk.

I was only one in sight but was able to hear other hikers somewhere far away. Everything glowed in green and red lights and big shadows came out of the shrines I walked past. There were no humans but several cats kept following me. If I tried to approach them they would run away and disappear to the darkness but soon after another cat would follow me again.

I was almost back to the main shrine and bottom of the mountain. There was more and more people around me, mainly locals at this hour. The cats were long gone because of all the talking, laughing and screaming. It didn’t seem so scary anymore. Then I decided to do something crazy that would either end up being catastrophe or once in life time experience.

fushimi_inari

There was small trail with weaker lights going steeply uphill and away from the way I was going. It took only seconds from me to decide and start walking there away from all the people. After me followed one family and two Japanese boys. We kept walking towards darkening forest and soon the family turned back because it seemed like this path would not go anywhere.

Then with flames that looked real fire lighted shrine came to our view. The boys behind me were laughing and having fun and probably wondering what I did here. I totally fell in love with the small shrine. Only for that my walk would have been worth it. The boys decided to walk ahead when I still admired the cozy shrine.

I had to do another bad decision. To walk more or to return back. The path going on didn’t have lights anymore. The forest was getting more and more dense and the only light I saw ahead was the phones of the two boys walking. Of course I decided to walk to the darkness.

I saw the boys turning and starting to walk towards me. I though maybe they decided it was too scary to go on. For me this trip was all about winning my fears so I took my phone and lighted  it up. At that point the boys realized I -the foreigner lost looking girl- had decided to walk more. They quickly turned and continued to walk towards.

japani 146

Maybe it would have been embarrassing for them to turn back if I was going on? Well, whatever the reason was they kept walking and I kept walking. Sometimes their light would get lost behind the trees and at those moments the darkness surrounded me. Scary.

After a long walk I saw light getting closer and closer after every step. Soon the two boys walked towards me, said soft hellos when going past me and continued laughing and talking. I decided to continue towards the light even if it meant I would now be totally alone in the forest.

fushimi_inari_taishaThe light ended up being yet another shrine and small waterfall. My night walk was becoming more and more worth the scared feelings. I think this was one of the most beautiful and peaceful sights I have seen. There is no words to describe the beauty I saw and unfortunately no photos because of the darkness. But maybe that is just a good thing so I was able to fully enjoy the moment.

So then I walked back the dark forest path and didn’t feel that scared anymore. I got safely back to the hostel and have now memory to last forever. I hope I can return here one day in the future… I returned to that exact spot later on but when it was sunny and warm. In day light it wasn’t as magical but still beautiful.

kyoto_sunset

This was my small story from Fushimi Inari. I would have hundreds of them to tell but we don’t have time for that. So instead I will just say that you should go and experience it by yourself.

Did I wake your wanderlust? Have you ever visited Fushimi Inari or is it already on your bucket list? I hope you enjoyed today’s subject.

With Love,

Viivi Severina

The Catastrophic Hostel Worker

I love volunteering in hostels but it’s not always fun and games. In my last post I shared one good experience I have had and today I have terrible volunteering story for you. It may not sound at first too bad but I wasn’t paid for working. Only thing I got out of it was small bed (without mattress).

 

Catastrophic First Week For Hostel Worker

My first days in Tokyo had been full of first times. Volunteering in hostel, solo traveling and trying to survive with my bad English. I had survived fine except the working conditions sucked but I naively though everything would get better.

It was my fourth morning and I woke early to be ready and clean. I felt quite good and nothing predicted the mess this day would turn out to be. It was sunny and I had only five more days until my day off. The cleaning went well. I listened music dancing and mopping around the empty hostel and took in the beautiful neighborhood from the house’s sun patio. Everything was perfect.

Until it wasn’t. I had to change linens on two rooms. The first one was easy. Empty room, two beds with dirty linens. The second one turned out to be my first nightmare of that day. One dorm room, four dirty beds and only one person leaving the room. My problem was how there was no way of knowing which bed I should change the linens.

As bright problem solver I decided to change all the four beds and go to get early lunch. My work day wasn’t yet over. I still had to wait for two people who were going to check-in. My boss had given me permission to be half hour away from the hostel when waiting for guests. So I spend exactly that time walking to nearby shopping mall.

Everything seemed fine again. I hoped I would spend more time on the city but I was still holding on to the promise of coming days off. So I returned and began my waiting. It wasn’t so bad to watch Netflix, talk to the other guest and write. So I waited until several hours later someone ringed the doorbell and I rushed happily to open.

Behind the door stood cute young Asian boy looking a little lost. I of course welcomed him in thinking he must be one of the guests checking-in. The answer I got was flustered “only Chinese or Japanese” and so I was in problems again.

I tried to speak with my hands, basic English words I hoped he would understand and trying to come up some way to talk with him. The boy looked more and more frightened after every moment and my own state of panicking was growing.

So I did only thing I know would solve the problem and went to ask help from my boss who in fact talks Japanese and Chinese and was in the room next door. Oh, the stupid me… I chose wrong option.

After knocking to her door I told to my boss that I needed translating help to talk with this guest. The look for me was deadly but she didn’t have other options than to come and solve the situation. She talked to him and then I showed him around the hostel. When I left the boy to his room’s door, we were smiling stupidly and wishing each other goodnight.

And then I returned to the living room where my boss waited for me arms crossed and angry face on. Then she shouted. Apparently I was useless and should never again ask her help in situation like this. She also dissed my English skills and working speed. Like usually I just kept kindly quiet and listened.

I though my bad day wouldn’t turn worse but of course it did.

I kept waiting for the second guest. I waited, waited and waited. The clock was eleven PM and I had been waiting for whole day. There was no way I was going to disturb my boss again so I just sat there in the living room and tried to find something to do. Then my boss came out to the kitchen to eat.

“The second guest of today hasn’t yet came…” I probably sounded pathetic but I had grown to be scared of that woman.

“She came already when you weren’t here and I checked her in.” Then she went back to her room and I was left behind to keep my anger inside. I had been waiting for hours that I would have spend exploring the city. She had been whole that time inside of her room and seen me many times. Why the heck hadn’t she told me that I was free to go?

That was first day when I started to seriously think about ending my volunteering and just renting a apartment. It took a couple of more days and bad experiences with my host before I sneaked out of the hostel and found charming dorm to live in.

.      .      .

So as warning example always talk more with your host before going. Ask specific working hours, look everything critically and hope for the best. And if you are not feeling good, safe or valued in the place no one is preventing you from leaving.

Have you had bad volunteering experiences? Or have you ever left the place you were supposed to volunteer?

Tomorrow I am leaving to huge summer camp so the next post is going to be written in forest. I just hope my internet will work. So on next Monday you will get pros and cons of being hostel volunteer. See you then!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina