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PTR:Japan - larrygator goes to Japan (11/6 update)


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The first day after Disney and the first park on the "Tokyo Trip" was Fuji-Q. Eejanaika was down for repairs, Zola 7 closed earlier in the season and Takabisha was just testing. That left only 5 coasters and all of us were still worried about getting all the credits. Fuji-Q is known for having some of the more adventurous coasters in Japan but is also known for huge crowds, low capacity rides, poor operations and coasters that close with the onset of rain.

 

However, it turned out to be a surprisingly sunny day and crowds were light. Fuji-Q even recently implemented a by the ride Fast Pass System. They don't quite have a proper understanding of how to handle the fast passes but it's a start.

 

The strategy was to ride the Wild Mouse at opening then get the kiddie coasters out of the way while Robb purchased Fast Passes for Fujiyama, Dodonpa and Haunted Hospital. The strategy worked as many of us even got down to the Haunted Hospital before the line materialized negating the need for a Fast Pass.

 

All the bad things I heard about Fuji-Q were true, but we got lucky with lights crowds and even got to experience the Haunted Hospital, the walk-through famous for 3 hour lines. Now that TPR members finally got to partake it is understandable why the lines are so long. They let 2 people through at a time with approx. 3 minutes between groups. So the capacity is 60 people per hour. The park is lacking in shade and the place just looks really run down. Even is you love all the coasters, there is no way you can rate this a top park, it looks like a dump.

 

The day also happened to be "All About Bryan Day" so Bryan had to take pictures at the whim of anyone with a camera. Prizes were awarded and I got hosed and did not win.

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What should have been the award winning "All about Bryan" photo. I was robbed.

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This sign had us all worried.

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At least the lockers look happy here.

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Credit #1

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Credit #2

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Credit #3

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Next up was the Haunted Hospital, a 500 Yen (about $7 US) upcharge for a 30 minute walk-through. It was worth it, very creepy aura to the whole attraction. And with that done we had only Fujiyama and Dodonpa left 1 hour into the day.

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Even though we had Fast Pass times for Fujiyama and Dodonpa we figured it was a good idea to get those rides out of the way in case it started raining. I did not take any pictures of Fujiyama, only a picture of this American creeping on a Japanese girl in the 45 minute line. I line that should have been 15 minutes with better operations.

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Dodonpa through the Ferris Wheel window.

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The Ferris Wheel had two lines. Right for air conditioned, left for non-air conditioned.

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The car was supposed to be air conditioned. It wasn't and I sweat off about 4 pounds.

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The structure is quite colorful.

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A crane sprucinf up Eejanaika

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More Dodonpa through scratched glass of the Ferris Wheel.

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A couple of weeks too early for Takabisha

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A Wave Swinger themed to Looney Tunes. I don't recall any other Looney Tunes references in the park.

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Random restaurant menu.

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A few of us ventured into the 4D theater in ThomasTown because it was air conditioned. The movie was just dreadful.

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The heat totally sapped my energy and I did not do the Coffin Ride. I think it was a sensory deprivation experience, but I feared it would be non-air conditioned.

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This attraction sounded interesting but my group wan't interested. Although the sign was in English we were not sure we would understand instructions once we got inside.

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I have no idea where this sign was in the park.

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This one was near the closed Splash Boat.

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I leave you with a combination of Food Stadium, Takabisha and Mt Fuji.

Edited by larrygator
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Haunted Hospital is my main reason for ever returning to Fuji Queue (altough I guess the new Eurofighter would be a bonus). Do they use scareactors in the Hospital, or is it just atmosphere and mechanical effects?

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Do they use scareactors in the Hospital, or is it just atmosphere and mechanical effects?

 

There were scare actors but they were very spread out and not behind every turn. They seemed to get me whenever I let my guard down. At the start of the attraction each group of two is given one flashlight to help guide the way but at the midway point one of the attendants comes in and takes away your flashlight. I can't remember if it was a scare actor or some random guy talking Japanese.

 

The creepiest room was the last room, a long and wide hospital room, like an ICU unit, a dozen beds on each side with curtains as partitions. I think there was only one scare actor that jumped out at us but the anticipation was unnerving.

Edited by larrygator
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The Haunted Hospital was fantasic! My group started with 8 people going and then we ended with only 3 of us. Seriously, one of the creepiest things I've done. They did a great job with the atmosphere in that place.

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The next morning of the trip I violated rule #1 of TPR and paid the price. After one drink too many the night before (OK, maybe more than one too many) I had no desire to rush in the morning. OK, I had no desire to even get out of bed, and I was late. I missed the meet-up and missed the train to Yomiuriland.

 

Not only did I miss the train, I didn't have clear directions how to get to Yomiuriland so the hotel concierge had to try to explain and I wasn't in the clearest state of mind. Turns out there are two trains to get you close to Yomiuriland, one lets you off at the bottom of a hill with a Cable Car leading to the park. That is not where I ended up. I ended up in the other side of the mountain and needed a $25 cab ride to get to the park and since I wasn't with the group I had to buy a $40 ticket to the park.

 

So if you ever go on a TPR Trip, follow Rule #1 and DON'T BE LATE. Even TPR Assistants have to follow the rules.

 

Yomouriland is a park much better enjoyed without a headache, at least that was my take. I still had fun walking around the park trying to catch all the credits as many TPR members laughed at my expense. It helps to have a sense of humor when you go on a TPR Trip, also.

 

Unfortunately the frenetic pace I rushed through the park and my condition minimized the number of photos I took.

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Landdog is one of the coolest park mascots.

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Those are Landdog's footprints.

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Riders on Wave Swinger were in full cloaking device mode.

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The first attraction I encountered in the park was this haunted walk through themed to fish. Actually a fishing village, but I couldn't figure it out.

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This ride op was feeling a little flat today.

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Landdog dominates the Carousel.

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See, the Dude gets his own ride. More popular than Spuds MacKenzie.

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A weak picture of the flying robot ride, because I was more focused on the ride sign.

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This is a shooting jungle dark ride where you shoot poachers and try to avoid hitting the villagers.

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A Canabian, an American and two Brits enter a shooting dark ride...................................................They fail miserably.

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A giant wheel in Japan. Who knew?

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Most awesome attraction in the park. In this building are three mazes you have 2 minutes to complete. The most challenging part of each maze are lazer rooms, where each tripped laser will count you 30 seconds. And it was air conditioned. I think half of the participants spent at least 90 minutes in this building.

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One last ride with Landdog theming. Yep these photos sucks, but since they were taken in Japan that makes them better.

Edited by larrygator
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I should actually thank you for being late! It always ends up being such a great story and threat to hold over people in the future! Made even better since it was one of our trusty assistants!

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Larry, I really enjoy your take on the Japan Tour. Less emphasis on OMFG AMAZING PHOTOS and more on experience. With so much ridiculously good photography on this site its nice to see a non-professional take on things. Umm, yes. That IS a compliment.

 

The TPR 'Don't Be Late' golden rule was in full effect at Knotts yesterday...we had to be there at 5:45AM and not a minute later...we were escorted into the park at 5:43AM, so even those 'mostly on time' were LATE! (if there were any).

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There always seems to be that one park on a TPR Trip that surprises you. Tobu Zoo was that park for me. I knew about the Intamin Mega-Lite and it delivered. I know it is essentially the same coaster as Piraten, but I enjoyed Kawasemi much more. I liked it from the first ride I took before it was fully warmed up, which so it is a fair comparison to my rides on Piraten. it was an added bonus to be able to ride it repeatedly.

 

Unfortunately, riding it repeatedly almost caused me to miss the rest of the park. Quite frankly I didn't know what else was at the park besides Regina, an Intamin Drop Tower and a zoo. It turns out there are a lot of other flat rides over a very large area. I placed pictures of all of them in the Park Index. Shameless Plug #1 There were go karts, and haunted walk through, an excellent 3D movie, a simulator, a haunted swing, quite a few more classic flats and of course the obligatory Ferris Wheel.

 

It you want to see awesome of pictures of Kawasemi look at Hanno's thread. Plug #2 I was too busy riding.

 

This was anyone one of those days that started out outcast but dry happy thoughts turned the sky to sunshine for our time at Tobu Zoo.

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Matt, Tom and Stefan are turning Japanese. Leonard refuses to get sucked into sleepy mode on the way to Tobu Zoo.

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On the way to Kawasemi before the park opens to the public we pass this unusual contraption. I think it is called a Ferris Wheel.

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Even with Robb in the picture, Kawasemi is still sexy. Maybe the appearance of Robb makes Kawasemi look sexier. Either way, props to Robb and Elissa as I probably never would have made it to Japan on my own.

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Unique photo op, at least that's what I think it was. I have no clue.

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The Dinosaur World walk-through was not open.

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But the best woodie in Japan (Regina) was open. I'm still trying to figure out this sign also, but since it's at a zoo I guess it make sense.

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OK, at least the safety sign makes sense.

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Derek said to skip StarCross Meteor Attack, but the signage was too good to pass up. I think I dragged Brad, Bryan and Renee onto this simulator. I liked it. I'm sure Bryan did also since I let him hang out with me.

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The arcade was really cool. It had the "Walk the Dog" game.

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Baseball in a bubble.

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There was this game where you are a train conductor. None of the adults could figure it out but I heard that Kristin mastered it.

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Let's Go Jungle was a video game we played the night prior at Sega Joypolis. Sorry I don't have any photos from Sega Joypolis. You'll have to trust me on this.

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Brad was a pro on this maroca (sp?) game. I think he has it at home.

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I played the Treasure Shot game and won a stuffed Elmo. As it was oppressively hot the air conditioned arcade was a savior.

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But outside to explore the rest of the park I found African Safari themed go-karts.

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Within the scary clown building is a haunted swing.

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I found a big train.

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and found a mini train. If you notice the ride op is starting to cover the train because just as we are about to leave Tobu Zoo the rain started coming down.

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There was a large playground area.

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Which included a big climbing tower.

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One of the best surprises was a really creepy 3D movie with Japanese schoolgirls with monsters in the metal cabinets in the school hallways or something like that.

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And the 3D theater was right next to a haunted walkthrough/funhouse. I'm not sure how many participants on the trip found this area of the park.

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Scottish Steve went no where near the haunted walkthrough.

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With Divv not around someone had to get photographic evidence that Erik was eating ice cream. As rare as a ferris wheel in Japan.

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Artsy shot of one of those ferris wheels

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That's all I got. Bye Bye!

Edited by larrygator
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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, time to get this started aagain. After we left Tobu Zoo, we headed to a small park in a very non-commercial section of Tokyo. Hanayashiki one another one of those parks I know very little about. On one of the previous TPR trips a couple of participants took a side trip to the park. You could definitely tell that difference in the environment for this park. Very blue collar looking area with plenty of traditional Japanese architecture, a lot of street vendors and aggressive restaurant workers trying to bring in diners.

 

Of course just like practically every day of the trip is was overcast and drizzly when arrived at the park after a 15 minutes walk from the train. So of course all of us headed straight to the oldest roller coaster in Japan. The park wasn't very big, wedged into a city block but they packed rides on top of each other including a few decent dark rides and unusual attractions.

 

It was a fun little park but far from a thrill seekers paradise. In the end, one of my favorite aspects of the park was exploring the semi-seedy area around the park.

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We're not in downtown Tokyo anymore.

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The park has to be around here somewhere.

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No really, it has to be close. Oh shoot, the rain is starting.

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OK, that looks promising.

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It's a credit, let's get it.

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But there were plenty of other fun attractions like the Surprising House or as we all called it "The Pig House".

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Rosie and Bill loved the Pig House. KidTums even rode it multiple times.

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There was also this room where they dimmed the lights and you listened to a spooky audio soundtrack. it was not done anywhere near as well as the one at Joypolis.

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The Thriller Car ghost train was well done for having such a small footprint.

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The Disk-O is close enough to the roller coaster that you can reach out and slap hands.

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Although the Space Shot was down for the day, KidTums did have a Frog Hopper to ride.

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TPR members waiting for Fo and Drink.

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But I went for the crepes.

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These types of "loopers" are very common at the Japanese parks.

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The hunter chasing the Big Bad Wolf on a ride themed to the Brazilian Carnavale is a unique choice.

Edited by larrygator
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OK, I prematurely submitted, but that's OK because the remaining phots from this day are from the area surrounding the park. Like I said earlier, much different than downtown Tokyo.

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About two blocks away I found this place.

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and here is the talent.

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but it's all safe.

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Found this covered mall area, notice the graffiti.

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I walked into a Pawn Shop and almost bought this but couldn't haggle very well in Japanese. They also had some used porn DVD for 650 yen (about $5) but I can't post those pictures here.

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If you wondered how much those things cost, NOW YOU KNOW.

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Having this right next to the Strip Club made me snicker.

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and for me final picture of the area around the park I bring you: The Ever Elusive Japanese Homeless Dude. Not easy to track down.

Edited by larrygator
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I always love coming back to Hanayashiki park!

 

Cheesy and (possibly?) Japanese sleezy area (IMhO) it is in, Hanayashiki park is truly one-of-it's-kind (in-city park).

 

Hope you enjoyed the crepe, Larry. They are soooo good, lol.

 

I always find it cool that they can cram so much into that one block or so of space.

 

It's a bit gritty (a bit?), but that is definitely part of the charm of this park.

 

You've shown us a great deal of the whole park there, Larry, thanks!

 

Is it time to go back to Japan?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Toshimaen

 

If you all remember, TPR did a trip to Japan back in June and I started a PTR shortly thereafter. Time to revisit and try to finish this up.

 

So up next is Toshimaen. I had not heard a lot of praise for this park ahead of time but I loved the place. This was probably the park most affected by power saving as many of the larger flats were either down or on rotating schedules. I guess the reason I really loved the park was the combination of old school flats (in great locations) and a couple of dark rides. Nothing to really speak of coaster wise. Sure the landscaping wasn't the best and parts of the park looked run down, but I can easily overlook that if the rides are fun.

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Yup, this looks like the place.

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What's that? A flat ride on top of a building. I love it!

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And another. Hello, Kennywood.

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and another. In total were were 5 or rides on top of buildings including their Wave Swinger, Troika and possibly a Breakdance, also. All great classic flats.

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The Condor never did open on this day, but that's OK as my Condor buddy was not on the trip. Hi Lou!

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The park had a beautiful carousel with rocking horses.

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Mystery Zone was a good ghost train if you like those things.

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I don't remember anything about this haunted walk through, but I think I did it twice.

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BreakDance was other casuality of the power saving measures in Japan.

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But not the Troika.

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I love Flying Carpets. Luckly it opened right before we left the park.

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Hey it's Elissa and Kristen. I wonder where they are going?

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Maybe they are going to the Frog Hopper. I hear KidTums loves them.

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Maybe they are going to the "Puppy Petting" area.

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Or maybe they are leaving the park to eat at Mickey D's.

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They probably did all three but I caught up with them at Mickey D's. Shocking isn't it?

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TPScabby playing with his Alpine Slide wounds.

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Random foot shot for Rex Ryan.

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Another one.

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Yes, that's a good look for you Bryan.

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And here is the park's mascot and proof of the exact day I was at Toshimaen. Hope you all enjoy.

Edited by larrygator
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I miss Toshimaen! I used to visit there as a kid since my aunt lives nearby, but I haven't been for a few years. They some some good food choices, and the flats on top of the buildings are very interesting. Too bad a lot of the flats were down, but it's totally understandable. Did you guys visit the famous Toys R Us nearby?

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Foodwise, I almost ordered something at Toshimaen that looked real good in the picture as I and thought it was some type of dessert with a chocolate sauce. Luckily I scrutinized the picture a little more before ordered and realized it was some type of octopus ball.

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I think this was what I almost ordered.

Edited by larrygator
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^^That would have been terrible. Octopus balls are one of the few things I am not a fan of. They always look so good, so I order them thinking I must have just had a bad one before, but then I quickly am reminded that I don't like them.

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The second park we visited on this day was Seibuen Yuenchi, This stood out to me as the quirkiest park in Japan.

 

The park appears to be built into a bowl with a kids area in the center at the lowest point and flat rides in concentric circles at points higher up in the bowl. You arrive at the park and look into the bowl and the park doesn't look that impressive because you can't see a lot of the rides. The path are narrow in many places as you navigate from ride to ride. The park lets the trees and shrubbery grow and at first glance it does work well manicured but they were a lot of gardeners present doing minor trimming.

 

This is the park where you have to sit in chairs before you can board the coaster. The food also has self serve vendor machines with hot dogs, noodles and french fries. With that said:

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As you can see, the kid's area used the park's Hello Kitty license.

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Who doesn't love the tea cups?

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Elissa Badtz-Maru doesn't like spinny rides.

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Paul demonstrates how the park lets their trees grow.

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But if you look at this picture you can see the shubbery is manicured.

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This picture is taken from one level (circle) above the Octopus and Pirate ship and you can barely see the kid's area in the background (which is one level lower in the bowl).

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The Wave Swinger appeared to be closed, but as my group approached the entrance a ride operator appeared to start the ride.

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As rare is they are in Japan, we found a ginat wheel in the park.

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The only ride that can be seen over the tree line.

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Paul found a drink can with an image of a robot and then we found a robot.

 

 

I only took this picture because Paul looks goofy. A 6ft 4in, red headed guy wearing sunglasses in Japan. No you don't stand out at all.

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My favorite part of the park.

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I get to ride a coaster I never rode before. Cha Ching!

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Another haunted walk through with creepy Japanese dolls.

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Do you know what this is? It's another Flying Carpet; I scored two in one day. Winning!

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The park also had a very ornate Carousel.

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There was an adjoining waterpark that could barely be seen from the ride area.

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Lastly, here is one of those hot food vending machines. I think a couple of people tried the noodles or fries, but I didn't.

Edited by larrygator
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