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  1. The first part of this report is on the first page! First up, Kakunodate pictures, then back to Tokyo. We did more touring (didn't take many photos though). We had sort of wanted to visit the Imperial gardens, but you have to reserve the tour waaaay in advance, so we just wandered around the outside. We also wandered around Harajuku, which I imagine is way better if you are a girl, as there's lots of girly shops around there. The Meiji shrine is also just next door. The main attraction of Kakunodate is this row of old "samurai" houses And some nice fall foliage (and rain). The most interesting thing is the Samurai museum, which had some cool swords and armor and pictures. The museum was in a pretty nice example of traditional Japanese architecture, too. I don't even know what this is. Lots of places in Japan have fake food outside as an advertisement, but this place had little origami food! Neato Somehow we forgot to go the "Skunk Cabbage Gregariousness Ground" This awesome restaurant in Tokyo (called Tonkin, I think it was in Ebisu? Or nearby) served awesome pork cutlets (and thats literally all thats on the menu!) Someone suggested this mall somewhere in Tokyo for cool, crazy Japanese stuff. Mostly dissapointing, except for this amazingly expensive store of old collectors toys (like thousands of dollars each) View of Shinjuku across the tracks from my hotel. While strolling around the Imperial gardens, we saw this funky guy in a huge fur coat (it wasn't that cold!) He also had a really nice military uniform underneath with gold buttons. We jokingly called him the emperor. Anyone know if he really was someone significant, or just a quirky guy? View of some of Tokyo's scattered skyline from the gardens. What a lovely bridge! While we were there, there was both a run and a bicycle race around the area at the same time. Then, the Power Rangers showed up! They ran about 100 meters of the race and then stopped abruptly. Japan, I guess! Some nice yellow trees, even in Tokyo. Fast forward to the Meiji Shrine. It was Labor Thanksgiving Day (maybe), so there were massive piles of vegetables all around the area. And lots of people (this is Japan, after all). Next up- 200 photos of Disneysea!
  2. I hope this goes on the next page, or this is going to be one big page! The day after Laqua we hit up Tokyo Joypolis around lunchtime. It was a weekday, so there was absolutely no waiting in any lines. We took the JR Saikyo line from Shinjuku Station- but beware, the train changes to the Rinkai line halfway, which somehow is not a JR line, which we learned when we tried to use our JR rail passes to exit at Tokyo Teleport station. Joypolis was, I think its fair to say, a little disappointing. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with only a week in Tokyo, but maybe with two weeks, its an alright stop. I think we probably should have got the ride passes though, instead of opting for individual tickets, as there was quite a few motion simulators we would have liked to try out, but didn't want to spend money on (and regardless, we didn't have the time that day anyway). In the end, we rode Veil of Darkness (the coaster) twice, and one of the "wild" simulators up top, as well as the skateboarding ride (which was easily the coolest thing there). What can I say about Veil of Darkness? I really enjoyed it the first time. Definitely go in to it knowing nothing (as we did) and you'll be laughing the whole way, so skip this paragraph if you ever plan on riding! It starts off as a dark ride with pretty decent zombie theming, where you pull up to various screens and use the joystick (which only moves horizontally) to shoot zombies and other monsters before moving on to another screen. Its pretty fun and well done, and definitely "japan crazy." Unless you're blind, while waiting in line you'll probably see that it has a launch (its disappointingly weak though) and a barrel roll, both firsts for a spinning coaster. The inversion is actually really fun and disorienting while spinning, and certainly unique. The last portion of the ride is some indoor rollercoaster stuff, which is impossible to photograph. There are some standard wild mouse switchbacks, and then a few hills and turns into the end. This section is really rough, which is forgiveable the first time around, but just ride-ruiningly bad the second time, after there is no more surprise to the ride. My suggestion? Don't ride it twice. More on Joypolis in the pictures. Later, we headed up to Akita by bullet train for some business. Akita is... cold, I guess (not much really to say about it) and really not worth a stop unless you happen to already be there (maybe I'm doing it a disservice though!) People there told us that while we were up there, we "had to see Kakunodate," a small, Edo style village nearby. Did we have to? No. Maybe we were burnt out by Kyoto already, but Kakunodate didn't hold our attention for more than two hours, but maybe I can see the attraction. It was sort of pleasant. Luckily the bullet train goes through Kakunodate on the way to Tokyo, so we got some coffee while we waited at the station. Easily the best thing at the park, its a ride and an awesome game. You (and your partner) try to coordinate moving the board just as it reaches the middle of the arc, and you get points and noise and spin a lot, and it's crazy. Actually quite a cool part of the ride, the barrel roll of Veil of Darkness. There were a lot of simulators and games around the small park, but we didn't get on most of them, although they looked cool. The half-pipe ride from the next floor. There were lots of cool virtual reality games dotted around the park, like this one which puts your face on a manatee. Hard to get any sort of decent photo of the coaster! If I'd waited for a train, I'd (maybe literally) have been there for hours. A nice view from the cafe up top. It didn't seem like there was any good food in the area, but probably if you searched through the malls nearby you'd find something. There are three of these "wild" simulator rides. We rode the "wild wings" one, which was awesome and crazy and very Japanese. Would highly recommend them, especially if the other two (pictured) are as awesome as the one we rode, Snow on the train to Akita! (Australia...) Pretty countryside on the way up. I did appreciate the chance to see a bit of what rural Japan is like, outside of Tokyo. More pictures to come on the next page!
  3. You know, when I was there, I was really struggling to figure out where the hell they put the intamin impulse and wild mouse (before they got rid of them for some reason ). As in, I knew they were gone, but just couldn't figure out where they would fit in the park! PS. Am I still about to be banned for poor grammar? What's this about?
  4. I decided to skip the Kyoto pictures for now, as this is a theme park forum after all. If there is still desire, I'll add them later. Part 2: Laqua and more sightseeing' This update begins on a more somber note- my attempt to visit Aqua Stadium to ride Galaxy Express 999 (Wikipedia tells me it is pronounced "three-nine"). Maybe I should have figured this out before (I still haven't figured it out, actually), but Tuesday seems to be some sort of lazy start-things-late day in Japan (or maybe it was just the particular Tuesdays I was there ). So I arrived at Aqua Stadium at 11 AM hoping they'd already been open for an hour, but, as I cleverly foreshadowed, I had to wait around for an hour for it to open. I drank some expensive coffee and had a quick look around Shinagawa, which didn't seem to be the most interesting area for touring. Anyway, I got in the tiny line for park opening (which consisted, embarrassingly, of mostly little children and their mothers) and listened to one of the park employee's crazily-gestured and incomprehensibly long speech before letting us into the park to buy tickets. I easily bought one for the roller coaster, only to wander over and see that they didn't open for another two hours. . I had other things to do and there was nothing to kill time with in Shinagawa for two hours, so I sulked back to Shinjuku with plans to come another time (I never did). At least when I sort of explained my problem to the ride ops, they let me return my ticket for cash. I haven't heard very amazing things about Galaxy Express 999, however, so I don't feel too bad about missing out. Lesson for others: the park may or may not open their rides two hours after opening or maybe at 2:00 PM all the time (I wouldn't really know), but maybe plan for this eventuality, or at least do some research before jumping on a train Disheartened, I decided not to entirely waste my early afternoon, so I took a stroll around Shinjuku Gyoen gardens, which make for very pleasant city gardens but not so interesting for a tourist (who'd just been to Kyoto, mind you). The Japanese garden section was, however, pretty nice, so I got some good photos. That night I headed out to Tokyo Dome City/ Laqua as I'd heard the park was cool at night, and after 5:00 or so (don't quote me on that), you can buy night admission for around 25 dollars. I highly recommend doing this, especially on a weekday- individual tickets are expensive and there are a few interesting rides there, and Thunder Dolphin is certainly re-ridable (chrome is telling me that is not a word. Oh well). Plus, the park is pretty well lit up at night, although maybe a bit more confusing to get around. I took the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku to Suidobashi, and signs lead you from there to Tokyo Dome City without a problem (plus, you can see it for miles- or rather you could, if there weren't so many buildings in the way). Follow the 'crystal road', or whatever its called, until you get to the open area 'inside' of Thunder Dolphin- then head down one level, past the carousel to where the ticket booth is. I'm telling you this because I got lost following signs for 'Laqua' which led me into the mall, into the crowded and slow elevators, and to a floor that didn't exist (or maybe that the elevators didn't service ). Luckily I banked a good 20 minutes of getting lost time into my schedule, so I still arrived at the ticket booths a couple minutes before the twilight pass time started. They're super punctual (like all of Japan) about starting to sell these tickets at exactly 5:00, so I got laughed at by a group of Japanese kids who also tried to buy the pass a minute or two early (we became friends later on when one of them needed a buddy to ride with- I swear their names sounded exactly like "Coke" and "Wasabi," but I probably misheard). Anyway, I'll narrate more of my story with the pictures. I had planned to take pictures of the very small Epson Aqua Stadium after riding Galaxy Express 999- after that venture failed, I was too grumpy to bother with pictures. Besides, it seemed... wrong... to take photos of a park you didn't really go to. Here's a photo of the alley that takes you to the park entrance. To get there, leave the train station towards the Shinjuku Prince Hotel (its massive) and follow the crowds of people across the street, veering slightly to the right and into the cafe/shop area under the hotel. Keep going straight and you'll see these dolphin signs, leading you to the entrance. Nice views of Shinjuku highrise at Shinjuku Gyoen. The nice thing about these gardens is that they had a lot of space to work with, which is certainly not the case with any gardens I'd seen beforehand (mostly in Kyoto) This Chinese or maybe Taiwanese (depends on who you ask, I guess) structure was donated for something etc etc (reading signs is hard) One of my few pictures where the sun was at the right place I love willow trees, can't get enough of them. Looking up the crystal road towards the Thunder Dolphin side of Tokyo Dome City attractions. Its a little confusing to get oriented because the rides are scattered around the open mall/pavilion sort of area. It was much more frustrating getting lost trying to get to the ticket booth, as I could see this all around me! On a weekday, Thunder Dolphin had minuscule waits- the dispatch time was so long (they literally ask everyone personally if they have any of the medical symptoms you're not supposed to ride with- just nod until they let you on), that you could hop off, stroll to the entrance, and be on the very next train. I probably rode it 8 times that night, in a variety of ways, including with my eyes closed. By the way, they don't exaggerate enough how strict they are about loose items- they somehow spotted, and made me remove, a small receipt from my jeans pockets! I had a coat with lots of pockets, so I bundled all my stuff into it and threw it in the (free) lockers, and just bared the cold while riding. As nice as the ferris wheel as a whole looks, I was surprised by how sketchy the actual cars looked. I was expecting nice, glass capsules (or something like that) but they were the small, metal and mesh variety. I noticed this on other big Japanese wheels too. It was cold, however and probably a little sad to ride a ferris wheel on your own, so I never went on it. Maybe the cars look nicer on the inside? The lights start coming on at dusk. I was actually quite impressed by Thunder Dolphin. I came with low expectations as the general consensus is "meh." But its still a great Intamin coaster with a really impressive setting. I've only been on a hundred or so coasters, and Thunder Dolphin doesn't make my top ten, but easily top twenty, and possibly top fifteen. Riding in the back is definitely the way to go, as there is plenty of airtime to be had (except for the stupid twisty track section). Unfortunately, your position in the line dictates what part of the train you get put in. I saw people stay behind so they could get the seat they wanted on the next train, but I did not know enough (any) Japanese to swing this for myself. Ride it enough, and you'll get in the back! (I wish I could say 'motto of my life!') Don't miss this ride! There's a building in the middle of the crystal road (leave the Thunder Dolphin area), where you go down some steps into this underground area with a few walk-through mazes and this dark ride. I think that its probably similar (albeit lower quality) to the Spiderman ride at Universal- its a dark ride with 3D screen interaction and moving cars. Although its crammed into an obviously small space, its great fun and amazingly Japanese, with all sorts of crazy monster stuff. One quintessential moment of the ride was when the busty lady (featured on the sign) was fighting some giant flying puffer fish monster, when her head exploded and a cat popped out (at you, of course) like a jack-in-the-box, before regrowing again. Fun stuff. Around the area of the above dark rides is this small flat ride area. Also accessed from the crystal road. You can walk from there to "parachute land." I actually found this ride sort of scary, as you're pulled up quite high in a shaky, windy metal bucket with no restraints (luckily, it doesn't freefall back down!) Plus, it was cold up there. Christmas lights at the Thunder Dolphin area. Some Japanese all-girl pop band was performing a free concert that night. Just managed to snap this before someone told me to stop taking photos. Nod and smile and you can pretty much get away with anything though. They also had this sort-of-spinning shooting dark ride that, in retrospect, is clearly a poor ripoff of the 20,000 leagues ride at DisneySea (boy, that update will be fun, 200 pictures with only 25 at once in the uploader! PS, that multiple uploader is fantastic, great work TPR! Although it sounds sarcastic in this context-its not meant to be!) Very hard to get a smooth picture, as it was dark and moving and my camera stinks. Sign credit (sort of) Flashing... lights. Definitely recommend coming here at night, not least because the ride ticket is cheaper! Heading back towards Suidobashi station takes you past the impressive looking Tokyo Dome Hotel.
  5. I recently spent two weeks in Japan, and got to see some amazing stuff and eat some great food. And I brought pictures (lots!) I didn't visit a whole lot of theme parks, just a couple, because I wanted to see regular Japan tourism things, but that just leaves me with more to do next time around. Japan is just full of things to do (other than roller coasters), and has become one of my favorite places in the world. Here's the list of reports I'll be posting (will be hyperlinked when I finish them). I'll also try and create a flickr (or something) album at the end so I can upload the pictures at their full size. If anyone wants more detail about the names of things I did, recommendations, ( or just pointing out my mistakes), etc, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to remember stuff, but I can't guarantee it Hanayashiki and Tokyo Sightseeing (see below) Laqua and more sightseeing (scroll down more) Tokyo Joypolis and Akita/Kakunodate sightseeing (scroll down even even more) Disneysea (with more than 200 pictures too, gonna be a lot of updates) Kyoto Sightseeing (sorry, no theme parks here Update 1: Hanayashiki and Tokyo Sightseeing We arrived at our place in Shinjuku in the evening, and had some great food at a small Izakaya (bar food) place that we randomly chose. After, we wandered around the awesome and eccentric area (and accidentally into the red light district). The next day we spent some time in Shibuya (after some work stuff), for more amazing food at the top of a department store, and to take photos with Hachiko. The day after, we took a train to Ueno to explore the gardens and shrines there, which were very cool, especially the lake filled with plants. After a quick stop at Tokyo University and some great sushi, we headed to Asakusa to see the Senso-Ji temples and shrines, when I remembered that Hanayashiki was also right by (it was never on my list of things to go to). It was raining, so I wasn't expecting things to be open, but we walked over anyway and payed probably too much to go in, considering how tiny it is. I heard it was small, but I never really realized how small; some of you would probably have houses with yards bigger than this park. Nevertheless, it was eccentric and Japanese, and I'm glad we went in just for the experience, and the credit. We didn't do the dark ride because we'd already payed 15 dollars for entry and the roller coaster and didn't feel like spending more. The roller coaster was surprisingly alright, if short and awkward, but maybe that's because I'm coming off around two years of drought in Australia. One thing I was surprised at in the first few days of the trip was the ease of public transport- as crazy as the map looks, buying tickets is generally as easy as looking up the price of your destination on a list, pressing the right buttons on machines (mostly with English options), and actual travelling is as easy as finding the right platform (mostly with English signs) and keeping track of your transfers. We also found that, even during rush hour, it was never that bad- we never had to wait for another train because one was too full. I highly recommend getting a JR railpass before you go, especially if you plan on using some bullet trains, as it saves a ton of cost and makes taking the JR lines (of which there are plenty) extremely easy- just flash your pass to the conductor at the gates and you can walk right in. If you want to get to Ueno Park from Shinjuku, the easiest way is probably to get the E (Oedo) metro line from Shinjuku Nishiguchi station, or the JR Yamanote line from Shinjuku station. I'm not gonna lie, I cannot remember how we got from Ueno Park to Asakusa, but Asakusa is a major tourist stop so it should be really easy to get to. Anyway, some pictures. The usual neon craziness at Shibuya crossing. A small pagoda at Ueno park. The gardens and shrines here are worth a visit, and I read that the museums around the park are meant to be great, but I never got around to visiting them. One of the nice smaller shrines at Ueno Park The bent circular tree at the top of this shrine gave excellent line of sights to the lake. The photo doesn't really do the view justice, as the trees sort of get in the way. The lake was just filled with these plants (I'm not sure what they are- they look a little like corn growing out of water lilies- excuse my lack of botanical knowledge) Looking back at Ueno park from the Shrine in the middle of the lake. The next day we encountered pretty much the worst weather of the trip (generally, weather was great) at Asakusa, at the Senso-Ji shrine Its one of the more famous tourist spots in Tokyo, and the street is packed with knick-knack vendors and mostly forgettable street food- except for the crazy ice cream. Despite the rain, we had to try purple potato ice cream, which was surprisingly delicious. You can't enter the five story pagoda unless you are a registered believer with the temple. The main shrine area. Trying to get a contrast of the old temple (well... recently rebuilt based on old designs temple- much of Tokyo was destroyed in major earthquakes or WW2) and the new Skytree, which we opted out of. Hanayashiki's (what a difficult word to keep typing!) drop tower peeking out behind the temple. Its a very easy park to find, you can't miss it from the temple complex. Rollercoaster is (I think?) Japan's oldest rollercoaster, and actually was running alright. A quaint little bridge within the park. Maybe its because I hadn't been on a roller coaster in a while (sigh, Australia), but I actually enjoyed the short little ride, although it was a little pricey. Some old school flat rides around the tiny park. This is one of the rare times when I actually waited for a train to take a picture! (I'm lazy like that) There was some interesting looking stuff around, but the day was pretty bleak and we didn't feel like forking out too much more to Hanayashiki for rides (you already have to pay admission, then ride tickets seperately, if you don't want to get the ride pass). Around Asakusa are some Edo period style streets with little cafes and shops. We waited out the rain with a cappucino (one of many in November Japan). Taking a look back at the sky tree from the covered arcades in Asakusa. The view of Shinjuku from our hotel room (the Shinjuku Prince- great location for Shinjuku nightlife, small rooms, would still recommend, maybe even over the fancy ones across the tracks, which are significantly farther from the train station and the happening areas of Shinjuku). We headed out to Roppongi for dinner at this place where the fight scene in Kill Bill was based on (I'm sure its recognizable, even if I'm not very descriptive). Extremely touristy, a bit pricey and sort of meh food (compared to some of Tokyo's other greatness) but still a fun little place.
  6. Yeah, I do understand that not as many people speak English in Japan as do in other Asian countries, and I plan on learning some phrases. Just as soon as HSC is over... or whatever they call it in Melbourne
  7. Hey, I haven't posted in a while but I lurk a lot. I'm heading to Japan November 12-29 and will be in Tokyo probably for around half that time, although I don't know exactly when (also Kyoto and Osaka most likely). I love theme parks but I love travelling and seeing things maybe even more, so I'll probably only reserve one day for theme parks, which I definitely want to spend at Disneysea. I know, only one day? (Disneyland looks pretty great too, but Disneysea is unique) So I was wondering- what is the best way to see disneysea in one day? Obviously I won't be able to see all the attractions. I definitely want to go on Journey, Indy, and Tower of Terror, and then whatever other dark rides/ major attractions you would recommend the most. I especially am interested in how to go around the park so I can minimize crowds and still see everything. What I mean is, how would you structure your day to just hit the good stuff: Do you head straight to tower, get a fastpass, then head to journey, then back to tower, etc? I definitely also want to know what rides just aren't worth it. Probably a stupid question too- but do you get the fastpass for a specific ride at the entrance to that ride? Other than that, advice on things like where to get the best food, how bad I can expect crowds to be (bad), would be really appreciated! Also, I'm 18 and speak no Japanese. If I found myself with nothing specific to do one day, would it be difficult (or worth it) to head over to Thunder Dolphin and get some rides in? Might aswell ride some rollercoasters seeing as there's nothing in Sydney Thanks, me (10 year old me chose a crappy username )
  8. 0. RCTLL/RCT2 (I couldn't leave it out, but its just too different to be included on the regular list) 1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (n64) 2. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 (wii) 3. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (wii) 4. Mario 64 5. Halo: Reach 6. Pokemon Soulsilver 7.GTA San Andreas/ GTA IV 8. Pokemon Yellow 9. Goldeneye 007 (wii) 10. Portal 2
  9. Great report! So many awesome pics. I'll probably be going to Japan early-mid April next year and am thinking about hitting up Disney, so I've got a few questions. How does this park (specifically the disneyland park) stack up with the magic kingdom? My family seems a little hesitant, especially after so many great trips to Orlando, they're just not sure that the Japan one won't be a letdown. And on that matter, what are the levels of English like at the park? I see that most signs are also in English, but on dark rides and the like, is it mostly Japanese? (and does that affect the rides fun-ness?) Finally, what sort of crowds might I expect in April? Also related, how many days do you think I should spend at the two parks in order to really take in everything? (I'm not really a show guy, but all of the relevant rides I guess) So yah, thanks!
  10. Tokyo disney looks so amazing... I was gonna be there now but the nuclear radiation made us cancel the trip And now to (maybe) win a bag of crap! yippee
  11. I was just at the park the other day and I saw the track from the drop ride... I assumed it was for the disk-o. Typical of me to go to a park before they build a new ride (happened with Cheetah Hunt too). ^That's very true. The main problem with Dreamworld was how slow they operated the coasters based on their ride length. I was waiting for around half an hour to ride the motocoaster and the line started in the station. I think the Movie World thing is also important, I enjoyed Movie World a lot more just based on a couple rides of theirs (Superman, Scooby-doo, and the log flume). Dreamworld didn't have much to offer me other than an awesome drop tower. Also they brought a (real!) tiger out to chill in the queue line for the log flume. Seriously, wouldn't see that in America.
  12. ^^I haven't logged on in years, though occassionally I check out the games thread to see what talent they got over here... I saw nin posted something so I figured I would. And apparently I still have poor grammar, even two years after that one post.
  13. Although I am perfectly fine with losing the Rhino Rally and getting a new coaster, I just don't think it was a terribly smart idea for Busch Gardens. Rhino Rally was really the only "major" family ride (except maybe the 3-d theater or the water rides) and I feel like Busch Gardens will lose their some of their family appeal with one of their main rides for families gone. And it was a great ride too, my brother got to ride in the front seat and the driver was messing around with him. It was funny. Also it's a much more exciting way to see the animals and the water part is really fun.
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