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TR- bert has a Spooktacular time with TPR in Japan!

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after leaving LaQua Tokyo Dome City (and having a fantastic morning there), we went back to the Train station as a group.

Two trains and about 40 minutes later we were in Yokohama and ready for the remainder of my 1st full day in Japan.


Coming out of the Yokohama Train station, we exited facing the Minato Mirai area - an entertainment area featuring tons of Restaurants , Shopping, Museums (including the one on Nippon Maru, a 1930's Sailing Ship that's permanently docked in the Harbor), Yokohama CosmoWorld, and this beauty off to the left - the Landmark Tower - super unique architecture, that I believe is the 2nd or 3rd tallest building in Japan.


Crossing the street, and headed towards the Kishamichi Promenade, there is interesting architecture all around.


not exactly sure what the Cross Gate is, but the building sure was Unique looking.


walking on the Kishamichi Promenade, towards Cosmo World, you can see the amazing Cosmo Clock 21 - which is still one of the world's largest Ferris Wheels (at over 360 ft), and at the time it was built, was the worlds largest.


while walking on the Kishamichi Promenade, you really get some stunning views of the area.


more to the left, and I apparently cut it off, would be the docked Nippon Maru ship.


the Cosmo Clock really is breathtaking in Person. . and as impressive as it is? it's even more impressive at night - and we'd get to see that, as CosmoWorld was gonna be open until 10pm, and we were arriving just around 4pm.


that's all shopping and dining surrounding the Cosmo World amusement park. . including the "Cup Noodles" museum - something that I learned from Elissa on this walk: it's NOT "Cup 'o Noodles" or even "Cup of Noodles". . it's "Cup Noodle"


I was pretty surprised to discover that I had been saying it wrong my entire life! but there it was, right across the street from the park entrance. (one would think that with ~6 hours to spend at CosmoWorld, I would have found time to venture across the street to the museum. and I WANTED to. but the timing just didn't work out, with just too many other things vying for my time this afternoon. So something to do for sure if I make it back to Japan).


looking back across the waterway, at the Yokohama Landmark Tower.


truly an impressive sight.


Coming off the Kishamichi Promenade, and rounding the walkway towards CosmoWorld.


damn, that Ferris Wheel is BIG.


and we're almost at the entrance! that pink track is from Diving Coaster Vanish, and the Spinning Mouse is on *top* of the 3 story arcade/dark ride building.


it's pretty impressive how they crammed so much into such a tiny space surrounded by shopping/dining/museum areas.


and here we are - at the main entrance!


pic courtesy of Robb.


we're here!


Park map, and as you can see, it's actually a bit more spread out than I had thought at first. With quite a bit of things to do on the other side of the harbor


yes, bert, that's the Cosmo Clock 21 - you found it!


good boy!


so overwhelmingly impressive when standing directly beneath is.


really gives one a "wow" moment.


but before we get deep into the park. . the first thing we come to, just to the left of the entrance?


the famous "Cliff Drop” ~ Scream Grand Prix ~ - the log flume where the volume of the scream gets you on the board.


scream loud enough, and you can top the board for the day.


so OF COURSE, that's what we had to do 1st, so many of us split up into groups of 2 or 3, and attempted to scream our way onto the board.


I believe I rode with 1 other guy, and our manly screams (tho I tried to scream higher) were not loud enough to even register on the board, tho some of the TPR folks did manage to get into the top 5.




Didn't get too wet on it- only a slight splash - but really, this almost counts as a coaster in my book, because the section from the turn around over Vanish's dive, until the big drop? you're flying in that tube, with very little water flowing beneath your log. Yep, it's got a bit of airtime, before the drop.


really enjoyed this flume, even if I wasn't able to scream loud enough.


yet another pic of the Cosmo Clock.


Not sure why I'm giving a thumb's up. .it's not like Vanish coaster is on the tracks there or anything. LOL


Probably because I'm still in disbelief that I'm standing in front of this place that, again, I had only seen/heard about in other trip reports on TPR over the years.


speaking of Diving Coaster Vanish? that is where the majority of the group headed to next.


it had a bit of a line, but nothing too outrageous, and I think we maybe waited 15 minutes for it. The boarding station for Vanish, is in the same structure as the boarding for the Ferris Wheel (which is on the level above it) - you go up the Left stairs for the Cosmo Clock, and the Right Stairs for Vanish.


Getting a shot of the front of the coaster train, and the cubbies on the dock.


I can't recall 100%, but I *think* they were only running on train here.


it's a little hard to tell from the pic, but if you think that looks like a lot of padding on the restraints?


Double what you are thinking it looks like.


I was so uncomfortable, and got incredibly claustrophobic, the moment the restraints came down and my head/ears/body was crammed in-between the foam .. smooshing my ears. Oh, I get it, the coaster - while super fast - is not at all smooth, and that padding is needed.


but I was so uncomfortable, and just wanted the ride to be over, that I didn't enjoy it at all. (I don't think I was the only one either, and I don't believe any of the folks I was hanging with rode it more than this one time). Certainly none of us got back in line to ride it again.


so it's a case of "wow, this coaster LOOKS amazing. . but it is a 1 and done"


it really does haul tho, and the dive into the lake really is a spectacular effect to view from the unload platform near the Cosmo Clock station.


Looking up at the Cosmo Clock from the Diving Coaster Vanish exit.


Some of the gondolas are completely clear! I believe these were an upcharge to ride in them, and there were only a handful on the wheel. it would have been really cool to ride, but since was with someone who is not a fan of heights - but *was* willing to ride it later once it got dark. . .wasn't gonna push to ride a clear gondola.


really pretty cool looking tho.


Still on the Diving Coaster Vanish exit, looking across the water at more of CosmoWorld - where most of the flats are, and the "island" where all the kiddie rides, and the double Carousel is.


Behind on those levels are tons of restaurants, stores, and public areas where bands or clowns were performing.


catching the log flume at the bottom of the 1st "splash" before it goes under Vanish, and heads up to what I called the "coaster" section of the flume.


but since here, let's grab some pics of Vanish "diving"


it's moving so fast, it's a bit of a blur.



but that splash effect is great!




a bit disorienting, but pointing the phone up to see most of the Cosmo Clock above me.


A shot of the loading station for Cosmo Clock behind me.


it wasn't very crowded this early - when we came back to ride it after dark, the line had more than quadrupled in size, and I think it was a 20-25 minute wait.


but we weren't gonna ride it just yet.


this wheel is just SO damn photogenic.


I lost most all the pics I took of it against the sky - hard to whittle down so I don't post all of em!


we headed up the escalators to the rooftop, with the spinning mouse next on our agenda.


From the queue there, you can also get some great pics of Diving Coaster Vanish.


as I noted, I didn't really wanna ride it again, but it certainly is very photogenic.


here's a lift hill shot.


and the turnaround into the 1st "drop"


the brick building with the glass upper floor on the right there is the "CupNoodles Museum" I mentioned earlier.


nothing super steep, but it does pick up a lot of speed here. it's a fast, if not smooth, coaster.




it was only about 5:15, but combined with the overcast day? it was starting to get dark enough that some of the lights were starting to come on.


and I was realizing just how spectacularly lovely this park was going to look at night.


not quite dark enough to truly appreciate the LEDs in the CosmoClock, but I love this pic because I was able to get one of the Spinning Mouse cars in the frame.


pic courtesy of William (I think).


Trent and I riding. . . . Cookie Monster? LOL. . this mouse didn't really seem to be anything super special, but it really did give an awful lot of spinning once we hit the release on the 2nd level.


I enjoyed it immensely.


While waiting at the exit for the rest of the group to get off the Mouse (they were only operating 4 cars, so although they weren't loading too slowly, capacity is always gonna be an issue with this type of coaster), I was able to get pretty close to Diving Coaster Vanish's helix.


again, you can see how crazy fast this coaster is, by how blurred it is (and how little the log in the flume has moved between levels of the helix).


again, behind on the right, is the CupNoodles Museum.



a good chunk of Vanish, and an view of this side of CosmoWorld.. . .tho keep in mind, we're on top of 3 levels that include 3 dark rides, a Mirror Maze, and a couple of arcades.


the darker it gets, the lovelie the park looks.


looking out towards the train station, and i believe I was trying to get the TPR folks in that Mouse car in the pic.


not 100% sure what this lit up building is on the lower right, but it was very well maintained and looked to me like maybe a performance center.




Once everyone was off the Mouse, some of us headed down a level to the infamous Dark Ride: "New Ghost: Terrible Journey"


why is it infamous? why, because you ride thru it in a cage.


no really. . a cage. . it was awesome, see?


and making it even more awesome? you get to choose how scary you want your ride to be. When they asked William, Jon and I, of course we said MOST SCARY!!!


which really seemed to translate to: it's going to be mostly dark, with things lighting up for just a second before they pop out at you.


it wasn't very scary (even at Most Scary level), but some of the effects - such as the hands dragging along the top of the cage from above, were very effective and fun.


Allison wouldn't have liked it tho. . so it was good she didn't ride. . LOL


this giant spooky head drops out of the ceiling in front of the ride.


so of course, we posed for when it dropped down - with our "most scary" faces.


well. .except for Jon. Smiling is apparently his most scary face. LOL


Right next door was what turned out to be one of my favorites in CosmoWorld.


A shooting dark ride, with a TON of practical, animatronic effects, called "Echidna's Cave"


it was kinda sorta Pokemon-type creatures, some good, some bad - I dunno..I shot at anything with a target!


Jon, of course, smoked us all again, but what was really cool (in addition to all the really well done practical effects/targets) was if you got above a certain score? you got a coin, that you could drop into a maching in front of the ride (where I took this picture), and it gave you a creature card that you could use to play a pokemon type card game with.


it was a neat little souvenir.


but the time we got done with the two dark rides, and wandered thru the arcade, it had really gotten dark out, and the park had come alive with LEDs.


a nice touch was out by the water, where the "boardwalk" area had set up led glowing tables, and this cool little "heart-light" bench.


so of course, stopped for a photo to send home to my Spouse.




and what's this across the way? a working Enterprise? That appeared to have the double seating configuration?


I hadn't ridden one of those in many, many years, and Robb had mentioned that on prior visits it hadn't been operating. so if it was running, then I was gonna try to get a ride on it.


dark enough now to really get the full effect of the LEDs on the CosmoClock.


just lovely.


and on "ground level" by the boardwalk still. . we had to hang out for a diving coaster Vanish pic or two.


tho a log from the screaming flume came first


ah. .here it comes.


DAMN> > > > at night it looks like it's on fire!




Looking across the water to the lights on the Landmark Tower, the rides, and the string of lights on the masts of the Nippon Maru ship (on the far left)


We're walking up to the bridge to walk across to the other rides, but looking back at Vanish and Cosmo Clock.


this park is *stunning* at night.


across the way, before one gets to the flat rides, you walk thru a small "town" area, where lining the streets are claw machine arcades, Mirror Mazes, and Jungle Mazes.


and at the end of that "street"?



ICE WORLD. . a walk thru Ice House, which is described as: "Polar experience attraction where you can experience the world of minus 30 degrees Celsius"


Seeing as we had a few Canadians with the group who had commented that wasn't too cold? oh, we had to do this!


pic courtesy of William


LtR: David (Canadian), me (Texan), William (Californian), Allison (Canadian), and Jon (Canadian)


outside the Ice House, Cosmo World had set up another of the "love benches" as had been on the boardwalk across the river.


this one was set up to get a lovely view of the Cosmo Clock behind it in pictures tho.


and since it was now dark enough to appreciate the LED designs, I snapped a few pics.




in the entrance "lobby". . not cold at all.


Trent and I are even wearing shorts.


oh, it's made to LOOK like it's cold. . but it's not too cold.


hmm. . . a stuffed polar bear. and it's starting to get cold in here the further we get in.


holy crap. .ok, it's COLD in here. Whole rooms filled with blocks of ice, and sculptures made of Ice.


I dunno if William actually sat, or just pretended to sit in this ice chair, but I wasn't about to.


meanwhile, two of the Canadians, just plop down on an ice sofa all comfortable like!


I had gotten my "experience" tho. .and was ready to get out. LOL


The Enterprise (called "Super Planet") was operating, and it looked to be running a hell of an intense cycle, so a few of us got in line to ride it. We had to wait a cycle to ride it, which worked out perfectly, a I was able to snap this pic, which is one of my favorites from this stop.


LOL. . I guess they were concerned about having to clean up vomit, because while we were waiting for our turn, the operator asked everyone in line if they had been drinking today, and wanted assurances that nobody had been.


As I suspected from across the river, this is one of the "double seater" Enterprises, and I am so thrilled I got a chance again to ride one.


the location of this one added a ton to the ride experience too - not only was it really forceful and a long cycle? but the "dive" seemed to be right into the water due to the placement of the ride.


an amazing experience, and one of the highlights of the evening.


after our ride, a few folks were starting to get hungry, and so they wanted to go over to the shops/restaurants and grab some food.


I was still full from lunch (so was Jon), and David was going to head out to meet Tabitha for dinner, since it was about 6:45 already) so Michael, Allison, and I think Brad, Leia, and Trent (?) headed off to find food.


Next to the enterprise was a Swing Around (likely by HUSS?) called Galaxy.


I love Enterprises, and can ride those with no problem. but I KNOW that Swing Arounds will make me sick. (the one at Dorney Park had done so). David mentioned they are his favorite ride tho, so I watched while he rode.


yeah.. nope. . not for me. but glad he enjoyed it.


I had other things on my radar anyways. .I wanted to ride the Carousel, which appeared to be a double decker one.


it was on the "kiddie island" section, and it looked like they were shutting down that section - even tho the park itself was open until 10. So after saying goodbyes to David, Jon and I headed across the connecting bridge to the kiddie island for the Carousel.


it ended up being the exact correct call, as the kiddie Island area closed at 7, and we were among the last four customers in that area.


the operator gladly let us on for the final ride of the evening, and even was patient enough to not rush us when he saw I was taking pictures of the Carousel.


Other than the size (it's not a huge diameter, even tho it's a double decker), I'm not really sure why this lovely classic was relegated to the kiddie section. It appeared to be very well taken care of, and had a huge variety of animals, swings, spinning teacups (!), carriages, and "bouncing" options.


it's a double decker. . of COURSE we're gonna ride in the upstairs ring.


as noted, some beautiful detail on this Carousel.


only one row of animals around the inner ring upstairs (tho several bench options on the inside).


Jon and I both took Galloping (up & down) horse options, over the "bouncing" horse, or the swings.


"bouncing" horse in front of Jon


Swing behind me.



but as usual. . look how happy I am on a Carousel.


Looking down to the lower level, the horses there are two deep. but also options for Carriages, or teacups, that can spin while riding.



the only other riders on our cycle (or on the Kiddie Island area)


awwwwww. Thanks for taking this pic for me Jon.


the ride has ended, but the operator was OK with me taking a few pics (tho you can see them covering up some of the other rides in the background).


these carriages on the lower level didn't spin, but they DID rock back and forth, like a see-saw.


again, just a lovely Carousel, and appeared to be really well maintained (something I really noticed across the board and most every park we went to).


this is one of the ride vehicles from "the North Pole" ride. . a small kiddie flume.


which I'm sure I woudldn't have been allowed to ride, even if it *had* still been open.


tho I totally would have chosen to ride in a pink dolphin, if I had been allowed to.


the "indoor" section of the North Pole ride (pic snapped while walking by the "tunnel").


Exiting the kiddie island section, as they literally closed the gates the moment we stepped thru them.


time on the Cosmo Clock shows 7:01, so yep, this section did close at 7pm. Really glad we didn't go eat, so I didn't miss my Carousel fix at this park.


We were gonna meet up with everyone to ride the Ferris Wheel in a bit, but not just yet. So we decided to head across into the shopping/entertainment area for a little bit to see if we could find the others, and to Wander.


I also had noticed they had a Hard Rock Cafe, so wanted to go into the gift shop there to look for anything KISS related (sadly, nothing) or Halloween related (I picked up a really cool 2019 Yokohama Hard Rock Halloween limited pin).


Also in this area is this sculpture that is designed to look like a roller coaster.


A really impressive piece of art, that "fits" the area quite well.


after wandering a bit, we came back across the street to CosmoWorld, near the "Family Banana Coaster". .the kiddie coaster - which we did NOT ride. But the area around it has a bit of theming, including Banana Trash Cans.


So stopped and took a pic of those.


the coaster itself goes around "Banana Trees"


cute, but still a kiddie coaster, so no desire to ride it.


and just look at that track.


c'mon, it's GOT to be an Arrow, right? yet another reason not to ride. . LOL.

(it's not an Arrow, per RCDB, it's by Senyo Kogyo Co, Ltd, out of Osaka).



how lovely and purple the Cosmo Clock is in this pic too.


another view of Galaxy as we walked by from the other direction. nope, still wasn't gonna ride it.


I texted William to see where they ended up eating, and if they were almost done. They didnt' know the name of the place they had ended up (it was a sit down place), but we decided to cross back over the street and look around in the shopping center until they were ready to meet up.


the shopping center was HUGE. So we went where we knew we could find stuff to browse thru, and where they could find us.




I had not been to Tokyo DisneySea yet, so really hadn't been exposed to any of the ShellieMay and Friends stuff (other than hearing Robb talk about it). . so I was intrigued by these "costumes" that the Disney Store was selling for the stuffed animals.


but it turns out these *aren't* Shellie May and friends outfits. As was explained to me, those are exclusive to Tokyo DisneySea park. . so outside the park, they sell similar, but different.


These are "UniBEARsity" line costumes/outfits for the UniBEARsity stuffed animals that get sold outside the park.


and tho I didn't get bit by the bug and buy any animals or clothing for said animals? I still found it quite interesting.


and was thisclose to buying some Chip & Dale weight bars that were on the clearance rack (but didn't want to carry them around for the whole trip - remember this was the 1st day still, LOL).


we met up with those that had stopped to eat, and we headed back across the bridge as a group to tackle the CosmoClock 21 ferris wheel.

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as it was now night-time, the queue for the CosmoClock had gotten fairly long - starting on the stairs, and going thru several switchbacks on the main platform before getting to the loading area.


it still moved pretty quickly, since there are so many carriages in this continually moving Ferris Wheel.

Brad wanted to take pictures so he was going to moving back and forth within the carriage, which made Jon a bit nervous, so Brad and Leia rode together in a separate carriage, while Jon, Allison and myself rode in another (but none of us waited for the clear carriages.. which was fine with Jon).


William who is also not a fan of heights, killed time in the claw arcade while we took a ride on the CosmoClock, and I think this is where he won that "Spoon of noodles" keychain that i mentioned the other day.


in our wheel carriage, and looking out at the spinning Mouse on the rooftop next door as we go up.


there are still folks in line, but the queue for that had really died down by this point (recall. . it was a Sunday night, and most of the folks still in the park seemed to be in the queue for the CosmoClock).


a lovely view of the Minato Mirai shopping area across the water with the flats lit up in the dark.


looking up thru the roof of the carriage at the interior workings of the CosmoClock in LED green


a little blurry, but the best shot I have of the Nippon Maru, ship/museum docked in the harbor.


myself, Allison, and Jon in our carriage.


looking out at the Pacifico Yokohama (on the right, with the "waves" roof) - which is one of the largest convention centers in the world.


getting near the top, and looking down at the Flat Rides area of CosmoWorld, and the shopping/dining areas



Looking down to see Vanish's track .. . vanishing.


would have been nice to get the coaster in motion, but it turned out it had been e-stopped on the lift hill (looked like perhaps because someone had pulled out a phone, or was trying to film)? Not really sure why, but we did see and operator walk out to the train on the lift hill, and sternly talk to someone before the lift chain started up again.


Continuing our descent on the other side of the wheel, can see most of Vanish's trackwork.


and the LEDs in CosmoClock make riding it at night, so incredibly beautiful.


Tired, but happy, and washed out in this selfie against the bright lights.


here's Vanish in that eStop I noted. . we saw it much clearer as we came down right next to the lift hill.


and lower left, you can see just under the guy in the corner, the Operator coming out to talk to someone in the train. at least this kind of stuff doesn't *only* happen in America.


tho if I had to put money on it, I would guess it was a tourist, rather than a local, who caused the eStop.


by the time we exited the CosmoClock, the Vanish train was approaching the dive portion to the lake, so snapped a few more pics of it.


so fast and blurry. . .


and really spectacular at night. .




we met back up with William, and between us all, we still had about 10 ride tickets. Everyone was pretty much 'done' and ready to head back to the hotel, but that was enough tickets to ride or do *something*, and Leia was willing to do the "Mirror Adventure" -the world of giant kaleidoscope- mirror maze, but needed someone to go thru with.


William had done it while we were on the CosmoClock, and said it was fun, so when no one else really wanted to, I went ahead and went with Leia to go thru.


this was an interactive mirror maze, as when you go in, they ask you what your Astrological sign is, and then you have to navigate the maze to find the rubber stamp that matches your sign (spread out thruout the attraction) and stamp your piece of paper to prove you found it.


if you do find it, you get to push a button at the exit and it spins a "wheel" that let's you pick a prize.


fun, although I didn't win in the spin, even after finding my stamp. Leia did tho, and I think she chose to take a stuffed animal of some kind (William had taken a diecast truck).


the maze was well done, and besides the standard glass/mirror rooms, there was also this really impressive "reflective fireworks" room in there too.


although looking at the description on CosmoWorlds website (where I went to get the name correctly), they describe the following: "The highlight is the fantastic giant kaleidoscope in the maze" - so I'm guessing that what I called the "reflective fireworks" room is the "fantastic giant kaleidoscope"


really noticeable in this last pic I took.


we finished up, Leia won her prize, and it was time to head out and back to the hotel.


but what had everyone else done while we went thru the Mirror Maze? why they had found a Crepe place that had a *huge* menu - really, at least 40 pages.


and they all looked great, so of course, we both wanted to try those.


it wasn't the first crepe I had in Japan on this trip, but i was (I think) the best - I had frozen strawberries and heavy cream.


it was so good, I had eaten most of it before realizing I didn't get a picture of it. But I highly recommend it if you go to Cosmoworld - its the place at the base of the escalators by the arcade under the tower that holds CosmoClock/Vanish stations.


and with that? it was almost 9:40 and we were ready to head back. . so we all walked back to the train station, excitedly talking about what a fantastic day we had. . and realizing that we had to be up fairly early the next day.


It was gonna be another big day for many of us: Tobu Zoo in the morning, and Toshimaen Park in the afternoon.


I was tired, but so very content (and not just because of the crepe to end the day).

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Bert! Bert! Bert!  Your smiles in each & every one of your photos, are a magical elixir to the souls of Japan0philes and to those of us who hope to be ones soon!  I think I smiled my way thru your entire report! You're exactly the sort of traveler that I would be...soaking in EVERYTHING...learning and having the time of your life doing so!


Quick comments:

* My fave photo of you is the close-up of your "Happy Face" on the carousel FROG.  It's a keeper!  (Yup, I love frogs!)


* While I know better than to compare NYC's subway system to Japan's (architecture; spotlessness, etc.), am just curious if the connections and signage set-up is at ALL similar to the MTA?  (There are LOTS of improvements in the works for NYC, but doubt it will be soon in the running for "Most Stunning Subway."  Still....it gets me around fast!


* A special shout-out to the sculpture designed to look like a Roller Coaster.  A thing of beauty! (Love the touch of Steam punk.)


* FINALLY, as for Warabimochi which was not your favorite taste sensation, couldn't resist checking out the recipe:

"Make your own traditional Japanese dessert with this easy warabi mochi recipe. Warabi mochi is made by dissolving sugar and the starch from warabi bracken (a type of edible fern) in water, letting it set into a jelly-like mixture, and dusting it with kinako soy bean flour. This is a very simple recipe, yet the dessert it makes is sweet, subtly nutty, and has a deliciously chewy texture."


"Thanks so much, Bert, for letting me share in your Excellent Experience in Japan!  The joy in your report is truly contagious!



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^ I had no idea the dome was for Baseball! Really. . . I thought it was for Football.

(is that where Joey went to the game during the trip?).


Yeah, Hollywood Dream with the metal wands was certainly the most "invasive" of the safety protocols.

Pretty much ALL the parks were pretty overboard and serious on the safety checks tho, so gotta wonder if maybe there had been a new law passed? or if an accident of some sort maybe happened recently?


Playoff Japanese baseball > Fuji Q

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Cosmoworld is a really awesome park. On all "levels," lol. And you got to really see it at night, Bert! Last times I remember being there with TPR, we had to leave just as the lights were coming on. Great photos of everything! I especially loved that Coaster Sculpture. Looking forward to more, Bert.

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Great report! The key to that flume is having a high pitched shriek. I think it got us a score above 700.


When we went at night last year, we had to pass a breathalyzer before being allowed to board Diving Coaster. I can't say I've ever had that happen anywhere else, so I'm not surprised they'd ask before you board the Enterprise.


Did they still have that weird haunt where they give you an LED candle and measure your fear by how much it shakes?

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Bert! Bert! Bert! Your smiles in each & every one of your photos, are a magical elixir to the souls of Japan0philes and to those of us who hope to be ones soon! I think I smiled my way thru your entire report! You're exactly the sort of traveler that I would be...soaking in EVERYTHING...learning and having the time of your life doing so!


oh my! that's quite a compliment, Alice. Thanks so much


Quick comments:

* My fave photo of you is the close-up of your "Happy Face" on the carousel FROG. It's a keeper! (Yup, I love frogs!)


* While I know better than to compare NYC's subway system to Japan's (architecture; spotlessness, etc.), am just curious if the connections and signage set-up is at ALL similar to the MTA? (There are LOTS of improvements in the works for NYC, but doubt it will be soon in the running for "Most Stunning Subway." Still....it gets me around fast!


thanks. . tho I tend to pretty much always have a huge grin on a Carousel - even while on Genie at TDS (and that wasn't a "comfy" ride, since the design of the seat makes one's crotch slide forward into Genie's neck). . LOL


as to the Japanese train station signage . . . it's been a ling time since I've been on the Manhattan Subway, but I do think that Japan stations have *way* more signs, but they are posted EVERYWHERE. pretty much any intersection within the station has signs, as do many walls, and along the platforms over each station stop. So it's a lot of signage to follow, but if you know what to keep an eye out for? it seemed to work really well, even when following a sign took one down a long underground hallway, or low-roofed corridor.


There is a lot of color-coordinating, which is really good - with the most important color being "yellow", as those signs direct you to exits (and underneath list what exit/lines following that sign will take you to).


not sure if that answers your question, but hopefully?


* A special shout-out to the sculpture designed to look like a Roller Coaster. A thing of beauty! (Love the touch of Steam punk.)


* FINALLY, as for Warabimochi which was not your favorite taste sensation, couldn't resist checking out the recipe:


"Thanks so much, Bert, for letting me share in your Excellent Experience in Japan! The joy in your report is truly contagious!




I loved the Coaster sculpture too, and had actually thought it was a ride from the promenade - Robb is who corrected me by noting it's a sculpture. So when I saw later that we were sorta/kinda near it, I made a point to go get a better look and a picture.


Very happy you're enjoying the report thus far (this is really only still day 2 of 16!! so lots more to come). . but FEH for making me imagine that taste again. LOL. . . if you try Warabimochi? let us know what you think. .as I still go back to "dirt, with worms in it" as the best description.



Playoff Japanese baseball > Fuji Q


I can't disagree with you, although I have to be happy with my choice since it was my 1st time in Japan, so I just *had* to check out Fuji-Q.


I will note that those of us that ended up going to Fuji-Q that free day, really did have a *perfect* day.

So good, that I never want to go back, as any return visit will NEVER live up to our day there.


so if I make it back to Japan? will totally do Japanese Baseball instead



Cosmoworld is a really awesome park. On all "levels," lol. And you got to really see it at night, Bert! Last times I remember being there with TPR, we had to leave just as the lights were coming on. Great photos of everything! I especially loved that Coaster Sculpture. Looking forward to more, Bert.


Thanks Bill. I was really impressed how lovely CosmoWorld looked at night.

and to be fair, most of the parks that we were at after dark, really looked stunning.


Japan knows how to highlight attractions at night.

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Another fun trip report to read. I remember Cosmoworld was so much fun because of the random attractions. I figure you would of posted a picture but did you run into their mascot? If not, just another reason to go back


Thanks Ryan.


I did *not* see any costume characters during our time at CosmoWorld (you're correct. . if I had, of course I would have snagged a picture with them).


I assume you mean by mascot, their frightening Ferris Wheel thing? Zoomed in on from the map in the pic behind me.



I DID see that as a giant plush in the window of the gift shop, and thought it was bizarre enough that I commented on it.

Someone (Elissa maybe?) had to actually tell me it was supposed to be the CosmoClock. . . LOL.. I really had no idea.


didn't take a picture of it, tho maybe someone else did? (Brad?). .since we were sitting right near the gift shop windows while eating the Crepes.



Great report! The key to that flume is having a high pitched shriek. I think it got us a score above 700.


When we went at night last year, we had to pass a breathalyzer before being allowed to board Diving Coaster. I can't say I've ever had that happen anywhere else, so I'm not surprised they'd ask before you board the Enterprise.


Did they still have that weird haunt where they give you an LED candle and measure your fear by how much it shakes?


yah, we TRIED to scream high pitch. . but couldn't quite get it high enough (wasn't about to squeeze anything to achieve higher. . ).


No breathalyzer, just the question on the Enterprise. . but what a great story it would have made if we were asked to blow before being crammed into that coaster!


as to the haunt with the candle - if it *was* still there, I didn't experience it. Was it over across the water, in the "town" section? it looked like there were quite a few walkthru attractions there that we bypassed (other than the ice house). so would think it might be in that section.


the only "haunt" we did was the dark ride in the cage.

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The Fujin Raijin II incident in 2007 is also a big part of why Japan's standards are as strict as they are, because Japanese authorities saw the incident as a sign that the standards and enforcement they had before were nowhere near enough if they allowed something like that to happen (similar to how the sarin gas attacks in 1995 prompted many places in Japan to get rid of their public trash cans; just like how people got used to not having public trash cans, the new safety standards just became a fact of life for Japanese parkgoers).


wow. .is that really the reason there are so few public trashcans?


it's something super noticeable (and yet, there is hardly ANY trash on the ground or laying anywhere). It was one of the many impressive things about Japan - how clean everything is.

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Great report so far, Bert! Love to see these parks again! The CupNoodle Museum was definitely neat and worth a quick 45 minute visit. If you can do the interactive stuff on the upper levels, you can spend more time. Unfortunately, there were school groups galore when I was there.

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Great report! The key to that flume is having a high pitched shriek. I think it got us a score above 700.


When we went at night last year, we had to pass a breathalyzer before being allowed to board Diving Coaster. I can't say I've ever had that happen anywhere else, so I'm not surprised they'd ask before you board the Enterprise.


Did they still have that weird haunt where they give you an LED candle and measure your fear by how much it shakes?


yah, we TRIED to scream high pitch. . but couldn't quite get it high enough (wasn't about to squeeze anything to achieve higher. . ).


No breathalyzer, just the question on the Enterprise. . but what a great story it would have made if we were asked to blow before being crammed into that coaster!


as to the haunt with the candle - if it *was* still there, I didn't experience it. Was it over across the water, in the "town" section? it looked like there were quite a few walkthru attractions there that we bypassed (other than the ice house). so would think it might be in that section.


the only "haunt" we did was the dark ride in the cage.


Yes the candle haunt was on the town side. I think it was called Dr. Edgar's. It was just ok, but the candle thing was really bizarre. But not as bizarre as a breathalyzer before riding a coaster.

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when/if I return, will totally go back to Yokohama - I wanna do CupNoodles museum, in addition to CosmoWorld stuff again.


(and of course I want to do that Aquarium in Tokyo that was doing the "fishsex" exhibit. I REALLY wanted to do it, but there was just so much to do, that despite intentions (and some great directions to get to it), I never made it


Means I absolutely HAVE to go back in the future! not to mention TDL will have the new Beauty and the Beast section open too)

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so the next morning we had a 7am meet up in the lobby, which meant going to grab breakfast before that if we wanted to eat.


I had no issue getting up by 6am again (so maybe I did have some effects from Jet Lag?), and was showered, dressed, and out in the hallway to meet up with several other folks by 6:15 to head down to breakfast.


today was going to be a really great day, starting off with 3 trains, and a 20 minute walk - to get us to Tobu Zoo (open at 9:30) for ~ 4 hours to spend in this great park this morning.


there are a lot of very interesting things about Japan (and I was already in love with the Country within the 1st 24 hours), but one of the most interesting things to me is how cash based the Society still is there.


Oh, there are places that take Credit Cards (mainly the Hotels, or the ticket counters at the bigger theme parks), but most all other places - in particular smaller restaurants or cafes, only took cash.


and tho I'm referring to it as "cash", and you really do *start* with paper money, the vast majority of my transactions in Japan were using coins.


Lots of coins, from 1yen, to 5 yen, to 10 yen, to 50 yen, to 100yen, and up to 500yen coins.

all slightly different in size/weight/color/ or design. It sounds like a lot, but after dealing with them for a day or two, I got very used to knowing exactly what to look for when paying for something.


which makes a lot of sense based on how much of the Japanese $$ is coin based when one sees how many vending machines are located thruout the cities/train stations. The vending machines DO take paper money, but again, majority of folks are using Coins.


Elissa had recommended that we pick up a coin purse, which would make our lives incredibly easier - and she was 100% correct. Listen to the smart lady!


She had told us that many places sell coin purses, and in hundreds (if not thousands) of designs. . so just keep our eye out.


in the gift shop at Tokyo Dome City the prior day, I had spotted this Totoro coin purse.


And tho I *know* I paid too much for it at ~$12. . I bought it anyways (it's Totoro.. of course it's gonna be more expensive than a non-Miyazaki one).


the sheer joy I saw in the faces of so many cashiers during the trip, when I pulled out the coin purse to pay, and they would excitedly say "Totoro!!!". .and then more often than not, call over another cashier to point out the Totoro, added to the worth.


So I DON'T feel that I paid too much for it after all :)


a peek inside. Remember, this is after just 1 day, I had this much change.


and my Totoro would fill up (and I'd drain it as much as possible, only to have it fill right back up again).


one of the best purchases I made on the trip, and until the airport giftshop on the way home (where I stocked up), the only Miyazaki thing I had bought during the actual trip.


I remembered to take a picture of my breakfast on the 2nd day - this time I had tried enough things the prior day that I knew to take things I really enjoyed. (other than that "sausage". .which was basically a hot dog).


so it mostly fit on the 1 plate. (this is me being "not too hungry". . LOL). But yep, that French Toast is so good, as was the salmon, the eggplant, the dumplings, and upper left? that Melon soda that's so, so addictive.


since we had to take 3 trains to get to Tobu Zoo - which is located in Miyashiro, Saitama Prefecture - there were a couple of transfers between lines that we had to make.


this was an interesting underground connection between some of the lines at one of the stations.


look how low that ceiling is! but is is SO striking looking, that I had to stop to snap a quick pic of it. The polished wood is gorgeous. . but no one other than commuters moving between station platforms would ever see it!


that yellow line with the raised "rivets" on the floor on the left? is to help blind/vision impaired folks navigate, and we saw those not only within the train stations, but all over Japan (including down some man streets).


although the prior pic - as we were moving from line to line - makes it kind of look like there weren't a lot of folks about?


remember, this is Monday morning. ~7:20 am. yeah.. rush hour.


look at this train (which thank goodness we were NOT getting on, as we were headed the other direction, which wasn't quite as crowded).


our train wasn't "empty", but it wasn't near this packed


and after a couple of stops, we had even a bit more room.


pic courtesy of Robb - you can see most of us in the group in this pic (no Robb, he's taking the pic, no Jon (not sure where he is. . maybe behind William?, and Luke is blocked by Trent's elbow).


by the 3rd train, we had lots of room, with all of us able to sit.


Clockwise from lower left: William, David, Luke, Me, Brad, Alex, Jon. . then going across to other side:

Trent (standing, looking at phone), Leia, two hidden locals, Shellie Mae, Robb, Elissa, and Allison.



Pic courtesy of Hanno, who is the only one missing from today's group in this pic since he was taking it - even Shellie Mae made it into the picture


(tho Trent is looking at his phone) :p


Pic courtesy of Robb.


were here! well, not quite yet. . we're here in the Tobu Zoo train station - which had this wonderful mural on the wall. So we stopped and posed in front of it.


we still had a 15-20 minute walk thru the neighborhood to get to the zoo entrance.


it was a lovely walk, with lots of interesting buildings and "Japan Suburbs" type homes to look at as we walked.


Interesting buildings such as this one.


really not a clue what it's for - maybe a Community Center/meeting space of some sort? It would fit right in at a College Campus. But it was just a lovely space & design, so I snapped a pic of it.


if this were in USA, I would have guessed a Church, but it was rare to see a Church while I was in Japan. (I'm sure there must be some, but I didn't really note any).


and we're here, at Tobu Zoo entrance!


we had about a 1/2 hour until the park opened, so we were free to explore the entrance area, grab a snack from vending machines, or just hang out. Thru the main gates, there's a nicely done Hippo and her baby sculpture.


what was really cool was watching the school groups coming up the entrance walk - all color coordinated, with matching hats, and then line up in rows and just sit down to wait for the opening.

the kiddos were SO well behaved, it was really impressive. If I hadn't felt it would have been inappropriate, I would have snapped a picture of the lined up kiddos.


Tobu Zoo/ Tobu Pool was one of a couple of parks on the trip that had really strict rules about tattoos. (as in, cover them up and do not show anything).


The other park we were going to later today, Toshimaen, had similar restrictions.


No one in our group was impacted or asked to leave, as we had lots of warning from Elissa to ensure we were aware to cover up if we had any tattoos that showed.


I did not see a lot of tattoos on folks while in Japan, although I did see quite a few folks with ear plugs, and other piercings. So I guess the body modification stigma is really only focused on the ink portion?


regardless, as a visitor to the Country, it's not my place to question the rules at all. It's only for me to respect them, and we did.


tho I took a pic of the sign out front.


I also took a picture of this Panda and her baby sculpture by the main gate.


the eyes are a little frightening, but it APPEARS that the mother and the baby both have "coin slots" in their heads. So my assumption here is that these are raising $$ via donations from park visitors.


I can't read Japanese, but i did make out on the sign "WWF" several times. . so it's a fair assumption that this is raising $$ for World Wildlife Fund. (at least I hope it is, as I dropped a few 100yen coins in).


interestingly, I don't recall seeing any Panda's in the zoo. But it's a pretty large space, with both amusement rides and animals, and we were only there for ~3 1/2 hours, so it's possible I just didn't go far enough back to see that portion of the animals.


on the other side of the ticket booths, was this really cool mosaic - that looked like kids had helped them do.


I particularly like the heart on the monkey's butt.


it really is a perfect and beautiful piece of artwork, and absolutely fitting for the front entrance of a zoo.


the booth opened, we got our "Free Pass" armbands, and thru the gates we went.


heading into the zoo, we cross the bridge directly towards "Wooden Water Coaster Regina" - which is where I was able to see that the main walkway to it had been closed off.


Honestly, tho it was sad to see it sitting and not operating? I couldn't be too upset - I mean, I had known before even flying to Japan that Regina had been closed. And I had been told it was a really rough ride anyways.


It has a really neat setting - being built over the water for the entire layout. . .but it was OK that we weren't going to be able to ride it.


besides, Wooden Water Coaster Regina wasn't the main draw for most of us -


that would be THIS beauty: Kawasemi


(the park's Intamin Mega-Lite)


referred to on the park map as:


"New Gliding Water Coaster Kingfisher"


walking back towards Kawasemi, we had to go around the Swan Pond, where the attraction called simply "boats" on the map, are of course: Swan Boats.


but I stopped to snap the pic, because apparently in addition to pedaling a swan boat? one could also ride in a Water Bug. I at first thought they were Ladybugs, but do Ladybugs glide on water? so that's why I think they look like happy waterbugs.


We did see a handful of folks riding on these later in the day, but no takers at the start of the day - the TPR folks headed towards the coaster, and the groups of kids seem to have headed back towards the animals/"Heartful Land" section.


getting closer to Kawasemi, we hadn't seen it running yet, but we could see it peeking above some of the buildings and other attractions as we neared it.


Never did figure out the park mascot's name - perhaps "Toppy"?? since the season pass looks to be called "Toppy Club level?


But unlike the odd little creepy CosmoClock from yesterday, this lil dude was adorable!


So of course got a solo pic with him (one of a couple, as he appeared in a few photo ops thruout the Tobu Zoo).


They had "props" out for Halloween near the mascot, so we stopped and took a group pic.


picture courtesy of Robb.


this interesting contraption, called "the skyfish express" was not operating during our visit - tho it did appear that maintenance was doing some work on it while we were there.


it was a shortish, but neat looking gondola ride, with super interesting steampunk fish design at the tops of the gondola where they ran along the track.


(and I inadvertently captures some of one of the school groups walking by, continuing onwards towards Heartful Land . . yellow hat group).


when we got to Kawasemi, it looked like it wasn't ready to open to the public, just yet.


The train was cycling, but for the folks that were in the station there - some folks with cameras doing some filming, and it looked like a professional shoot of some sort.


After a quick check by Robb, we were told it would open in ~a half hour, so we headed off to attractions close to Kawasemi, planning to come back in ~30.


there was this lovely Carousel, set right on the water of one of the many lakes at Tobu, but wasn't quite ready to ride this just yet. . we had passed a few other things that had caught my/our eye on the way to Kawasemi.


So I just snapped a pic of it, for the moment.


and posed with some of the Halloween Decorations that were set up outside of it. .and we headed back toward the gate we had come into, with our goals set to do a Space Themed Mystery Walk thru, called "Galaxy Walkers"


on the way there tho, we passed another "Carousel", so had to get a picture on that one :p


that giant Pikachu behind me? you climbed inside it to "ride". . . but no way would i fit in there, so didn't even attempt that photo. LOL


The Galaxy Walkers attraction was all decorated for Halloween (with paper cutouts and Walgreens level spooky stuff), including this guy.


Supposed to be a sad ghost. . but the more I looked at it? a ghost who is sad because she didn't have a bra. . .


oh, who am I kidding, it was adorable, and the decorations were probably helped put up by some of the kids who visit the zoo.


the Galaxy Walkers attraction looked like it had started out design wise as a cross between something in the Star Wars galaxy, with some Star Trek mixed in.


you started off your "mission" by this guy (with only 1/2 a goatee. . not sure if that was "costume for Halloween related" as his hat/boa seemed to be, or not) showing you a mystic symbol.


You had to solve your way thru the maze / mazes, and solve clues, and then pick out a symbol card and feed it into the computer at the end to see if you matched the clue as originally shown to you. And they were sneaky too, with many symbols being only "slightly" different. There were two sides (that showed groups different symbols) before putting everyone out into the same main maze.


so it was tricky - and we only solved it be ending up behind a couple who had really paid attention and chose the correct card - so we could tell it was one of 3 that fell back in via the card return. But we got the "bell" on the 2nd time, after we chose wrong the 1st time.


it was a fun little walk thru, tho I'm not really sure WHY it was Space Themed, other than maybe at 1st it had started out that way years ago? As noted tho, it was a fun little walk thru.


before heading back to Kawasemi tho, we passed by . . .Tentomushi (Japanese for Ladybug), which is a Zierer, Tivoli style family coaster.


it didn't seem to do very much, maybe 1 slight step above a kiddie coaster, but it had a really long train - 13 cars. . and most of us passing by from Galaxy Walkers were coaxed into riding by Robb.


we DO look like we're having fun, don't we? Even the two non-TPR folks on the train.


They sent us around twice, and those of us in the back (Myself, Jon, Brad), actually got a bit of airtime over some of the hills.


so it was actually pretty fun, as would anything that you ride with the group of great folks that you're traveling with.




look at that smile!!!


slightly different angle on this pic, so this is the 2nd time around. . tho William is still making the same excited face in the front car. . Alex meanwhile cracks me up here. . .LOL


We got back to Kawasemi, and they were just about ready to open it to general public riders, but since we still had a little bit of time to wait, some folks joined me next door for my Carousel fix.


the Carousel wasn't really a "stand out" design wise as it was very traditional, with horses and carriages, but as noted earlier the setting on the water made it a really nice ride.


here's Jon.


and once again, smiling on a Carousel. .what a shock.


Brad rode in the Carriage behind me.


it was odd that none of the "drivers" in the carriages had whips. . .tho there was clearly a hole drilled for one. Wonder what was up with that.


I mentioned it was a "traditional" Carousel.. well, except for this part: the Mirrored Ceilings.


kinda a cool effect, even if it didn't reflect much other than what was directly below it. Maybe at night, it really projects the lights?


from Jon's camera, a nice view of the horse I'm on, and Brad in the carriage behind.


heh. ."the horse I rode in on"


the velvet drapes were pretty nice too, although it felt like something was "missing" behind them.


like there should have been a painted image there or more mirrors maybe?


but it turned out there WAS a unique animal on the carousel. . this horse, which at first I thought was just weirdly shaped. . then realized it has wings (and THEN noticed the horn).


yep, this Carousel has kid sized flying Pegasus' on it.


that's pretty neat.


just as we finished our cycle on the Carousel? They finished the filming (at least the private portion of it), and Kawasemi opened for us to ride.


we were just enough to fill a chunk of the train, and during the handful of rides this morning we occasionally had some locals riding with us too.


Robb snapped this pic of us just before they opened it up for us to ride.


the Ride sign (there was a cut out near it too, where you could stick your head thru and be the kingfisher, but I didn't get that pic until later in the morning when we came back).


Pic courtesy of Robb.


TPR is ready for (several of us) the 1st ride (ever) on Kawasemi !


Robb's on this train, so this must be a pic courtesy of Hanno.


the front row was amazing, tho the back has a ton of floater air.



It was a bit sluggish in the morning - and Robb had advised not to judge it based on the morning rides, as once it runs for a bit we would understand why so many folks rave about the Intamin Mega-Lite. But even a bit sluggish, this coaster moved really fast, and has a great 1st drop and some intense turns. The bunny hops didn't really give any air in these morning rides, but boy did they ever later in the day when several of us came back for later rides.


I ended up riding this, I think, 6 times. .and it got better and better every time. It was absolutely hauling on my last ride on it, and I spent the whole ride hooting and hollering (and yes, yelling "Wheeeeee").


SO, SO good. . wish some parks in the USA would get clones of this.


what a fun ride.


Hands up!


the front row was really good, and I enjoyed it possibly even more than the back row when I tried a ride there.


but back row was excellent too!


but (t), you notice those rows of capsule machines back there along the wall? They are everywhere in Japan, and really concentrated around arcades. I bought a couple here and there (a few at Disney, but those were pretty straight forward). But (t) many of the capsules contained some wonderfully Japanese weirdness. .


here, they are Kan-Cho - and if you zoom in on the text, you'll see it says:


"Tricking is a way of communication which unite the people more intimately"


which is a polite way of saying - sneak up behind someone and stick your fingers in their butt.


no, really. . that's a thing in Japan.




I didn't buy these - I really should have, for only ~$2 each, but I didn't.


I *did* however, pay $4 at another bank of machines to get an Animal at a Urinal (buy several and make a bank of urinals with peeing animals!). I got a Penguin peeing at a Urinal - and his teeny tiny son watching from behind.


I'll post a pic at the end of the whole TR along w/ the the rest of the swag.


But yeah, sneaking up behind someone and putting one's fingers in their butt is a thing. . . LOL


Couldn't leave the area without posing on at least one more animal!


This time a Llama. (and more machines and the arcade behind me this time).


Leia didn't want to "ride" an animal, but I did get her to pose in Pikachu.


before leaving the area, I held the camera over the construction fence to snap this pic of what was going on back there.


Left to Right: Construction on the new swinging ship ride, the UFO dome, the God Swinger "Owe" (which as noted, *was* open, just no one riding in this pic, and the Jungle Fighter. In the background, the turnaround from Regina.


instead of turning towards the Wave Swinger, we headed West, the other direction, towards Heartful Land/Cheese Ferris Wheel, and the animal exhibits


those tracks above, are the Airlift Sky Fish Express - which went from the station across from Kawasemi, all the way back over to the rear of Heartful Land. As noted tho, unfortunately it was closed.


there was also a small train, with the tracks running down the left side, but I only noticed it operating intermittently, and it was a small "kiddie" train. . so figured it was likely not for adults.


so we headed by foot to the back area of the park.


stopping by the Carp Farm pond (where you can feed the fish, tho I didn't), you can get a beautiful view of the Carousel and Kawasemi.


so I stopped and snapped a few pics of the coaster doing it's thing.




and then we continued on into the Heartful Town area of the Heartful Farm section. . which is really the kiddie area. There were some "medium" rides here, tho most were kiddie sized. They were very well done, such as a Caterpillar type ride themed to a school bus. The theming over here was pretty consistent across most of the attractions.


They did have a kiddie powered coaster over here, and tho we didn't go out of our way to find it? We did come across it, and it was adorable (and we were allowed to ride it), so we took a two lap spin on "Diggy & Daggy's Tram Coaster". . a slow moving helix coaster, that was a bit embarrassing to ride. But we did it, and Brad took pics (I assume to keep as blackmail in the future). . .


as noted tho, the train was adorable. Diggy and Duggy are moles!


they had some Halloween theming going on here too. . . so being one to rarely buypass a photo op?


I'm a gggghose, Jon is a bat, and Leia is a pumpkin :)


this adorable guy again. . by the flower garden section of Heartful Garden.


looked like they were in process of planting some new seasonal foliage.


yeah.. you LOOK like a "Toppy". . so I'll just call you that.


they had some very well done topiary, that they were in process of running lights thru (not sure if for Halloween or for Christmas..likely a combo).


Upon inspection, however, they weren't real topiary, but rather plastic flowers on wire rims.


Still impressive, tho I wish they had been real flowers, as we would have gotten the incredible odor from them.



hey Jon!




yeah. . photo ops. I'm gonna stop and pose if I can make the time to do so.


a little snug, but I fit if I go in side saddle.


and here it is, the Ferris Wheel, themed to cheese.


officially called "Emma's Cheese Windmill"


(from the other side, you can see the windmill more clearly).


thruout the queue line, there are all these little dioramas, showing how the windmill is the icon of Heartful Town


and showing how they make the cheese


with a little bit of Halloween spookiness (a spider!) mixed in here and there.


I loved how they put masks and accessories (a cape!) on some of the mannequins for the Halloween season.


it's a small touch, but so cute, and noticeable that they are trying to make it more fun for the season.


the Cheese Gondolas were a bit tiny, but were fine for just two of us in there. . . while approaching it, we were discussing if there maybe would be a cheese smell within.


but no such luck..just smelled like us in there. . . :p


Brad and Leia were in the cheese wheel in front of us.


heh. . even the animals on the rooftop got in on the Halloween fun.


you can see the cheese theming continuing thruout the area - even on this little ride, where the kiddos can drive a tractor and "farm"


going up a little higher, you get a better view of the West side of the park. . including a few more kiddie rides (that's a kiddie train there directly in front, where you ride it and "spot" vegetables & animals).


Also some of the animal enclosures are in view here, such as the big cat house, and the bear house.


on the lower right here, is a huge park, complete with mannequin cows and other animals. .and here were *hundreds* of backpacks, as the various kids groups were going to be having their lunch here, and the backpacks were all laid out neatly in rows. (if you zoom you can spot some of the yellow hats thru the trees on the right)


selfie in a cheese gondola.


Looking out the other side of the wheel, towards the front of the park.


great view of Kawasemi layout, and a great view of the SBNO Regina.


you can see how big the Tobu Zoo is, and you can also see how uncrowded it was this Monday morning.

tho there were a lot of kids (which I think is great for a zoo), but they were mainly back in the animal portion.


speaking of the Animals, I spotted some Elephants from the Cheese Wheel.


and also a line of kiddos (in red hats) walking to the Savannah section to look at the Zebras & Giraffes.


finishing our ride on the Cheese wheel, upon exiting is this Cow sculpture.


the sign beneath it politely says:


"Please Milk a Cow"


so I squatted down and started to rub the cow's plastic udders.


This face is from after getting a good grip on the plastic udders? the cow groaned and moaned.


no. . really!!


I almost pissed myself I was laughing so hard.




the theming on this Ferris Wheel is so well done.


I don't really get why cheese? except maybe that it's showing you milk the cows on the farm, and then the mice make cheese out of it.


but if you have to theme your ferris wheel? a WTF - let's theme it to cheese theme works for me.


some of the animals on the train "seek and find" ride, all dressed up for Halloween.


I didn't really understand the "snot" droplet on one of the pigs, but Leia (who lives in Japan at the moment) explained that it's "cute" and I'd see that a lot on cartoon & anime style things while in Japan.


but again, that the Zoo "dresses" up it's displays for Halloween is adorable..


continued. . . .


the gates aren't open yet, but I peeked thru and took this picture because I spotted the trash cans - something that's a fairly rare site in public places in Japan. (especially these, as they didn't seem to be near any vending machines, or food places).


in the background is "Wooden Coaster Regina" - something that we weren't able to ride, as Tobu Zoo had suddenly announced the ride's closure ~4 weeks before out trip to Japan.


the whole entrance to the area of the ride was closed off, but it was really nice that the lady at the ticket booth made sure to let Elissa know that the Coaster had been closed, before getting our tickets for the morning.


here's the inside of the map, and you can see how large the place actually is.


we entered at the far upper right: the East Gate, so we came in on the ride side of the park . . I was super-curious about the Doggy Village attraction (I think it was similar to a Cat-Cafe, where you could go in and play with the dogs and/OR cats!!), and the Firefly House (where one can be surrounded by fireflies year round) ..but those were way down near the West Gate, and I never made it really past the Brown Bear forest section - since it was way more important to me to focus on some of the rides the park had to offer, while still allowing enough time to get back to the meet-up point when it was time to leave for the next park.


i got a laugh (tho I realize Regina had just closed the prior few weeks, and they certainly weren't' going to re-print maps. . let alone the English version maps), when we noticed how they had "Xed" out Regina & the description on the park map with a Sharpie.




it's great that the park had maps in English - and I love that the "sub-header" name of Tobu Zoo, is


"Hybrid Leisure Land"


after a handful of rides on Kawasemi, it was time to head on further back into the park. . there were other things that intrigued me, and lots more to see at Tobu Zoo Hybrid Leisure Land. . including a Ferris Wheel themed to cheese (no, really).


but before we got to the Ferris Wheel, we came across an arcade called "Game Center Carnival", and out front were these coin operated animals you can ride.


I'm sure other people have seen these before, but they were new to me. and I was amazed, impressed, appalled (at how goofy they looked) . . and no way in hell *wasn't* gonna hop on one!





Note the construction fence behind me - it looks like the Tobu Zoo is getting ready to do some re-theming/work there. This section back behind the wall, on the map is noted as "Pleasure Land" and the main anchor ride for this section was Wooden Water Coaster Regina.


But also behind the wall here and all closed up, was Jungle Fighter (an Astro Jets type ride), UFO Dome (no idea what it is. . but it *seems* to be a projection attraction, most recently used as a haunt), and a new ride they were in process of installing - a swinging ship ride.


a wave swinger, called God Swinger "Owe" is over here too, and that one *was* operating, if you followed the path thru the construction walls to get to it.


for some reason - realized after i got back - I never rode a wave swinger at any park in Japan. And many of them had them. I think the more unique rides just had my main attention, as I always saw the Wave Swingers, and thought they would be fun to ride. but never actually did it. Which is so weird, since I really do like the ride, and ride them all the time at Six Flags Parks.


but here at Tobu Zoo, as with every other park, just never made it to it to ride.

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I continued back towards the animals, as there really hadn't been any Animals in the "front" part of the zoo that we had seen other than fish.


really wish I had taken a pic of this guy's name plate, as I'm not really sure what he is.


some kind of bear, looks like, but he's not part of the Brown Bear enclosure, as that was a little bit further back.


He was laying facing away from us, but he did sit up long enough for me to get this pic of him, and his interesting black & white fur.


Moving into the "Cat World" area, there were many large predator here. . and I snapped pics of a few of them:


a stalking Leopard


and absolutely gorgeous Cheetah, just lounging.



and then the Lions.


oh my. .the Lions . . providing a momentary "birds and bees" demonstration for all the kiddos around (seriously, like under 30 seconds - but of course, that just HAPPENED to be when I walked up, so snagged a pic).



the set up for the Lions was pretty impressive, with underground tunnel where you could view from ground level (luckily, it appears the lady with her young kiddo there was looking the other direction during this display), or you can even pop your head up in that "bubble" to be in the middle of the enclosure and get a good up-close look.


I didn't want to crawl in the tunnel (for the bubble), so I just enjoyed my view from the front of the enclosure.


And as quickly as he attempted? it was over.


She had zero interest and batted him away, wherein he just pretended nothing happened and plopped down to rest.


S'all good bro. . nobody saw her shoot you down!


well.. these Meerkats did - they were in the enclosure next door, and really were all sitting up facing the glass, apparently watching the Lions.




Photo op with the statues in front of the Lion enclosure.


Moving over a few enclosures, the Tobu Zoo has several White Tigers.


one of them was out napping on a rock. Perfect for photos.


what a beautiful creature.


Another one was more perky, although she didn't' want to play with her ball there. . she was tracking a young lady who was running back and forth along the front of the display, while her parents were trying to get her to sit still long enough for a picture.


I just leaned in and took a selfie with a White Tiger. Think it came out pretty good, as she's *kinda* looking my way.


at the end of the Cat World enclosure was this guy. . a giant Cassowary who was pretty terrifying.


he squawked a bit as he stalked back and forth along the front of the enclosure (he was following along with a zookeeper who was walking, so I guess he was hungry).


A little smaller than an Ostrich, but way bigger than a Peacock. . this dude had some big-ass claws (like Raptor size) that could really do some damage if he wanted to.


and he wasn't scared of nobody - coming right up to the fence at the front of the enclosure.


Heading into the Savanna area, i looked back and noticed not only a fantastic view of the Cheese Ferris Wheel, but also Kawasemi's track.. and the timing was good that the coaster was about to come over the mid-course airtime hill.


So snapped a few pics of it's progress.


(also got some of the Yellow Hat kids group, and the Red Hat kids group looking at the Flamingos)




and then we continued into the Savanna area, to get some really nice views of the Elephants.


(unfortunately we were downwind, so didn't hang around here too long, even tho it looked like there were stands to observe a zookeeper presentation about both the Elephants, and the Hippos next door).


the Hippos were being uncooperative to zoo guests, sitting almost completely underwater (nostrils only out), and facing away from the front of the enclosure. So they basically looked like big rocks in a pond (hence not sharing those pics)


We were keeping an eye on the clock, since we had to meet back at the Train station at 1pm (meaning we had to get back to the Zoo Entrance from where we were, and then still make the 20 minute walk back), and we still wanted to get some more rides on Kawasemi.


But since we were right by the "Brown Bear Forest", we went in to take a look.


the Bears are adorable, of course, and were really hanging out up close to the front of the enclosures.


of course, that was because the Tobu Zoo had set up some interactive "crank conveyor belts" that guests can put wafers they purchase on, and then crank the wafers to the bears as treats.


the bears are smart as hell, so they just kinda sat near the end of the conveyor belts and made eyes at the visitors, until they put a treat on them and cranked it close.


I felt bad for them (similar to how I felt bad for the bears at MarineLand who beg for treats too), but they didn't seem unhappy. . and knew the trick to get the treats.


and when a treat got "stuck"?


that Tongue


not as long as a Giraffe tongue. .but pretty long!




more please?


Not from us tho, as I just enjoyed watching the kiddos squeal with delight as they fed the bears.


and we had to start heading back towards the East Gate


Especially if we wanted more rides on this. . which we did.


Lots of pics of Kawasemi running it's cycle across the water, as we headed back to the front of the park.


Up the lift hill.


Whee!! Only a couple of hours after we had ridden it, but it was flying by this point..tons of airtime on the hills.






We rode it twice, once in front, once in back - if I'm recalling correctly, and then we really had to get going to the front gate so we could meet up with everyone at the station.


but not before stopping for the Photo Op on the side of Kawasemi - where one could not *be* the Kingfisher, but Leia got to be a fish, and I got to be the person hanging onto the Kingfisher for dear life, as it dove into the water to get fish.


which I suppose is the 'story' of the coaster.


I'll say again, this Intamin Mega-lite is amazing, and I really hope we see some of them in parks here in the USA


remember that Bear-cake place from yesterday at LaQua Tokyo Dome City (and also at CosmoWorld)?


they had a shop here too, with an example out of what the cakes look like.




Leia bought a 10 pack of chocolate & vanilla and shared with us.


here's a Vanilla one she's showing off for size comparison.


I had a chocolate one, and while it was good, it wasn't as good as the Honey flavor one I had a bit of a couple of days later at Fuji-Q


A quick stop at the exit gift shop to look for magnets (sadly, I couldn't find any if they had them), and some folks picked up capsule toys from the machines. .and then we were headed out.


but Leia remembered that I had wanted to get a pic on the Ultraman ride that was by this gate (which I had commented on, on the way in).


I had forgotten, so I thank her for allowing me to get this wonderful pic.


and it was a bit more of a snug fit than it appears in this picture. . but I fit behind the super-deformed Ultraman.


and then we were on our way back to the train station.


we passed this house, that had some intricate Iron Work on the front gate.


is it a "hidden Mickey" when it's so blatant?


they also had Mickey Mouse stained Glass on the inner courtyard doors too.


lovely job, whomever did it for them. . and nice to see how "embraced" Disney is here in Japan, even in this suburb.


and before we knew it, we were back at the train station. We were waiting on a couple of folks still, so i went into a bakery and had a savory treat - can't recall what I had, other than it was meat and onions in a sweet roll. And I had coffee to get me perky. I remember that, since this train station area had no trash can (as most stations did not), and so I had to go back into the bakery to toss my trash.


and then the folks we were missing showed up, and we went thru the gates and up to the platform to head to our next park for the day: Toshimaen!

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Great report!


Tobu Zoo/ Tobu Pool was one of a couple of parks on the trip that had really strict rules about tattoos. (as in, cover them up and do not show anything).


The other park we were going to later today, Toshimaen, had similar restrictions.


No one in our group was impacted or asked to leave, as we had lots of warning from Elissa to ensure we were aware to cover up if we had any tattoos that showed.


I did not see a lot of tattoos on folks while in Japan, although I did see quite a few folks with ear plugs, and other piercings. So I guess the body modification stigma is really only focused on the ink portion?


regardless, as a visitor to the Country, it's not my place to question the rules at all. It's only for me to respect them, and we did.


I believe, but could be mistaken, that tattoos in Japan have a history with Yakuza (the Japanese "mafia"), wheres really only Yakuza members would get tattoos. Probably has something to do with that.

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Great report!


I believe, but could be mistaken, that tattoos in Japan have a history with Yakuza (the Japanese "mafia"), wheres really only Yakuza members would get tattoos. Probably has something to do with that.




and I'm sure you're correct in that it's related to that concern/issue.


it was still odd to see lots of earplugs but not many tattoos (tho the next night at Joypolis, I did see someone with a face full of tattoos - tho he was obviously a young Westerner, who was out with his group of Japanese friends/colleagues).



Great report!


Not being able to experience Kawasemi at full force was a disappointment, as I was one of only 2-3 people on every train they ran over the course of an hour. But even slow, it was still a really fun ride.


thanks. . and totally agreed. Even the 1st ride I got when it was not really giving any airtime on the hills, it still was moving pretty good thru the course, and I loved it.

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Great report. Tobu Zoo has changed so much over the years. I really hold out hope that they'll do something with Regina and the place will be amazing!


I had a great first impression of the place, even tho we came in on the "rides" side and it at first looked like an aging "neighborhood" park.


I thought it worked really well as a zoo and I *totally* get (and agree) so many of the "rides" are geared towards the younger set (in particular the areas nearest the animals/gardens).


Kawasemi really is such a standout that even if that were to remain the only RollerCoaster at Tobu Zoo, then I'd still say it's a "must stop" destination.


but yeah, if they replace Regina with something, or even do a conversion of some sort to it? agreed, Tobu Zoo would be amazing.

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