When I went to Sekigahara Menard Land for the first time in January of 2010 I was welcomed by a snowstorm. When I went there again in April of 2010 it turned out that the snowstorm was actually a blessing in disguise: Without the beautiful cold white blanket Sekigahara Menard Land is not much more than a bunch of concrete foundations…
As I walked along the almost familiar road to SML I saw a car parking right in front of the once so popular amusement park. Great, I thought, either security guards or people who have no clue at all about urban exploration. (As common sense should tell you: Never park right in front of the abandoned place you wanna commit trespassing at – especially if it is right along a country road!)
This time I entered SML via the back entrance a bit more down the road that was completely covered by snow last time. And as I assumed three months earlier the main part of the park was indeed inaccessible thanks to the snow masses. Too bad that it really didn’t matter that much since all that was left were concrete foundations. Every building was destroyed, every piece of metal that was cemented into the ground was clipped off and removed – and so was the rubble of the demolished buildings. The only things not broken were a couple of rusty fire extinguishers and two lonely plastic seats way off the main area.
When I got to area I assume once was the parking lot, the part I saw during my first visit, I saw the owners of the car – not security, but four Japanese people in their early 20s. A short, friendly nod and the group went straight to their car and left, leaving me alone to finally really explore what I’ve basically already seen before. This time the “bunkers”, concrete rooms built into the hill, were accessible – no snow and now open doors made it easy to have a look, only to be disappointed once again. Most rooms were empty and the rest was also unspectacular.
Sekigahara Menard Land is gone. Sure, you can still kind of guess a basic layout, but SML isn’t an abandoned or ruined amusement park – it’s a bunch of concrete foundations with a handfull of rusty items lying around. Maybe you will like it if you choose it as your first haikyo ever, but even then I doubt that you would be impressed.
Edit 2010-06-27: When I looked at the two picture sets I found a couple of photos that are quite similar. Time to put up my first comparison posting… to show what kind of a difference three months can make – and here it is: Sekigahara Menard Land – A Comparison.
(Sorry that some of the pictures are terribly bright / not very crisp this time. I shot the whole day with wrong settings without noticing it. At least it perfectly shows how bright of a day it was…)