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

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We got to sleep in a little this morning, as the meetup in the lobby was not until 8am.


so a bunch of us in the group headed downstairs for breakfast (same restaurant buffet we'd been enjoying every morning thus far - tho I knew to stay far away from Warabimochi by this 3rd breakfast. . so everything was delicious)


it's just after 8am on a Tuesday at Shinagawa Station, and holy crap. .its rush hour in Japan.


I know it looks nuts. .and there are a lot of people lined up to get in trains heading both directions on this platform.


but staying calm, we spit up into groups and all got in lines to get on the next train.


and as nuts as it looks? Japan is *highly* efficient.


the train would pull up, folks would easily get off, and the lines on either side of the doors would then get onto the trains. It was polite, and quick, and seriously: within 35 seconds, everyone had exited the train that wanted to and everyone who wanted to get on the train had. . and the train took off on time!


it was phenomenal to watch, and tho I didn't stop to watch it - as I was participating in the well oiled machine - it really takes one's breath away at how *easy* the Japanese folks make it look.


and not one raised voice, or yelling either!


the Shinagawa Station was really the only one that had the train platforms this crowded, tho the other stations were busy too as we moved our way thru them to switch trains at a couple of other stops.


and before we knew it, we were pulling into the station in Inagi that services Yomiuriland.


the park is not visible from the train, as it's built among the hillsides that are covered in lush vegetation.

in fact, you have to take a fairly lengthy gondola ride over and thru the hills to get to the park gates from near the train station. (there was a long, winding, walking path, but I only noted one person going that way (it was quite the walk), and he appeared to be a maintenance guy).


it reminded me very much of Hawaii (a landscape similarity that popped into my mind several times during my trip to Japan. . . several areas looked for all the world like I was back on Maui)


here's some of the lush vegetation from the train station.


and looking the other direction, you can just make out the roof of the Gondola station -- the horizontal blue roofs peeking out over the hill, to the left of the tan apartment building.


before we headed out across the street to the Gondolas tho, I stopped for a quick potty break, as we had been traveling and I'd had a lot of coffee with breakfast :)


I really liked this mirror wall in the Men's room, so stopped to snap a picture of it.


and while waiting for others, someone pointed out that there was a mural of a Carousel, so did I want a pic?


of course I did. . . tho the Carousel nerd in me noted the visual effect doesn't really work since the horses are going in opposite direction on either side of the door.


I know. . nerd.


a side of the pillar highlighting the Factory area of the park - called (I kid you not):


the "Goodjoba!! Area"


in this section you can build and test dive a car (think of a way more interactive test track, tho slower moving), become a cup noodle and fight the bad guy who's trying to cook you on a rapids ride (no really), make your own cup noodles, ride fashion (on a fashion themed interactive spinning coaster), or much more!


another side of the pillar promoting activities in the "Lan Lan" (bungee, wave swinger, seal show), :Flag Street" (Loop Coaster), "Bandit Area" (Bandit coaster), and "Aqua Area" (waterpark)


they had some of the pillars in the station also wrapped with Yomiuriland banners. . . which were cute enough that I took some pics while waiting for folks to finish up with bathroom breaks.


Yomiuriland has a mascot called the "Land Dog" and he's cute, tho a little bit weird looking.


strangely, they seem to dress up Land Dog in a tuxedo complete with bow tie, and he's referred to as "Good" on the map.


this is the female version dressed up and referred to on the map as "Lucky"


she's cute, and tho you can't tell in this two tone pic, she actually has rainbow sprinkles on her Bow, and on her arms & legs.


and also snapped a pic of the park map they have on the wall.


it really doesn't look that large from the map, and doesn't appear to have that many rides. But it's really misleading, as the park is *much* larger than it appears from just the flat surface of the map - with many hills and stairs, and it's pretty spread out, with a lot of things to do.


You can really see just how large it is from the Gondolas, with the site including Yomiuri Giants Stadium (the training ground for the Yomiuri Giants, and where they used to play before Tokyo Dome was built), as well as a couple temples, and a lot of space for picnic, fairgrounds, and tons of cherry trees which blossom in the spring - and the Bandit coaster runs right over them.


this was an absolutely lovely park.


(the whole bottom section of the map in grey -the part that looks like it has big warehouses? That's the "Goodjoba!! Area")


We've crossed the street and gone up to the Gondola station to buy our tickets. The Gondolas aren't quite running yet, but they are loading them on and this should only be a short wait.


going up the stairs/ramps to the station, we passed behind this apartment building, that I thought was interesting enough to snap a picture of. I really like the brickwork here.


we've got our tickets (to the park gates, plus return trip for later. . do NOT lose the ticket stub for the return trip!).


now at the bottom of the stairs up to the station awaiting the opening of the Gondolas for our trip to the front gate.


Looking back down one of the ramps we came up to get to the gondola station, from the train station down there across the street.


and we're on our way! Heading out of the station towards the top of the 1st hill.


and cresting that hill, we get our first view of the park off in the distance.


can see the Shot/Drop towers on the left, one of Bandit's turn arounds in the center, and the giant ferris wheel on the right.


we also see a lot of construction going on. . something that *someone* in our group was teasing a couple of gullible folks in our group by saying - with great authority - that the construction was for the park's RMC they were building.


LOL. . (and it was believed for a moment by some folks too). . .LOL


looking out over the baseball fields (this COULD be the Yomiuri Giants Stadium??). .but it could also just be a rather nice park field/area.


I think the Stadium tho, is further back and on the far left of the drop towers (based on some online pics I've seen of it). And since this doesn't look to be large enough to seat a lot of people for a Baseball Game? I'm gonna guess this is just a training area for the Yomiuri Giants team).


I believe the netted structure in the back is a Golf range. . I saw many of those while in Japan, as Golf seems to be a *very* popular pastime and Driving Ranges (big ones like this) were everywhere.


more pics as we're getting closer to the park.


it looks like we're going to go thru Bandit?? (yep). .and that's the top of a lovely temple that was connected to the park via walking paths, although we did not have the time today to make that trek, so i was happy to take a look at it as we passed over.


and see over on the right? another netted Driving Range structure


a lovely view of the Baseball Diamond, with Tokyo way back in the distance.


looking the other way, I believe we would get some nice views of the Shinjuku skyline and Mt. Fuji. . but I would try to get those later from the Ferris Wheel.


a closer look of the temple roofs as we pass right over it.


and approach a turn around from Bandit


more construction going on.. maybe some gardens planting? The park has a lot of large picnic areas, and some sections that looked like they were going to be used for upcoming Winter Activities (we saw a hill that LOOKED like it would be used for a sledding attraction).


and yep, off to the left of the drop/shot towers, I see more giant lights - so that, back over there, must be the Yomiuri Giants Stadium.




the Gondola system *does* go right thru the center of Bandit - a Togo HyperCoster - the 1st one ever built, but not called a Hyper Coaster since Cedar Fair didn't invent that naming for Magnum XL 2000 until a year later. True, Hyper Coasters are 200' or higher and Bandit only has a drop of ~167'. . but because of the terrain, Bandit is actually over 250' tall.


so it really is a TOGO Hyper Coaster.


regardless. .this is stunning.


assorted pics of Bandit's track/layout as we move closer to the front entrance to Yomiuriland.



Love this pic.


and the walkways/trails below all appear to be inside the park gates, leading to picnic areas, or gardens.


Getting closer, and we can see things testing in the park.


at the front of the pic and going clockwise:


the GoKart Highway "long" course, the Ptera Cycle (pedal bicycle "coaster"), Looping Starship (almost upside down), Giant Sky River tower(river raft ride), Loop Coaster MOMOnGA (pink track), Space Jets flat, and Wandit kiddie coaster.


coming in for a landing over the main "Plaza Stage of the Sun" and the Merry-Go-Land-Dog carousel


looking down the main "Flag Street" area. with some of the Wandit kiddie coaster track.


that Haunted House on the left (red building) was a lot of fun


coming in for landing at the end of our Gondola ride.


the big building directly in front of us, "Fashion Factory" is the indoor spinning Coaster, "Spin Runway"


Exiting the Gondolas, and heading to the Right for the main gates.


they have some Halloween theming up, including a sign thru the center of Land Dog - so you can see his butt with the "colored sprinkles" here.


stepping thru the main gates, you go down the set of stairs, into the welcome "Plaza Stage of the Sun" front area.


took this pic from the top of the stage to show off Bandit, and this part of the park, as well as the Carousel.


in the center of the pic was a giant Land Dog statue - that thruout the day they were putting in costume for Halloween.


and included this one, because the giant chicken head there on the left.


he seemed to be a character that was part of a virtual game you could play while wearing a VR headset and riding one of the special cars on the Ferris Wheel.

(it was all in Japanese, so when we did ride the Ferris Wheel later, we chose to ride in a standard car.. besides, I didn't want to wear VR, I wanted to look out at the view).


a snap of the large park map near the front gates.


this map is bigger, but still doesn't really translate to scale of just how big the park is when you experience it.


Pic courtesy of Robb.


Group shot in front of the Yomiuriland photo op, before we split off to go separately to do what we wanted to get to 1st (tho most of us went to Bandit. . LOL). I ended up hanging with most of the folks I'd been around thus far with the trip, as we all got along really well and were having a great time.


in the front of this photo spot, you can see the Land Dog dressed up as I mentioned was on the map earlier.

if I trust my English map, Land Dog in tux w/ Bow tie is "GOOD" and his female friend is "LUCKY"


and TPR is loose in Yomiuriland !! Hi Jon :)


as noted, we pretty much all headed towards Bandit.


(on the flag on the right, you can see that chicken thing, I mentioned was part of the VR game on the Ferris Wheel. So he/she/it must be familiar in the Japanese Culture).


two kiddos had already grabbed front seat, but the ops were waiting for more to run the 1st train.


they posed for this pic for me tho. This train is also "log" related, tho not as "loggy" as the velvet one at Toshimaen the prior day.


I'm assuming that the blank spot on the front of the train is supposed to have the "Bandit" logo on it. .but hey, American parks run trains missing the branding all the time, so not judging.


i never did figure out what the anime girls, or the light wheel next to the station were for.. . maybe some sort of anime girl group? Perhaps related to the song the ops sing before the train leaves?


its' a big coaster, and you have to along the lift hill to cut under it in order to get to the station entrance.


so it was a bit of a walk, but not too bad. . and was able to get this ground level pic of the lift hill, and the Gondolas.


in the station, just before I put my phone away, snapped a pic of us loaded in the train.


the back of the light up sign has "GO! GO! BANDIT" and that was the gist of the Song the Ops did as we pulled out of the station, complete with choreographed arm movements.


After our ride, snapping a pic of the next train loading (and waiting for more people.. we were there at open, and tho it never got really crowded, they did have an ok turnout of other folks on the day we were there).


what did I think of Bandit?


well. .it's a TOGO. . so yeah, it was a bit rough. It was fast, and I liked that a lot, and the upwards Helix (something I'd only ever experienced on Titan at SFOT) was fantastic.


I was in row 5 tho, so mid train, and yeah. .it was a bit rough for me since I couldn't see where we were going to brace myself for the turns. When I rode again later in the night, I was closer to the front, and it was much better when I could brace for turns, and I enjoyed it more the 2nd time.


It wasn't bad tho, and the speed more than makes up for it.


it's a lot of fun as a terrain coaster, but if asked to describe in a nutshell? An oversized mine train with some fun elements, and a *fantastic* view from the top of the lifthill.


that we didn't get right back in line to ride it again, says something about it tho, right? (tho I DID ride it again. . something I didn't do for Diving Coaster Vanish at Cosmoworld).


Instead of getting back in line, we headed off to explore the rest of the park - making our way towards the parks other "big" coaster: Loop Coaster MOMOnGA - but stopping along the way to ride things that caught our eye.


such as Ptera Cycle - a human powered bicycle coaster, that had a fun little track over an antique taxi car ride - that had been filled with plastic dinosaurs. . so you could see the dinos from above.


Hence the "Ptera" theming, even if they didn't bother to make the bikes look Jurassic at all. Tho they did paint a dino on the front of it. . .LOL


A handful of us wanted to do this because, a) it looked like fun (it was) and b) it had a little chain-lift halfway thru the course. . so it was kinda a coaster.


so we rode it.


Pic by Alex in the vehicle in front of us.


Myself and William about to work up a sweat pedaling.


and a selfie before we head out.


Pic courtesy of Brad - who captured us mid pedal.


look at those faces! we were having a blast!


I guess I did see these "rider" animals at places other than Tobu Zoo.. because here it looks like we *could* have ridden Land Dog if we wanted to.


he even had his own dog house.


i don't remember taking this pic, so must have just snapped it as we walked by.


We did stop and do that Haunted House I pointed out earlier, but the pics I took inside are all pretty dark, and some blurry - so not posting those. But it was a pretty fun Haunt, tho not scary at all.


It was big too, with several levels inside, and every time I thought we were almost done, there was another staircase to go up or down. It wasn't my favorite Haunted House walkthru of the trip, but it was a fun one.


but after that, we made it to: Loop Coaster MOMOnGA - which (based on the sign) is named after a flying squirrel.


at the entrance - helpfully called "Stand/Loop", you choose which way you wish to ride: Standing or Sitting.

both trains run on the same track, so both Loop, but it loads from opposite sides of the station, with a sliding track (similar to Mr Freeze) that moves either the sitting or standing train onto the track to start the ride.


It's also a TOGO, but this one had very little rattle at all and ran surprisingly smooth.


As you can see from the pic, we all headed to "Standing" side first.


me after getting off the Standing side.


the seats were super comfortable with very little headbang (barely any) and tho it wasn't the best stand up I've been on (that would be Georgia Scorcher at SFOG), this was a close second. That could have been helped by how short the ride is.


but the hang time on the loop is pretty amazing, and the forces when you come out of the loop? it pretty much forces you down into a squat. . it was great!


we got off and went down the exit and back around to ride the sitting side.


after getting off the sitting side, I snapped a pic of both trains (the standing had slid over to the main track so our sitting coaster could exit) tho there wasn't really anyone else waiting in line.


the OTS restrains on the sitting side, actually DID give some headbanging. (on the standing side, you put your arms thru the sides, then the restraints fold in like wings securing you, so no OTS restraint on that side. .which I guess is why I liked it much better).


if I had to choose a side to ride? 100% standing, it was a better ride, and the hang time in the loop was better.


at the end of the day tho, it's still a TOGO (;p) , so I only rode each side once.


Right next door was a looping Starship.


I'm not a fan of the swinging ships, and didn't ride any of those on the trip - despite most parks having a HUGE double version.


But Looping Starship?


I used to love that at Astroworld, so I was all in when a few folks wanted to ride.


ah.. here's a good pic of the sign, where you can see the little flying squirrel going thru the loop.


a few didn't so they sat and waited, and got some wonderful pics - although they are a little dark as it was overcast.


pic courtesy of Alex.. TPR in row 2 !


this is a great picture!


thanks Alex.


we headed over the Rainbow Bridge to the "Lan Lan Area" where they were just setting up the food area, and there's some nice gardens and a concert hall, as well as the Sea Lion show (not sure if this was going on today, as the group I was with bypassed it).. we had our eyes on the drop/blast tower rides you can see straight ahead.


Wasn't going to do the upcharge Bungee tower that's ahead on the left (the blue tower structure) -- it was pretty scary looking. . I mean in a good way, but still I wasn't gonna ride it.


that white tower structure on the right, I thought was part of the waterpark (that wasn't open) slide complex. .but it turned out its the "Giant Sky River" raft ride, that *was* open, as it's an attraction similar to Six Flags Diablo Falls / Penguin's Blizzard River. . but much taller, with a lot of steps to get up there.


me and a rainbow? of course!


the two towers looked closed, but it turned out that there was just nobody back here in this corner of the park when we got there.


there was one operator working both sides of the Towers.


this one, Crazy Hyuuuu is a launch tower


while Crazy Stooon is the drop tower.


I absolutely adore the cuteness that the logos tell you right away which tower is which. .and they also put in English down the side which tower does what.


it was interesting that the operator split us up with 3 on each side to help balance out the tower, and then even tho there were only 6 of us on Crazy Hyuuu (the launch one), which had seating for 14? the car was too heavy when he released it, and someone had to step off so it could operate with only 5 of us on.


I say interesting, as the same 6 of us had just ridden Crazy Stooon (the drop side) and there had been no issue at all.


just a little odd. .but we got to enjoy it anyways, so worked out well.


a pic showing the set up for the two towers (the one operator was running it from the center booth). I can imagine this gets some lines on busy days, based on the queue set up, but as you can see, no one was over here today.


I believe this is the drop side? thought it was a nice pic against the clouds, with the sun behind it.


a pic a little further back, to get both towers in it. You can also see the Bungee Jump tower in the back there as well.


On the left there is Hashibiro GO! (a Disc-O), that was down, but maintenance was working on it when we had arrived at the towers, and by the time we rode both, they were cycling the ride. So we hung around a few minutes to see if it would open up.


and sure enough, it opened up.


I'm not a Disc-O fan, so I took a break with some others on a bench while this motley crew rode.


Hi William, Allison, David, Jon and part of Luke!


There's Luke!


as you can see, they weren't too worried about balance on this one, LOL.


this is "Giant Sky River" - the one that's like Penguin's Blizzard River. The folks getting off didn't seem to be wet, so after a brief discussion, several of us decided to brave the extensive flights of stairs to take a ride.


and it was a LOT of steps.


a nice view across the park from the start of our climb tho. . including a very pretty Wave Swinger (called "Milky Way") that I again, didn't ride. . LOL.


Since we weren't going to be doing the bungee, we decided to continue making our way around the park towards the Indoor Spinner that's themed to "Fashion", and we passed by that big white tower of steps.



we weren't sure if it was a waterpark ride, or dry park ride, or what exactly it was - or if it was even open. But as we were walking by, we saw a few folks getting off - so we went up the small flight of steps and took a peek.


pic courtesy of Alex


4 per raft, and they advised to "hang on". . which was very good advice, as some of the drops in this thing were crazy steep! and there were random "speed bumps" in the bottom of the flume that sent us airbound, laughing like lunatics.


and spinning. . so much spinning as we were *flying* down the steep flume.


it even had a bit of theming on it, as a portion of the flume was built to look like going thru a cave.


the ride exit. . I was hoping to catch the raft after us, but there wasn't really anyone behind us.


so you get a pic of an empty flume.


it was SO fun.


this is absolutely something I would have ridden multiple times. . but man, those stairs to get up to the top were a killer. So we just did it the 1 time. But man was this fun.


this pic courtesy of Brad, I believe who was waiting for us at the bottom.


(you could purchase an onride photo too on this, but I can't remember why we didn't. .I'm sure we were all making really weird faces, as the camera is just as you hit the first set of those speed bumps that send everyone flying).


and here's a pic of the empty "Milky Way" wave swinger, with the GoKart track and Bandit track in the background.


seeing how well painted it is, I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't stop and ride some of these wave swingers. as I've said in the past, I LIKE these rides, and always ride them at parks in America.


walking around the closed "Aqua Area" section to get to "Goodjoba!! Area", you can get a nice view of the part of the park we just left - including a nice idea of just how long the flume is for the Giant Sky River (and how tall the stairs are)


upon coming into the "Goodjoba!! Area" you pass this showstopping thing, which is an interactive piece called "A Game of Skill: Tama Goro"


which is described on the park map as: The first ball coaster type attraction in Japan. Full of visual and hands on interaction. . . how you can enjoy it is up to you"


it was like a giant KNEX set, with bowling balls instead of marbles.


Most of the attractions in this area seemed to be focused on "learning" and were geared towards the younger set - not necessarily a kiddie area (that was on the other side of the park), but maybe younger school age.

The park doesn't discourage adults from participating, but as you can see from the pic, there was no one there - no kids groups on this particular Tues - and i would have felt a bit weird asking to go do the interactive thing that's geared for younger when no one else was really interested in doing it too. So instead I just watched it for a bit, which was just as exciting.


it was a kinetic sculpture and it was really cool.


another angle, and you can see another operator on this side, waiting for folks who want to participate.


the tracks above are another sky bicycle type ride, similar to the Ptera Cycle - this one called "Sky Patrol", but this one wasn't operating today.


The only thing we knew for sure that was over here that we had wanted to do wee the Spinning Indoor Coaster (themed to fashion), and the Raft Ride (themed to noodles!). But this huge building, Car Factory, was here too and it caught my eye.


So I wanted to check it out.


Especially once we stepped in the main doors and saw this car/robot/transformer greeting us.


the building had the Sky Patrol tracks going thru it (a la Peoplemover at Disney). . .


and to the left were these ramps that looked like slot car tracks.


at that point I pulled out the map to see what we were actually standing in, and it turned out there were TWO attractions in this building:


1) "My Racing" a virtual car you design, then "race" on a projected track, was downstairs.


and up the steps was something called:


"Custom Garage' - which the park map describes as "you can attach your favorite parts to the vehicle and enjoy a test run"


that combined with the "slot race" ramps we had seen? made me think maybe it's Yomiuriland's version of Test Track?


None of us really had interest in the virtual racing thing, but the car one sounded intriguing, so we shrugged and headed up the stairs.


The lady at the attraction, handed us some English rules (very basic..so we really didn't know what we were about to be doing), and then divided us up into groups of 3, and sent the groups into separate rooms.


and it turned out we had to assemble a car!


LOL. . with a count down timer, and "tools". . we had to find parts on the shelves, and attach them to the car before the time ran out.


Leia, William, and I had been grouped, and while Leia and I were scrambling to put the car together while the time counted down? William was taking pictures of us doing it instead of helping! BWAA-HAAA-HAAA


thanks for the pics, tho William.


pic by William.


Pic by William.


the countdown finished, and our "Inspector" walked around the car, and looked, and tested to see if things were attached, and gave us High-5s (and then got us to climb into the car where he took this pic for us).


I love this pic.


especially since after he took it, when he thought we weren't looking, since were distracted by having to put on seatbelts (seatbelts??). .he ran quickly around the car and secured all the parts we *hadn't* secured correctly.


then he came back around the front of the car and had us do tests (lights, blinkers, brake, gas, turning the key to start it).


and then, holy crap, the car pulled forward (I hadn't even noticed the front of the room was open), and onto the slotted track we had seen, and we started riding the ramped track. there had been no one on the attraction, so we hadn't seen any cars going and had no idea what to expect. so this was quite the surprise.


The looks on the faces of the other group as our car pulled out and passed in front of their "garage" area was priceless - wish I had gotten a picture.


but once I realized that we didn't have to actually steer or anything? I did snap these selfies.


while it didn't do any acceleration anywhere near the level that Test Track does? this was still hella fun, and made a few fairly sharp turns. This is us going Wheeee!


it turned out there was a "puzzle" to solve too, with hidden numbers among the railings, and they ask you a question at the end. But since we hadn't understood the directions well, we didn't have the right answer (the prize was candy, and the operator REALLY wanted to give us candy, but we kept guessing wrong as we hadn't known that we were supposed to be paying attention. . we had just been having fun).


Luckily I had been in the car with Leia - who currently lives in Japan and understood what the operator was asking us at the end, even if we didn't know the answer. the other group was a bit confused at the end what she kept trying to ask them


on the way out, of course I took an opportunity to pose in the photo op vehicle :)


that was way fun, and unexpected to find something like this here.


and right next door? The Nissin Food Factory!


Home to "Splash U.F.O." - the indoor raft ride that's themed to Nissin Yakisoba noodles!


you ARE the Yakisoba U.F.O. noodles, and you are supposed to protect the factory from the bad guy who's trying to boil you and eat you (I think??) and noodleman fights him to save you, and you help.


or something.


It's *so* WTF, and so, so good.


advance spoiler, this is the ride I rode most at Yomiuriland. I think Alex, Jon, and I rode it 4 times (or maybe even 5). . I LOVED it.


this is the outdoor portion, where the raft goes under the "boiling" water kettle.. don't worry, it turns off. . but the rest of the raft ride is indoors. and it has some steep areas of flume. and when I say steep? I mean almost vertical.


and there's a section that has you spinning really fast while you barrel down a steep ramp that everyone in the raft gets a bit wet.


oh. .and in between sections? there's projections on the ceiling, and you hit your color coordinated buttons in the center of the raft to help noodleman fight the bad guy.


it's insane and brilliant, and the use of the oversize props on the ride is also fantastic - that giant fork coming at ya!


I say again. . LOVED it.


Getting ready for ride #2, and she recognizes us now, since we were basically coming out the exit and getting right back in line - hence the big smile.


who's ready for ride #2 ? These Guys!


behind David is the other ride attraction in this building, "U.F.O. Bump!". . basically mini bumper cars.


in the queue line, that was sorta interactive in places.


but this is the bad guy - see the boiling water kettle on his head?


Alex, William, and I passing under the kettle. see? the water stopped pouring JUST IN TIME.


pic courtesy of Brad.


from the exit walkway, you can peek into one of my favorite parts of the ride - dumping the water from the Yakisoba after it's been cooking.


You're spinning and moving SO fast at this point, I was sure that we'd get under that water before it turns off. . but it did turn off every time. Sometimes cutting it really close, but it turned off.


oh, we still go wet, but this would have soaked us.


Seeing it every time we came around this section, got my adrenaline way up.


here are those bumper cars I noted a moment ago.


although these were really well padded with the inflated tires? I don't ride bumper cars ever, because I'm always concerned that one good jolt will throw my back out.


but I was perfectly happy to stand outside and enjoy everyone else having fun.




and you can see in the reflection at the bottom of the pic, I'm leaning in and pushing a button?


yep, the bumper cars were interactive - when I pushed the button, it pushed out a big section of the wall on the inside, and pushed whatever car (hi William!) that was close, back into the center of the cluster.




there are two "rides" in the Nissin food factory, but there's another attraction in here:


for $3, you can create your own Yakisoba U.F.O. Noodles!


you get to design what proteins, sauce, and spice go into your custom Yakisoba, and you get to design your own lid too! then they package it and shrinkwrap it for you.


when you purchase your token, they have you pull a lid from one of 3 machines - randomly you can get a 'standard' U.F.O. lid, a 'special' lid (such as Halloween themed), or a super rare one - with gold or silver foil on a black glitter background.


i got standard, but some in our group got special ones.


you then go to the special tables, with markers, and you get to design your own lid.


we had been made aware of the Typhoon coming, and that we might be stuck in a hotel, so most in our group decided on a theme for our Yakisoba noodles :p


once you have the lid complete to your liking, you bring it over to the glass enclosed line (in the prior picture) and you slide it thru the slot and spin the wheel - lucky folks land on 4 proteins instead of 3. The folks behind the glass walk you thru and let you choose your options. And at the end the line, they attach your personalized lid, send it thru heat-shrink wrap, and send it out to you.


you then get a little "purse" souvenir to carry the Yakisoba package in, that you can inflate to protect your prize noodles.


here's Alex and Allison inflating their U.F.O. noodle purses


work that pump, Alex !


we had our Yakisoba souveniers, and were starting to get hungry.


but I wasn't gonna leave this building without another ride (or two) on "Splash U.F.O." so Alex, William and I got back in line and rode it again. I think we actually rode it twice more, since they didnt' make us get off when we came back into the loading platform as there was no line.


pic courtesy of Brad.


and then I sadly left the Food Factory building, and headed next door to Fashion Factory, for "Spin Runway"


I have no idea why I don't seem to have any pics of the queue line here, as it was a really, really well done queue. Lots of oversize props related to sewing, and fashion design. But the only pic I have from this queue is this "take a picture on the runway" interactive area, that then shows your picture on a TV screen a little further on in the queue. This is me on one of those screens.


exciting, huh?



the coaster itself is a little strange, it's a spinning coaster that again, has an interactive element. As the car is going up the spiral lift, you're surrounded by giant 360 screens that project a flying Land Dog. . and you're supposed to use the buttons in the coaster car to fly him into various pieces of clothing to "dress" him before the coaster goes down the 1st drop.


we didn't really understand this, so we kept hitting the buttons at the same time, which made our "hero" miss all the clothes. . so we ended up with the random generated outfit thruout our ride instead of one we skillfully chose (at least he wasn't naked).


our 1st ride was a dud tho, as for some reason, our car did not spin. it did not make it super fun for the folks on that side of the car who spent the whole ride backwards. The coaster itself reminded me very much of Laff Track at Hershey, but there were a lot more practical effects in this coaster that you zoomed by and thru. When we got back to the station we told the operator that we hadn't spun. not at all. and he said something to the lady behind the glass in the booth, and they spoke for a moment, and then she directed him to move us thru the small gate and load us back onto the coaster in a new car. (i guess something was wrong with that one, or they had set that one not to spin?).


whatever the reason, the 2nd time around, we understood the "dressing" part on the spiral lift, so we sat back and let one person play the interactive part - and get a lot of clothes for our guy. So this time he was dressed in a "special" outfit that had been chosen for him.


and this time? we spun. a lot.


so much, I was glad we hadn't eaten yet.


it was a fun ride, but I was glad that we had gone thru without spinning the first time, as I had gotten to really enjoy some of the props - props that were harder to see when you spin quickly by them.


the others that had been in the prior car were wondering what had happened to us (since they had already exited by the time we were moved back to the loading platform to get back on), but they waited for us to come out, and we all headed off in search of food.


to be continued. . .


We met up and this morning was the first alert of a typhoon forming that was headed towards Japan.


Typhoon Hagibis was moving slowly, and nobody was 100% sure how it might (or might not) affect Japan, but it was trending this way and Elissa wanted to keep us in the loop and be aware that it might impact the Osaka stop / Universal Studios Japan stop.


Really appreciate how on top of things, and how informed she was sure we were, as it was looking like it was going to be a pretty severe storm.


But that was not going to impact us today! Today we had three trains to take and then a Gondola ride, to get to: Yomiuriland!


we were gonna be spending the whole day there, from park open at 10am, till 5pm close.

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Looks like a fun place! That UFO noodle place sounds so great. Springfield finally got a ramen & yakisoba restaurant a couple of years ago, and man, the fresh stuff is so good.


The Yomiuri Giants play in the Tokyo Dome, though.


oddly, they don't have a UFO restaurant there, where they serve fresh noodles... I would have thought for sure there would be one (but as you'll see in part II, we did have some wonderful food at Yomiuriland regardless).


as to the Yomiuri Giants? yep, they play in the Tokyo Dome (think that's where Joey went for a game during the trip), but they still use the stadium here for practice/training. at lest that's what it said online when I looked the stadium up.



Great report! Maybe I should've given Spin Runway a second chance when I was there since I got a ride with hardly any spinning even in a super unbalanced car.


But then again I was too busy riding Bandit and Splash UFO.



heh. . yeah, Spin Runway really did spin, a LOT. but totally get the focus on Splash U.F.O. since, as noted, it's what I rode the most at the park.


it's so much fun!

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Yomiuriland continued. . .


Across from the Fashion Factory building was the "Bungu Factory" - this building didn't have any rides, per se, but it did have:


"Campus Challenge" - per the map, "try 7 challenging games using your body, based on the manufacturing process of Kokuyo's "Campus Notebook"




"Hirame Kids" - a playground with the theme of Kokuyo Children's books.


There were no takers today, and we were hungry - and honestly, the "challenge" sounded a bit too much like "work", or at least "effort" was required. . .LOL.


So I instead just snapped a picture of this neat display out front (the big pumpkin looks like it's made of cardboard), and then we moved on without going in this building.


we ended up at the "Goodjoba!! Kitchen" that was the main eatery in this part of Yomiuriland, and it had a large selection of curries, noodles, doria (with the melted cheese), among other things.


here's what I got, and if I'm recalling correctly, it was called "Gon Koe", which was kind of a Pork Katsu on top of a bowl of noodles in a fragrant broth.


it was really good, and filling, and reasonable (it was like $11 American).


I do believe we were the only customers, so they were happy to have a "lunch rush" come in.


A few folks are missing from this pic (maybe Trent had already eaten. . as he had been with us on the Spinning Coaster. . and that's why he's not in this pic?), but a bunch of ended up hanging together most of the day at Yomiuriland, and thru lunch too.


the Variety of options at this place left everyone pleased, and I think all really liked their main dishes.


tho I know that the Pinkberry (that was being sold at front counter as well), didn't go down really well from those who tried it.


this was interesting. . "self serve beer" station.


Saw something similar at a few other stops on the trip too - you purchase the cup, then can use it to get your own beer.


the Halloween Decorations in front of the "Goodjoba!! Area"


It looked to me like this is a permanent sign (with Halloween overlay placed on it). . since this is on the park map as a landmark.


This sign faced the "Aurora Gate - Temporary park entrance" . . . I would assume this entrance is used for school groups, who are coming to experience the "factory" portion of the park in this area, and this is the welcome sign to this area.


snapped a quick pic, and then we headed towards the area of the park we had not been to yet: "Family Area". . which mainly is the kiddie section, but also had some adult rides such as the Ferris Wheel.


we bypassed the Merry-Go-Land Dog (no one wanted to ride, so I could wait a bit to ride it still) as we passed thru the "Plaza Stage of the Sun" area, and into the "Family Area"


and there was a photo op, where one could sit on the elephant's trunk as he lifts you with "water". . so of course I stopped to pose.


and then noticed the box of decorations for Halloween next to it. . so another pic.


this time as a witch!




(and notice my inflated purse noodle holder that I was trying to hide behind my leg. . LOL).


There was a ride here in this section called "Animal Coaster" and we had been teasing Trent & Luke about it, since it was called "coaster" but it's really a caterpillar or turtle type ride.


when we walked by there was no one on it, so I harangued everyone to take a spin, and we had a TPR "Coaster" takeover.


the selfie came out pretty good.


but I like the one the Operator took for me, even better.


TPR on "Animal Coaster"




This Giraffe, wearing a tuxedo, and with "KISS-stars" on his eyes, was on the front of the "train"


(you can see a better view of him on the poster to the right of the Elephant trunk picture a few above this)


after that ride on "Animal Coaster" - which was about what I expected. . . a circular turtle type ride that was just fine - I was ready to take a ride on the park's "Giant Ferris Wheel"


not everyone wanted to ride, and some folks split off to go find ice cream, or just sit and take a break, or other things. . so we decided we'd meet up after our ride (for those of us who wanted to), and continue on together after.


Jon and I again shared a gondola, and I believe Brad and Leia shared the one behind us.


As noted in the other part of this report, the park was doing a VR headset game with certain gondolas, where you spotted or interacted with animated characters (or something. . I didn't quite understand what one was supposed to do), but we decided not to do the headsets, and instead just got in the "regular" gondolas for our spin on the Giant Wheel.


this pic is headed up, looking out at a good chuck of the park. (not counting the Goodjoba!! area, the Bandit Area, or the Aqua Area - nor the Sechi Park (where the temple was) nor the JU-JU BBQ-Park (one of the large picnic areas off to the left).


but you can see a good chunk of Yomiuriland.


Moving camera to the left, a nice pic of Bandit, and the top of the JU-JU BBQ pavilion.


More of Bandit Area, some of Tokyo, and looking down? the colorful supports for the "Animal Coaster" ride we had just gotten off of and the undulating track for it.


also some of the picnic area behind it.


up over Bandit, to get more of the Skyline. . .a bit foggy, but still a neat pic I thought.


if it were a clearer pic, we could just make out the Tokyo Skytree from the ferris wheel.


additional random shots from the side facing the park as we go up and get ready to crest the top of the Giant Wheel.




Turning to look out the other direction, away from the park, and thru the clouds you can just make out Mt Fuji there near the center of the picture.


again, mt. Fuji thru the clouds.


Some of us were going to be headed to Fuji-Q the next day, but based on prior reports of trips there?


There was a chance that THIS was going to be the best view I'd get of Mt Fuji, so I snapped a few pics.


Crossing over the apex of the Giant Wheel, and starting to come back down, I spotted Bandit going up the lift hill.


who am I to pass up an opportunity to take pics of Bandit from above??




and zooming thru the upwards helix.


which had some great forces.




you can really see how spread out the layout of this coaster is. . it truly is a Terrain Hyper Coaster.


selfie in the gondola, on the way back down to the ground.


Coming down, but still pretty high up.


i mean, it *IS* called the "Giant Ferris Wheel"


Overview of some of the kiddie rides in this area, as we're coming down.


clockwise from left: "Oliver Music Party" kids railway, "Animal Coaster", & "Desert Cup" teacups ride.


posing with the Giant Ferris Wheel sign, that was advertising the VR "Game" on the way exiting the Ferris Wheel.


these were the "cute" creatures you dealt with in the game, and the yellow one at the bottom would be the one that was the giant inflatable that was in this area.


we texted the other folks and some of them were sitting at a table by the big restaurant by the Plaza Stage of the Sun area. So we headed that way to meet back up.


but what's this?


why it's a Water Squirting at Targets ride, themed to firefighters, called:


"Kids Fire Fighter Keshippi"


we walked by it, but then I saw that there was an adult riding it. And you got to dress up with a fireman helmet, and a firesuit (if you so wanted)?


Jon and Brad had no interest, but Leia was willing to ride with me, so we went back and got in queue and suited up.


Pic courtesy of Brad -


and here we are shooting at targets! whee!


Leia was all in, tho I bypassed the jacket and just went with the firehat.


man, look how much fun we are having -- and it just went around in one circle shooting at metal targets with water guns.


I got one, I got one!!


we finished our ride, and went down to meet the others at "Plaza Stage of the Sun" area, and I noticed they had done a lot of decorating for Halloween on the Land Dog statue, while we had been in the park today.


he now had scratches on him, and was wearing a cape. . and was surrounded by zombies, and graves, and folks were putting more decorations up around him.


fun. I mean, it's a cute mascot, but how fun that for Halloween, he's getting "spooky"


we headed towards Bandit, and I believe we got another ride on it - this time I sat a bit more towards the front, and I enjoyed it more as I was able to brace for the "TOGO goodness" transitions.


Some people wanted to do the Laser Maze (called "Laser Ahletics "Temple of the Sun" - which is a walkthru with physical challenges - and you can choose from 3 courses that apparently are different levels of skill.


I wasn't feeling it - didn't want to have to navigate a laser maze or crawl around (if needed), but walked over to that - for some reason - Egyptian Facade for this house.


then I saw steps leading down . . somewhere, next door and pointed out to them that I think there's an attraction down there too? So we headed down the stairs and found: "Animal Rescue" - a dark shooting ride, where you are supposed to protect the animals from a group of evil poachers, or super villains, or other animals that have gone evil. . or spiders. . or something.




it was a total WTF, and I know Robb did some filming on this and posted a video. .I'll find it and attach to this string so y'all can experience Animal Rescue too!


was it good? oh, no. . not at all! Did I love it tho? HELL YES !!


no pic of me from the car that finished, but here's Jon and Brad. I think they scored pretty high.

(I had no idea what I was supposed to be shooting at, and if points came off for shooting "good" people/things).


clockwise from front: Alex, William, Allison, Luke.


several of these folks look very pleased with themselves. . I'll bet they got good scores!


Everyone else headed back up the steps to do the Temple of the Sun Laser Athletics attraction, but since I still wasn't feeling it, I split off to ride the Carousel (or Merry Go Land Dog as it's called here at Yomiuriland).


This is the pic I took as I approached it, and I love how I managed to catch the operator scowling at me from the booth.


I was the *only* person there, and she was none-too pleased that I was not a child (from what I could gather from her expression, and her attitude). Maybe she was just annoyed that I had come up and so she had to work and was just having a bad afternoon? I dunno.. I mean even a sour Japanese park employee was still way better than some USA Park Employees I've interacted with. She just stood out, since not smiling and not seemingly happy.


but she sighed, checked my wristband, and started the cycle up for me.


no music at all - but not sure if that button just didn't get pushed? or if this Carousel has no music.


there were the standard horses, but there was also the opportunity to ride Land Dog. . . so of COURSE I rode Land Dog.


he was pretty big, so couldn't get a good picture of myself via selfie, tho you can see his eyes

(the operator never came by to talk to me or check the perimeter, so didn't get a chance to ask her to take a pic for me. . oh well. . no biggie).


it wasn't the nicest, or even close to the most interesting carousel i rode during my trip. . it wasn't the crappiest either tho.


tho these plastic signs taped to the poles (noting that these horses don't go up and down) I thought was a little tacky.


the "yarn ball" and paper cut out pumpkin decorations I guess are fitting if this is intended for the way younger set (and I liked that there were several "sizes" of Land Dog that could be chosen to ride, for the really young to older riders).


really missed music tho. . it made it kind of depressing - solo White guy riding a silent carousel.



close up of the "bouncing" Land Dogs


Close up of the yarn ball pumpkin decorations.


I didn't stick around taking too many pics of this Carousel, as there just wasn't a whole lot exciting about it, other than the unique Land Dog riding options.


Staff laying more decorations around the larger statue in the Plaza.


headed back over the laser maze to meet up, I stopped to snap another pic of Bandit's lift hill, with the Gondola's nearby. It was maybe 3:30 by this point, so we had only ~ 1 1/2 hours until park close.


The park had several special Halloween themed treats being offered, and I decided on my way back that I wanted to try this one from "Candybell" the Tapioca-Milk-Tea place from the "Food Station" food court by Bandit


this was the Halloween offering, that was a "mystery" flavor - which turned out to mean that it was slightly coconut, and the tapioca balls had a slight blueberry flavor.


it was decent, tho it didn't blow me away (then again, i don't really care for bubble tea in general, so that I drank the whole thing says a lot about how decent it was).


after purchasing, I headed over to the Laser Maze to meet up with those still at the attraction (turned out they were doing all 3 courses, and one of them was a doubles course, so some folks went back in with other people so they could do the doubles one).


Random woman strapped to a bed screaming, Halloween decoration outside the "Temple of the Sun" Laser Maze.


not sure why it was here - advertising a haunt somewhere else in the park? (the one we had gone thru earlier maybe??). . . or maybe the laser maze turns into a Haunt on the weekends (when the park is open late)?


no idea, but this tended to be a "scary" decoration - something i had not really seen here at Yomiuriland, so I snapped a pic of it.


Some coming out of the Laser Maze asked where I got my milk tea from, so I walked them over to the Food Station area near Bandit so they could get one too.


took the opportunity to snap these pics of Bandit's station / logo.


I really don't understand the Vikings with Swords on either side of the station as theming.


I saw similar theming at a couple of other parks too. and the Vikings never really made sense to me (other than when they were with the swinging ships ride. .that I can kind of understand).


I guess I just put it down to "Japan", and I do think they are kinda cool. Just not really sure what they have to do with the Bandit Roller Coaster.


while we were waiting for some to get the milk-tea, some of us got to talking about the go-kart tracks that we had seen looping around the park, and how it looked like they had been abandoned, with lots of leaves and dirt in the tracks in some places. Trent said they were running - at least one side of it.


and ears perked up - side? there's more than one? and they had started running?


Trent confirmed that he had ridden them once they started running in the afternoon, and so after checking the map, most of us headed over to the Go Kart queue over on "Flag Street" area


they only had a handful of gas powered go-karts on the track - makes sense, there wasn't a big crowd at the park today. and it was late afternoon.


there WERE two sides to the track as well - something I hadn't even noticed as the track thruout the park, just looked like one long, raised track. But it turned out that the raised track was called the "Go-kart Highway Long Course"


the other track, which stayed on the ground and wasn't raised at all, was called "Go-kart Family Course"


the other big difference? the Family Course were 2 seater cars, while the Highway Course were single seats.


there seemed to only by 3 of each car, so while a few folks took off on the Highway Course, several of us paired up to ride the Family Course - with the intention that when we got back, we'd just swap, and that way everyone can ride both. A plan that worked out really well, as although the long course was way longer than the Family course (that just went in a big circle), the single cars went way faster than the 2 person cars. so it all evened out.


the Family course was nice enough, but the Highway course, that went up on elevated sections was hella fun. Especially when you lapped the Family course, but then split off to go up to the bridge sections.


the building that housed the queue for the go-karts was a 2 story queue, and the Highway at about the 1/2 way point, looped around and went thru the upper floor of the queue building. It looked like at one point in the past, the Highway Course only went 1/2 way, and on the 2nd story, you exited the car, and someone int he queue on the 2nd floor would get in there to drive their turn . .finishing back at the 1st story queue.


But apparently it hasn't been run like this in a long time, as we just zoomed past the empty (and blocked off queues) in the 2nd floor, and continued around on the course until we got back to the first floor area at the end of the ride.


if it hadn't been so late in the day, and with so few cars operating, I might have ridden this again.


I don't have any pictures, as we had to set our bags aside (not allowed to bring on the ride) and my phone was in my bag that got left at the station.


What's funny and embarrassing here, is that I know I'm a klutz. and I'd spent a couple of days being really careful and watching where I step so I don't trip. and I had been EXTRA careful today at Yomiuriland, because there were so many hills and steps in this park. I'd even mentioned it to a few folks every time we went down stairs how I'm a klutz. So of course, getting out of the solo car, after my fun turn on the Highway Course, my shoelace got caught on a gear in the cart, and I fell on my ass in the middle of the tracks. Looking like a turtle on it's back. It was funny, and I wasn't hurt (and only slightly embarrassed, as the operators both laughed when I took the fall. .but they could tell I wasn't hurt). Luke was returning to the station from his ride, and saw me on the ground. .so owning up to it here. It was lucky I didn't have my phone, as if it had been in my pocket, I likely would have cracked it.


yeah, I'm a klutz.


most of the others who had ridden didn't see me fall tho, as they had noticed the Marion Crepes stand there in front of the Go-karts queue, and were enjoying crepes.


here's Jon enjoying what looks like a sweet nutmeg crepe - tho they also offered up on the menu, a Tuna-pizza-cheeze crepe (no. . really).


this place had the biggest crowd I had seen in the park tho, with a good 10-15 folks sitting enjoying the crepes.


it was getting close to 4:30, and tho we discussed possibly going back and re-riding some things, I had gotten my fun and was really wanting a magnet. So I wanted to hit the gift shop for the park near the front gates.


we had discussed with Elissa earlier, that tonight was going to be a great night to visit Joypolis if anyone wanted to go there, since they are open late. And I was certainly open to that, as were a bunch of other folks. . so we headed towards the front gates / gondola system.


I stopped to get a solo pic at the Yomiuriland photo op, proudly holding my noodle purse (heh), and then we went into the gift shop.


I had success with my search for a magnet (got a Bandit magnet, with Land Dogs "Good" & "Lucky" riding it), and they had some claw machines out front that several folks had good luck winning Chachkies from. I had success winning neon purple plastic handcuffs.


but for some reason I didnt' take a picture with them on (!), and they didn't last more than 10 minutes, after the plastic key snapped off in the "release" and it was bothering me having them on, so snapped them off . . . LOL

Oh well, it was only $1 to play, and I know I won.


*someone* took a picture of me with them, tho I can't recall who. . so maybe the purple handcuffs will show up in this thread. :)


and then, we were back on the Gondolas, heading back to the Train Station, ending our day at Yomiuriland.


Even tho the park wasn't closed just yet, you can see from this pic just how empty it was (this was maybe 4:45)?


in this pic, there's actually a good shot of the Family course (the two tracks going UNDER the walkway, with the yellow divider), and on the right is the Highway course (the grey track with the red sides).


looking at them, you can understand why we thought the go-karts ride had been abandoned.


nobody in queue for Bandit. . end of day, and park is shutting down.


and now. . a series of pictures as we take the Gondola back to the train station. . so several pics looking the other way from this morning (since I sat on the opposite side from where I sat on the trip to the park 8 hours earlier).


still just incredible, going thru Bandit on the gondola.


even neater this direction.


and coming up on the temple that's on the park grounds - that I didn't get to today.


some really nice statuary down there tho. .and love the pagoda rooftop.


Baseball field and Tokyo. tho still just a little too foggy to see Tokyo Tower or Skytree.


but much clearer than it had been earlier.





and we are back . . . now to walk across the street (where we'd meet up with Luke and Trent on the station platform), and many of us would head to Joypolis for some additional fun this evening!


I loved this park, and it's a definite yes, if i ever go back to Japan. (In particular for the Go-karts, Giant Sky River, the Temple site, and yes, Bandit).


here's a snapshot of the menu I snagged from online :)

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Really enjoying this TR. I'm working on my own report from Yomiuriland right now as I was in Japan a few weeks after you guys. Looks like you were able to spend more time at Yomiuriland than I was. I rode plenty but regret missing out on a few things such as the ferris wheel. You captured the ambiance of the park very well here. I thought it had the nicest atmosphere of the non-Disney/Universal parks there.

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Really enjoying this TR. I'm working on my own report from Yomiuriland right now as I was in Japan a few weeks after you guys. Looks like you were able to spend more time at Yomiuriland than I was. I rode plenty but regret missing out on a few things such as the ferris wheel. You captured the ambiance of the park very well here. I thought it had the nicest atmosphere of the non-Disney/Universal parks there.




can't wait to see your take on the park.


did you get to ride the Sky River or the Go Karts?


after Splash U.F.O. I'd rate those as my favorites in the park.

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Alex with the smug look in every photo, haha I love it. Another excellent chapter bert!!


is that a smug look, or is that just Alex? you decide!



heh.. .Alex with the inflatable bag is only my 2nd favorite picture of him from the trip, even tho I love it . . we got an "eyes" pic at USJ that I love just a bit more

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heh. . experiencing the toilets in Japan, did change me.


I just purchased this "Tushy" today - and, LOL, they are calling it a "Brown Friday" sale.


(thru this weekend with 15% and free shipping if anyone else is so inclined!).


It easily attaches to a standard toilet and makes it a bidet style. .



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Thanks, Bert, for taking us to the fun 'n fanciful Yomiuriland.  As usual, between the pix and the captions, I laughed so hard that my smile was frozen a la Dr. Sardonicus! (Great old horror flick!)   Of course, I loved that the mascot was Land Dog.  (You can tell from my Username that I'm a tad dog crazy.  My very first word was 'Westminster.')  Anyway!  I would fer shure have ridden that Land Dog carousel with you.  It would have been a MUST!


It's impossible for me not to be happy when I see the happiness you exude on your travels!  (Blows the moths out of me as my entire body shakes with laughter.) Hope you have many more fantastical journeys ahead - with LOTSA phenomenal photos and your wonderful brand of droll humor!


ALICE  (P.S. Ooh that Nissin (U B the noodle Bwahaha!) Cup 'o Soup ride!!! We need that in Times Square!)

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Oh I forgot to mention in an earlier post - you are right and wrong at the same time, haha. Yomiuri Giants are at Tokyo Dome / Thunder Dolphin. Although I understand your logic that Yomiuri Giants are probably next to Yomiuri Land haha.


But that stadium next to Yomiuri Land IS for the Yomiuri Giants' farm/prospect team haha. So it is for the upcoming Yomiuri Giants players but the official team is at Tokyo Dome.

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^ noted. . always so interesting to learn things like that!


^^ and Alice, thanks so much for the kind words

really glad you're enjoying the report.


got interrupted due to Holiday and Family here that I had to keep an eye on, but working on next update (Tokyo Joypolis), a fairly short update.. to be followed later this week by a huge Fuji-Q update, which likely will be a 2part one as we spent whole day there!

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so we left Yomiuriland, and after a few train changes, we pulled into the Odaiba Station in Tokyo.


We were headed to Tokyo Joypolis (a place my brain insisted on calling "Joy-Opolis", even after hearing it called "Joy-polis" multiple times).


It had already been a long day of fun and excitement at Yomiuriland, and I knew I had to get up early in the morning, but no way was I going to pass up a chance to visit this place that I'd heard about for decades - and was home to the first spinning coaster with an inversion.


we exited the Station, and weren't exactly sure which way to go. . oh sure, we could have followed the signs, but we didn't need no steenking signs!


in actuality, I think most of us (at least I cans speak for myself) was distracted by the wonderfully lit Odaiba Ferris Wheel. .so we exited the station towards that.


the Ferris wheel was fantastic looking, and we tentatively discussed coming back later to ride it. .but we soon figured out we needed to go the other direction, and so went up the platform to take the bridge over the traffic.


and while walking across got a lovely view of Tokyo.


it turns out that Tokyo Joypolis is part of a shopping complex called "Decks" (or as Alex and i called it: "Deksssss", so named because the center, when viewed from the side facing Tokyo Bay, is built to look like a ship.


To quote from the booklet I grabbed inside:


"The Ship Theme Park!

DECKS Tokyo Beach is a ship-themed shopping center.

Starting with the wooden open terrace modeled after the deck of a ship, there are decorations thruout the mall that recall boating themes. Walk along the deck and feel the salty sea wind blowing pleasantly across you as you enjoy shopping and dining in a setting that feels as though you're on a luxurious cruise ship sailing around Tokyo Bay.

On the 3F Seasside Deck, take in a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay! Relax on a Wave-Themed Sofa, or enjoy the 6F Restaurant Floor's Ocean-themed mural"


heh. . I love the "hype text" used in Japan :)


there's also a Legoland Discovery Center, a Madame Tussauds & a bunch of shopping at this center, but we were getting here ~6pm and most were closing or closed).


What we were really here for was the top one listed on this sign tho: Sega Joypolis - it was open until 10pm, and although last entry was 9:30 pc, we still had at least 3 1/2 hours before close.


we made it! (terrible angle, but we took this pic to prove we found our way there!).


and they offered a "Night Passport" after 5pm, which was only ~$35 and included admission and rides


for some reason, I didn't take a picture of the front entrance of Joypolis, only this one from outside.


not sure why. . I don't even have a blurry one! I blame the excitement of being there, since I DID take pics of the machines we used to buy our Night Passports (all came out so blurry tho, not posting).


Joypolis is a really large space: 3 floors, that are packed with activities, and tech wonders. . .there was no way we were even going to get to do a fraction of the attractions offered, even tho it wasn't very crowded. but that was OK, as personally, I really only wanted to do one ride (the coaster) everything else was gravy.


our 1st stop was the "Gekion Live Coaster" - this is the spinner with the inversion.

It's described on the park map as thus:


"Part music game, part roller coaster, it's the world's first "concert coaster" ! You'll fly at insane speeds through a course of spectacular lights and sounds"


this coaster apparently gets a lot of overlays, and during our visit, it was themed to a J-Pop band that seemed to be super popular.


the first part of the ride, involves the 4 person car stopping multiple times in front of screens, where you had to push your color coded buttons to match what was happening on the screen. The gameplay was simlilar to guitar hero, where you had to hit the buttons when "your" color bubbles moved into "your" target range. it was fun, and not confusing, but it was way more shooting dark ride - albeit with blasting loud music - than coaster.


until you get to the top of the lift hill, and finish playing the game on the final screen prior to the launch.


Then it launches you out over the main atrium (open air beneath you), it does it's signature inversion, before going back into an enclosed room, with the same song blasting, lots of disco lights and screens on a giant tower in the center of the room, and then the care unlocks and you spin while the track loops around the outside of the room several times). . then you pull into the station, and you see who had the high score in your vehicle.


(shocker - Jon won both times, or was it 3 times we rode?).


they are VERY strict about nothing in your pockets here, and you have to put them in a cubby space at the bottom of the stairs. I mean, really strict - someone had to get out of line and go back to the cubby to put in a chapstick they had in their pocket. Really.


but the ride was fun, and I'm glad we bought the Night Pass, so we could ride multiple times, instead of just purchasing per ride.


But my phone was locked away, hence no pics of the ride queue or the ride itself here.


This fun thing that I DO have a picture of here, is one of the multiple "interactive" tech things spread thruout Joypolis.


they call these: Space Interaction ("Experience the fusioin of Digital and Real world").


This particular one, you stood on a marked spot, and the screen turned you into a creepy "Schmoo". .that mimicked your movements and did all kinds of fun stuff.


the "Spaceship" it's holding in it's right hand, is actually my phone snapping this pic, that the display turned into something else :)


Not everyone wanted to ride, so they enjoyed "bench" the ride, while others of us got into queue.


the queue had several more of those interactive elements - where if you stared at a TV with your picture on it, a digital wig appeared on your head. . or your head became bubbles. It made the time in the queue fly.


the J-Pop band that the coaster is themed to? The Main Stage in the center of the 1st floor had a projection mapping/hologram show featuring the band performing.


From the reaction of the crowd, I thought maybe some (or one) of them had shown up live. . but nope, this large crowd - many sporting glow sticks or LED "shakers" handed out by the staff - were all enjoying a virtual concert and totally into it.


they had signs posted everywhere advising NO PHOTOS of the show, so (with permission) I took this one from off to the side, so I could just get the crowd but not any of the projected show.


which was really pretty impressive. It was almost hologram-like. Tho I don't really get why they are all so into it, when it's not even a live person on the stage.


very interesting to see tho.


Leia and Brad rode after us, so I got a snap of them before the ride started.


after some rides on Gekion Live Coaster, we made our way over to the other marquee attraction at Joypolis (also on the 1st floor), the Halfpipe Tokyo !


this is an amazing adrenaline rush - it's a stateboard type attraction that swings back and forth, and as you swing past the white line on the floor, the two riders on each "arm" (riding side to side but facing different directions) "tilt" the floor. The result, if you can time your tilt with the other rider, and time it as you hit the white line? the device spins, like REALLY spins, and you get higher and higher up the sides of the half-pipe.


it's HELLA fun. . but as you can see, with only 4 arms? capacity is crappola - even if its not running a long cycle (and it runs a decent one).


luckily, we were there on a Tuesday night, and it wasn't too crowded, so the wait was only 20 minutes or so.


In this pic, you can see the interactive tech thing from the prior picture near the waiting area - complete with the flagged spot to stand so you can interact with the screen.


We then splintered off into smaller groups, since some folks wanted to do the haunts on the upper level, some wanted to go into the gift shop, and some just wanted to sit in the lounge/cafe area.


so Jon, Luke, and myself headed up to the 2nd floor, and among the offerings this one caught my eye: "Transformers: Human Alliance Special"


we saw a girl get off a cycle (there were very few people on this level) and she looked kind of green, but this looked like fun: A shooting ride from inside a 360 "ball" that moved with the film.


This was the big mistake of the night, as the cycle was not only very long, but it did a LOT of 360 spinning while also gyroscoping.


I did like it. .but this kinda knocked the wind out of all of us (especially Luke & Jon..who were done with riding after this).


I'm glad I rode it, as it was something I'd never experienced before. But yeah, if we hadn't done this ride, I likely would have gotten on a few other things on this floor, such as "Tower Tag" (a climbing interactive VR shooting game), or "Storm G" a virtual bob-sleigh that also does 360 stuff.


after spinning till almost puking here tho? nope.. .I wanted to check out the stuff on the 3rd floor (mainly the Sadako attraction), but i was pretty much done with anything more extreme than sitting.


speaking of sitting. . really liked this little game controller bench. It looked like it moved depending on what you did with the joystick. but I wasn't about to chance trying it out.


LOL. . didn't want to puke, even tho I hadn't eaten since lunch earlier in Yomiuriland.


another "Space Interaction" spot. . this time Sadako creeps up on you when you stand on the marked spot.




in the Lounge area on the 2nd level, there's a wall size "Space Interaction" display..where you can put your face on a Sea Lion (or maybe it's a Manatee), and then swim around the whole wall. . . and you can also virtually "feed" yourself by dropping (via button on the wall), digital snacks into the "water" then watching yourself snatch them up.


here I am blowing bubbles.


Jon got in on the fun too. . so here we are, swimming our best lives, on the wall of Joypolis.


going up the escalators to the 3rd floor of Joypolis, you can get a great view of Gekion Live Coaster's track when it comes out over the main atrium - in particular the inversion.


also in this pic, there's a decent view of the Main Stage, when there's not a show going on. .so you can see the different sections (thru the netting under the coaster), where there are tons of LED lights, and tech for digital mapping. This thing comes alive during the stage show.


It looks like the car is in mid-spin here, so I must be mis-remembering, and it unlocks for spinning the moment the launch is done.


meaning you might be spinning during the inversion.


yep, and here it is spinning during the inversion.





up on the 3rd floor, the outside of the "She's on her Way. . Sadako - the Curse: Psychic Manor" attraction.


LOVED the giant practical display on the outside of the attraction.


I had planned to do it, and then noticed the warning sign out front that advised that you would be in a "coffin" for part of the attraction and those who are claustrophobic should not ride.


so i went over and joined the folks sitting in the lounge area up there - who were waiting on Brad & Leia, who had been in line for it. Since this attraction operated in groups of 6 or 7, Brad and Leia convinced me that I should join them in line for it, since I'm a fan of the Ringu films (where Sadako is the main ghost).


there were only 5 in line, so when they were finally ready for the next group, I joined them in line to go thru with, and tho it was mainly in Japanese, the actor did switch to English for the 3 of us at important parts - mainly to scream "run!!!" when it was time to rush into the next room.


the "coffin" part was a bit silly.. . you were placed in individual tiny rooms (more like High School loc_k_ers) and then the doors closed, it got completely dark, and the host ran back and forth in front of the row of doors pounding on them at random. After about 2 minutes, the whole row tilted back about 45 degrees. . . and then tilted back upright quickly. . and the host opened up all the doors and rushed us into a dead end hall.


the TV at the end of the hall flickered. . . the lights went out, and when they came back up, "Sadako" was climbing out of the TV at the end of the hall and starting to chase us, while the host shrieked for us to run.


it was fun, if a bit stupid, but we came out laughing. . . and noting how "Sadako" looked an awful lot like the guy who had scanned our ticket, but with a long wig on. . .


LOL :)


after this I did a quick walkthru of the rest of the attractions up here on the 3rd floor - most of which were motion rides, such as Wild Wing (virtual hangglider), Wild Jungle Brothers (virtual jeep safari), or Wild River (virtual white-water rapids) -- which thanks to Terminator, I wasn't feeling that up for.


the Zombie Zoo walkthru sounded interesting, and I was confused and intrigued by "Lola and Carla: the Beauty Contest". .where apparently you compete as an animated character to try and win a beauty contest - but this one had most of the younger crowd that was out tonight, in line for it.


i think it may have been ~8:30 and several folks were hungry. And as noted, I honestly was kinda "done" with riding things. . so I was certainly up for heading into the Decks mall and finding some food.


I had ridden the coaster (multiple times), the half pipe, the Transformers ride, and the Sadako attraction, so I certainly had gotten my money's worth.


heading down the stairs to go out the exit, I stopped to take a few pics of Half Pipe in operation.


think you can see some of the rotation in effect, and how high one can get on the swings in these pics.



we checked out a few places on the 6th floor, and it seemed that all the smaller restaurants (that seemed very expensive, likely because they had patios outside facing Tokyo Bay) were really crowded. No one was really feeling the buffet that was there (it had a lot of sushi and fish options, but folks felt it was just too many choices). . so we ended up at an "inside" restaurant on the side of Decks that faced the train station:


Tsukiji Uemura


it was very quaint, and not too busy, and the manager seemed to be this lovely older lady.


that sat us in an area that had two tables across from each other so all 7 of us could sit together, and they had an extensive menu of shabu-shabu, Sushi, Japanese omlette, as well as Takoyaki and a large variety of Sake options.


Just LOOK at Alex's stare into the *soul* of that Sake bottle.


Get in mah bellah indeed!


(and he did share it with several of us, and it *was* very nice Sake).


forgot to take a pic before diving in (and I did share with folks who wanted to try), but this is some Japanese Omlette, and in the corner there was one of Jon's Takoyaki fritters.


this was my main (only the 3rd day, so was still using the trainers on my chopstix). . I believe it was a teryaki Pork of some kind with a miso soup?


i remember it was good, and nice and filling.


that's a little dab of Mayonnaise. . this restaurant was my 1st exposure to how often Mayo is served with a sit down meal in Japan. I still don't quite get the attraction. . but that's not butter, it's Mayo.


Jon with his main. . not sure what he got. .looks like some sort of hot-pot or Katsu?


Brad got a Sushi Bowl tho. . and it looked amazing!


Table across from us.


and us.


all 7 of us having a blast and enjoying each other's company.


by the time we finished up and headed back down, it was just after 9:30, and even tho Joypolis was still open, they had stopped letting people in the doors, due to the rule that they close the gate at 9:30.


so although we had tentatively discussed taking a spin on the Odaiba Ferris Wheel? I think it was a group consensus that it was simply too late in the evening, and it had been a really long day.


and 5 of the 7 of us at dinner had to be up before 5am to head to Fuji-Q the next morning. . so we blew off the ferris wheel, and decided to head back to the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.


but not before stepping out on the back deck of level 5 of "Deckssssss" for some stunning views of Tokyo Bay & the City at night.


just lovely.



Temptress across the parking lot, as we were heading up to the trains.


but no.. we had to get some rest! tomorrow was gonna be a full day.


it sure looked purty at night tho!


Here's Jon and I on the ride. . luckily we ended up in the front track too, so Alex was able to get this pic from the observation area where he and Allison were sitting.


Jon is facing away, but since he had been on this on a prior TPR Japan trip, he was able to advise me and help me get our timing down, so we were spinning like crazy.


we had a weird e-STOP in the middle of our ride (I think some of the riders on another track were jumping up and down and so they stopped it to yell at them). . but they started a new cycle and we got a full ride in.


we spun a lot, but we didn't "win" with most swings/spins - there's a score at the top of each track, and each cycle has a "winner". We came in 2nd tho.


was really fun.


the only nod that Joypolis had to Halloween was this photo op.


but, I mean, it's Sonic trick or treating!


so of course I stopped for a pic (or 3).

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Another great update! Joypolis looks like so much fun and so unique to us Americans. I remember those virtual roller coasters at huge Dave and Busters like places as a kid but never got to experience one. So these type of places fascinate me. Can't wait for the next update!

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I love the Odaiba area. So much interesting stuff to discover. I'm a little upset that the replaced my favorite Japanese arcade with that insane Digital Art Museum, but I know that's getting phenomenal reviews and I'll just find another arcade!


Joypolis is pretty cool. It's like an updated Disney Quest that didn't stay in 1993. Also, the best crepes I've ever had in Japan came from the crepe booth inside so there's that.

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Another great update! Joypolis looks like so much fun and so unique to us Americans. I remember those virtual roller coasters at huge Dave and Busters like places as a kid but never got to experience one. So these type of places fascinate me. Can't wait for the next update!


you're in the next update with me, since it's Fuji-Q !


been uploading pics for a bit now, and really fingers crossed, will have it up by end of day tomorrow.

(it might end up being a 2 part, since was a very full day once we met up with you at the Bus Terminal).

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Joypolis is pretty cool. It's like an updated Disney Quest that didn't stay in 1993. Also, the best crepes I've ever had in Japan came from the crepe booth inside so there's that.


we eyeballed those crepes.


that booth was right next to the food court on the upper level and we actually had a discussion over "eat light and stay here" or "let's go into the mall and get a real meal"


since I had wiped myself out on the Transformers spinning thing? I had no problem going into the mall to eat.

unfortunately, we finished too late to get back into Joypolis, or would have hit the souvenir shop, and likely, the crepes!


yet another reason to go back to Japan, I suppose.

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So I ended up taking over 600 pics on "Fuji-Q Day" and although I'm not gonna include over 2/3rds of em, I couldn't bear to cut many of the "coaster train moving thru the course in succession" pics. . so this report is gonna end up being a three parter!


apologies for those that are already sick of seeing pics of smiling me giving a silly thumbs up, as I seemed to do that a lot on this day. . LOL


so I had to wake up insanely early - I think this pic is ~4am (as it was evening back in Texas so sent a good night wave home to the spouse).


why was I up so early? A group of 7 of us were meeting up downstairs at 4:30 to head to Shinjuku.

We were going to meet up with Zach (who had been in Japan for a few days doing culture stuff on his own), and we were headed to Fuji-Q for the day!


Elissa helped us a TON ahead of the trip, with planning how to get to Fuji-Q (since it wasn't part of the "Official TPR" trip) - as well as tons of helpful info if the weather didn't cooperate, the crowds were terrible, or the operations were sub-standard.


it was all about setting expectations, and I really appreciated all the advice.


I was most excited about seeing Mt Fuji, and even if the weather was awful was excited - even tho it sounded as if the Mountain didn't often appear, and was often covered in fog/clouds/mist.


but we had all pre-bought our reserved bus tickets (tho not actual park tickets, or skip the line tix yet. . just in case weather turned out to be terrible), so was up and dressed, and down in the lobby meeting up with the rest of the folks coming today: Jon, Alex, Luke, Trent, Allison & David.


our bus left from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal at 6:05 am, and got us to Fuji-Q at 7:42 (~1:20 before opening).


We were a few stops away from Shinjuku, leaving from Shinagawa . . and we still had to find our way from the train station to the Bus Terminal.


Luckily Zach had been staying in a hotel at Shinjuku, and had pre-scouted to find out where we needed to go for the bus. So all we had to do was to meet up with Zach at the Train Station and follow his lead.


It was a Wednesday, just before 5am. This early, the stations were all pretty empty.


the architecture in some of the stations continued to impress me. . and with such light crowds, was able to get some nice pics.


Go Straight?


no thank you. . .


but I will go "gaily forward"




yeah. . not many folks headed to Shinjuku this early.


We found Zach, and he led us outside, and across the street to the Bus Terminal.


it was maybe 5:30 or so, and the sun was starting to come up and the city coming alive.


up the stairs to the 2nd level of the Express Bus terminal, and I stopped to snap this pic out the floor to ceiling windows of what was looking to be a beautiful day - at least in Tokyo.


Fuji-Q Highland is in Fujiyoshida, about 1 1/2 hours away. . so weather could be different, but I crossed my fingers and we made our way into the Bus waiting area (which looked remarkably like a small airport waiting room) - grabbing coffee and a snack from the little convenience store.


before too long, our bus had pulled up outside and we were called to start boarding.


this was a highway express bus, with only a few stops (the 2nd of which was Fuji-Q), but as noted we had to pre-purchase seats, and they were assigned.


thanks to Elissa's recommendations, we had all purchased seats weeks in advance - which worked out great as the bus had sold out.


I had purchased first from our group, so I was in row 1 and had chosen a window seat. I forgot that the driver would sit on the right, so I was behind the driver's booth. but still had a pretty good view.


The seat next to me was open for a good 55 minutes, and the person next to me didn't join until the 1st stop. So it was a nice, comfy ride although I look really wiped out.


the bus had free Wi-Fi (as well as a bathroom). . it was way nicer than any bus one would get in the States.


as we started to get on the road, I spotted this ahead thru the driver's window.


I knew Mt Fuji was often behind clouds, but this looked clear. There was no snow on the peaks tho.. was this Mt. Fuji? (I snapped the pic and sent it to the group chat to ask. . and yep, it was Mt. Fuji!).


So I was already happy I had seen it - albeit from way far away. . but I could say I saw it.


oh yeah. . . glad we're going out of Tokyo. . just look at that traffic headed into the city!


clearer shot of Mt. Fuji. .tho still thru the bus window.


just some random pics as we drove thru Japan, to get to Fuji-Q highland.


the landscape was just beautiful, and the sky got clearer and clearer the farther we got out of Tokyo proper.


the highways go THRU the mountains. Reminded me very much of traveling we had done in the hilly areas of Pennsylvania (particularly on the way to Knoebel's).. tho this elevated highway reminded me of driving on Oahu.


the the front window screens, but really loved the "fog" in the crevices of the mountains.


just really cool.


but why did I include this pic?


On the left there, thru the screen? yup, that's a ferris wheel, and what looked like a roller coaster.

it's not Fuji-Q (were too far away still), but there's an amusement park up there in the mountains.


I love Japan more every day I'm there!


Cemetery on the hill right alongside the highway.


the sky is a beautiful shade of Blue, with occasional low clouds..


Sorry for so many pics, but these are only a dozen or so of the 40 I took. . LOL


Just wanted to share the experience of the bus ride from Tokyo. So lush and beautiful.


Tunnel thru the mountains


Misty Mountains, low clouds, and beautiful sky.


we were getting closer to our destination, the weather was looking just lovely.




Rural houses, along the highway


Getting closer. . a better pic of Mt. Fuji. . and much clearer.


over the houses, thru the "clear" part of the window?


off in the distance, is our destination.. my first view of Fuji-Q highland.. . I'm getting Giddy.


Holy crap. . . still thru the bus window, but look at this amazing cloudless weather. .and holy crap - Mt. Fuji is impressive as hell!


not sure where the snow is, it looks naked. .but such a clear view today!


I believe this is Eejanaika 's lift hill peeking out towards the highway, as we are approaching.


Yup.. almost there! and passing right in front of Eejanaika, with Fujiyama's lift hill on the right.


(and in the center of the tracks, you can also make out Takabisha's vertical lift section.


all with a beautiful Mt. Fuji in the background.


Coaster-Japan-gasm. . . I actually felt my stomach doing flip-flops when I saw this view from the bus.


Making the turn off the highway, and pulling up to the Fuji-Q Bus Station (around 7:40 am).


steps away from the front gate entrance - and just next to Fujiyama.



Air is crisp and clear.


exiting the bus, and I got my first view that wasn't thru a window. . and I was completely blown away with how gorgeous Mt Fuji is.


see? I look dumbstruck. . or just dumb. . or maybe just tired. . LOL. . but I was so amazed to be seeing this with my own eyes!


and the day was so clear. . I could have never imagined we'd get such a great clear day for visiting these parks, and had prepared myself to not be too disappointed. . .that added to how blown away by it I was.


those stairs behind me in the prior picture, went to an elevated bridge that allowed one to go across the highway and get closer to a "lookout point" for Mt Fuji. . and also provided a great view of Fujiyama - which was the worlds tallest coaster when it was built back in 1996


looking a bit more to the right, the lift hill and 1st drop of Fujiyama


no trains cycling yet, as it's still over an hour until the park gates open.


stun. ning.


it's the fresh mountain air, I think. . . yep, another "thumbs up from bert" pic.


going across the bridge, there's a neat little look-out area, and a lovely clocktower down there at the base.


nos sure which side the infamous Suicide Forest is located at, but I suspect it's on the opposite side of Mt. Fuji from where I am looking.


I had gone back down the stairs to the bus-drop off and noted to some of the TPR folks that the stairs up gave a fantastic view, and most of us went back and came across to enjoy the view.


(I believe Trent & Luke had already headed over to the front gates tho).


thanks to Alex for taking this picture for me. It's treasured among my favorite 5 or 10 pics that I've ever had of me.


we posed for a "TPR group shot" with Mt. Fuji, and posted it to the Messenger thread, and we initially got back a two word response from Elissa. . . before she elaborated.


let's just say she was happy has hell for us that we ended up with this view (and weather) and noted that in 10 trips to Fuji-Q Highland, they had never seen Mt Fuji so clear.


the universe was with us on this day, and we were starting out really, really well.


clockwise from front center: Allison, Alex, David, Zach, Me, Jon


most of us making "giddy" faces. . .


after getting our Mt. Fuji fix in (and this clarity lasted for a few hours, but by 11am, the whole mountain was obscured by clouds and fog. . so it really was a perfect start to the day that we got to see it so clearly). . we headed towards the entrance gates for Fuji Q highland.


we still had about an hour until opening, but better to be lined up when they open as we didn't know what kind of crowds to expect since the day was so beautiful.


Fujiyama as we're walking toward the main gate.


you get quite close to Fujiyama as you approach the park.


still too early for the trains to be running, but the structure itself is impressive all on it's own.


and here we are, ~40 minutes prior to opening, outside the main entrance.


they had some pricing info up, and hours, and interestingly some changing rooms set up (I guess because it was October, and so people want to dress for Halloween, but not come to the park in costume but rather change AT the park?).


there was also a Photo op - so of COURSE I posed :p


i was one of the "ensemble stars" - which looking into after the fact ,are a Japanese Anime, based on a CCG (collectible card game), and seems to be very popular in Japan.


tho to me they looked like an anime Scouts group. Regardless it was a photo op, so I stopped and op-ped.


the series seems to be pretty popular, but I don't recall seeing them anywhere in the park other than this display out front (inside the park there was tons of the "Power Rangers" type mascots that Fuji-Q uses, but no more of these characters).


Park Map, with the red box showing us where we are.


I didn't realize it at the time (probably because it's all in Japanese ???), but on this map, there is a greed dotted line, that shows where we ended up getting to go to: as at the 30 minute mark, the front of the "store" opened, and we were allowed into the area - which is an entire themed (to France?) section with shops, cafes, fountains, more photo ops and some amazing views of the park - along the way to the actual front gates - where they sell admission, as well as the main park entrance (noted on this map as "Park Entrance 1"


so you can get pretty far into the place, before it really opens - although the only "ride" out here is a double decker Carousel, that wasn't open until the park opened (and never made it back out to ride this one, so I only rode the Carousel inside Fuji-Q's main gates).


that blue dotted line, would appear to be the directions for Hotel guests to follow. .as it leads them right to the front gate as well (where they lined up in a separate queue and were allowed in about 15 minutes prior to official opening).


as you can see from this map, if you're coming in Park Entrance #1 (not even sure if #2 was open, but if I had to guess it was not this day). . then you're coming immediately to 3 of the 4 "big" coasters at Fuji-Q Highland.


literally steps straight ahead from the entrance is: Fujiyama

if you hang a right just before Fujiyama's queue building, you immediately come upon Takabisha - and directly across the "street" from that queue is the queue for Do-Dodonpa


so the only one of the big 4 that's off by itself is Eejanaika - much further back into the park from the main entrance.


so it is possible to spend a bit of time just up here by the entrance and get 3/4ths of the parks' famous coasters without ever leaving this section.


standing in front of the park map, just before they opened up the doors to the store, and we realized we were allowed to enter into the pre-entrance area.


as noted, I hadn't realized we'd be able to get into this section so hadn't looked at the big park map too closely. .but there was a lot of stuff here, and very well themed. Almost Epcot level in some places.


and some great shots of the coasters (which still weren't testing yet, as it was still ~35 minutes until park open).


here's Takabisha's famous "steeper than vertical" drop at the midpoint of the ride.


Looking to the left a little, here's Fujiyama on the left, with Eejanaika's track in the center of the pic.


the morning weather was just so perfect, only could have gotten better pics if the trains had started cycling at this point.


never did figure out who the black & white dog figures are, but they apparently are Fuji-Q Highland mascots too, as they were all over this entrance section to the park.


here I am in a photo-op with them. . riding a super-deformed version of Fujiyama.




some interesting artwork here - that were down nooks and cranny "side streets" off the main path.


a good pic down one of the "streets" with the shops, headed towards the main gate.


see? very much reminded me of Epcot theming, and those two black/white dogs (?) were everywhere out here, including in signs, as well as some Halloween versions of them at the end of the street).


and yes, at this point, we TPR folks were the only ones here.


a fountain/cafe area, offering a great shot of Takabisha. . . and I love how they themed the planter into a Jack O Lantern for Halloween.


yep. . we're in France, that's an Eiffel tower at the end of the pond with fountains, and there were some lovely gardens off to the right. Tho it looks like Fuji-Q ran out of budget and just stopped. . so there's a blank wall up against the rear of the building at the far back.


Still, its pretty nicely done, was unexpected, and to the left there is the Double Decker Carousel (which as I noted I didn't get to ride today, since we didn't come out until after park close. . tho it IS included in your park ticket if you buy the ride pass, otherwise you can pay to ride it as single ride).


continuing toward the main gates, a closer shot of the "nook" area and Takabisha.


looking up at Fujiyama, as we head down this "street" towards the entrance.


this area looked amazing at night, and yep, those two dog (?) characters are in the lights over the shops and glittered at night.


they also had a photo op, where you could sit between them on a bench in front of a Fuji-Q version of the Arc de Triomphe.


so of course I did.


We've now made it all the way to the front gate area - which is over there to the right.

to the left is where one can buy the tickets for the park. . which it turns out you get a discount (only $1, but hey a buck is a buck) if you show your passport when purchasing.


Fuji-Q has now become a "free" park - there is no separate admission fee, but instead you purchase an entrance ticket (free), or Free Pass ticket (which includes all rides).


OR you could just purchase for whatever specific rides you wish to enjoy when there. (in addition, the 4 "big" coasters, all have machines in front of them that sell the Fuji-Q version of Fast Pass, which seemed to average ~$15.. but they give you an assigned time (you get to choose what timeframe), and you come back and bypass the standby queue).


of course we purchased the Free Pass, as we wanted to ride everything - and we did confirm before purchasing that all the big coasters would be operating (minus the Mad Mouse which had been declared SBNO earlier in the year).


they don't give you a wristband or ticket that you'll need to keep pulling out. . instead the park uses Facial Recognition! at the main gate, you pose for a picture, and then every ride (even the Carousel), you stop in the booth on the way to the ride, and smile, and it recognizes that you bought the ticket type that allows you to ride that ride (either free pass, or for that specific ride). Very cool, and a little bit "Technology is taking over" freaky.


it worked really well tho, and I think the only time we even hit a small snag was when Allison put her hair up, and the booth didn't recognize her, until she took it back down for the green approval from the technology overlord. :)



anyways, as you can see from this pic? the park was preparing to open!

(and a cut out of the female "power ranger" type mascot of the park).


a good look at the entrance gates, and the facial recognition booths where they snap your photo upon entering the park.


also Eejanaika way back over there.


no one in line, yet, as it was still about 20 minutes to opening, tho that would change as the Hotel guests started to show up shortly after for early admission.


I absolutely adored this.


the park name, as Vending Machines.




even better? all Coke product, no nasty Pepsi to be found anywhere :p


better look at the entrance facial recognition booths, and some of the Halloween Decorations the park had put up.


less than 20 minutes until park opens, and the Hotel guests started to arrive in droves, and lined up at the special queues to let them into the early admission. (i think that maybe those that pre-bought tickets online got 15 minute early admission too).


a few other non-early admission folks had shown up, and joined the line in front of us, but it wasn't much of a line. . the day was beautiful, but opening didn't seem too crowded (although the early admission line was growing and growing).


still can't really believe I'm here, and the day is so beautiful.



just after I snapped this pic, they opened up the park for the early admission, and folks just streamed in. . .and went directly ahead to join the Fujiyama queue.


The Ride wasn't open yet, but that's right where everyone went. . we looked at each other and were a bit surprised that no one was heading to the right (for Do-Dodonpa or Takabisha) ,but it seemed almost every person went to get in line for Fujiyama.


less than 10 minutes to "general" open, and Fujiyama has started testing (only Silver train tho, no Gold. . which never ran all day, but this was the only major coaster that was running 1 train).


these set of pics are from just outside the main gates.




and while Fujiyama was cycling, we started hearing the jet-engine take off sound of Do-Dodonpa tearing out of the launch, while they readied that.


and then moments later? the gates opened for everyone, and into the park we went - a place I never in a million years thought I'd ever set foot in (same thoughts I'd have every day on this trip! especially once we got to Disney)


thru the gates, and I/we followed the advice Elissa had given me to prepare us for a "not-perfect" day so we would still enjoy Fuji-Q: at open, head to the coaster I MOST wanted to ride, and get a ride on it standby.


THEN go hit the skip the line machines to buy further passes if needed.


for me, and for most of those on the TPR trip at Fuji-Q with me today, the #1 ride I MUST do was Do-Dodonpa, so we made a bee-line for it.


a quick glance at Fujiyama as we walked by, confirmed what we thought we saw - everyone did seem to go there. The queue was full all the way down every ramp, and into the back&forths at entrance level. I knew from research, if the ramps were full? that's a 2+ hour wait.


So we headed to the right, and were shocked to find Do-Dodonpa with a queue that wasn't even 1/2 way down the 2nd ramp. We're talking ~15 minute wait. . so we hopped right in line.


looking across the walkway, Takabisha's queue wasn't even past the entrance door out into the back&forth queue area. . so we knew we'd be hitting that next. But from our wait on the Do-Dodonpa ramps, we got some nice visuals of Takabisha running, with multiple empty rows!


wow, we picked a great day to go. . maybe the Typhoon kept people away? Maybe because it was a Wednesday? Or maybe just pure luck?


but we had managed to hit Fuji-Q Highland on a perfect morning (great weather + light crowds). .









the back portion of Takabisha's course


So. many. inversions. . .



and zooming into the frame? Do-Dodonpa train on the return to the station, still just FLYING.


they were running two trains on Do-Dodonpa today, Purple and Red.. this is Purple.




and they were running it with lots of empty seats - which seemed odd, but I think these were still some of the first trains with riders today.


Selfie from the queue (and some serious side eye from the girl in front of me who is watching the speed of the train returning. she seemed to be wary about riding but was being egged on to ride by her boyfriend).


this is really the only ramp full of folks between us and the ride - the load station is at the top of the ramp, on the left.


and you can see on the right, that no one really filled in the queue behind us either, the remaining ramps are pretty empty!


a peek across the "street" at the completely empty outside queue for Takabisha !


(and the empty ramps behind us on Do-Dodonpa)


Silver Train of Fujiyama climbing the lift hill .. behind the return track from Do-Dodonpa (and thru the tunnel is the "out" track from Do-Dodonpa


and across the park?


Eejanaika has started to cycle.


OMG. . never been on X2, didn't know what to expect. . but OMG. . this looks amazing.



Do-Dodonpa's red train returning after the loop.


we were going to be on this real soon.


I believe we ended up riding purple, and myself and Allison got front row.


Absolutely incredible launch - I had heard it described as feeling like you got hit by a truck. . and that's pretty much what it feels like, with a surprise pop of airtime as you enter the tunnel (the track does a little bunny-drop, and your ass just keeps lifted out of the seat). This is all about the speed, and boy does it deliver.


i obviously never got to ride it with the "ejector airtime hill of death".. but I can imagine I would have HATED that. .but I really liked the replacement loop - which had quite the hang time as you went thru the giant loop.


it's over pretty quickly and really doesn't do all that much. . but wow, that speed. so impressive.


and the theme song playing in the station, and the launch tunnel (not to mention the LED display on the walls of the station.. which i didn't notice on our morning ride - so I think they weren't on - but certainly noticed on our afternoon ride? that's a wow moment as well.


Very good. . so good, i was tempted to get right back in the short line for it. . but with Takabisha right across the way, with also a shortish line? yeah, common sense kicked in, and we exited and got in line for that.


in line for Takabisha - it was ~ two ramps, and this wait was maybe ~20 minutes, but it went by really fast.


we were all talking about how much we had enjoyed Do-Dodonpa, so the time flew, and we were at the station before we knew it.


but before we got to the station, the ramps going to Takabisha's station offer some more great views of Fujiyama. . .


and while taking that pic? Do-Dodonpa decided to photo bomb.


some of my photo taking skills are ninja like!


Still can't believe I got this shot, considering how fast Do-Dodonpa's train is moving at this point.


although you have to put your stuff in cubbies (all provided free), after our ride on Takabisha, I hung out in the station for a moment to snap a pic of the mural that I loved.


honestly, most all the stations on the big coasters were pretty spectacular, with either painted murals (Takabisha, Eejanaika), digital displays (Do-Dodonpa), or just some amazing classic Japanese architecture (Fujiyama).


I didn't realize this mural would also be on the outside of the photo frame of any pictures purchased. . so I made sure to get a snap of it.


I even like the checkerboard floors. . tho the top stripe is really nice.


here's the pic i bought.




and this "beyond vertical drop" is at the 1/2 way point of the ride! there's a bunch of inversions and a launch before you even get to this point. Tho it didn't end up being my favorite ride at Fuji-Q, Takabisha is top 3 for sure (and in the #2 spot if only counting Coasters)


Jon, Allison, Me in back row

screaming locals, Zach, and Alex in front row.


Funny how the TPR folks are smiling. . LOL


it turned out that with every "print" one buys, you get a digital copy too.. so what those of us who spent the day hanging out together did, was take turns buying them, then Alex would download the digital pic and share to the TPR messenger thread so we all got copies.


i'm the only nerd who likes hard copies, so I really appreciated that everyone gifted me the hard copies of pics we bought. they make wonderful souvenirs for me.


leaving Takabisha, and noting how light the crowds were, we as a group decided to hit up the remaining coasters first, to check them off our bucket lists.


one look at Fujiyama confirmed that yes, not only was it still completely full on the ramps, but the queue had spilled out into the ground level queue as well.


as I noted, it turned out it was because they were only running one train. So we all ended up going to the machine and purchasing a fast pass for Fujiyama (for later in the morning), as with 1 train, the line simply wasn't going to get any shorter, regardless of how light the crowd might be.


pass purchased to come back to ride this in a little bit, we set our eyes on the remaining big coaster in the park, and headed towards Eejanaika.


to be continued in part II

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FYI - the black and white bunnies are Gaspard and Lisa. A pretty famous kids show. It's like British, French, and American rabbits!


ah. .that would explain the sign behind what I called "Superdeformed Fujiyama"


what is the tie to Fuji-Q Highland? any idea.. or they just decided to theme that entry section to France (with some British shops thrown in), and so used them as mascots there?

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