Japan Trip Day #5 Part #1: Tobu Zoo Park Now that the typhoon was behind us, it was time to start hitting some larger parks. Today’s schedule called for us to head to head north above Tokyo to Tobu Zoo then head to southwestern Tokyo and finish the day at Yomiuriland. This ended up being a pretty tight schedule, but was accomplished.
Today ended up being a pretty big train day as to get to Tobu Zoo, you have to take the Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line to the end, then take the Tobu-SkyTree Line to Tōbu-dōbutsu-kōen Station. From there you have the option of taking a bus to the park’s east entrance or saving the $2 or $3 and walking the 1 mile through town to the park.
I’m starting to kind of see a pattern as to how these parks are owned and operated as like the Senyo Group that owns Sea Paradise, Tobu Zoo is owned by Tobu Railways, which operates quite a few local rail lines. Amazingly, they also own the Tokyo SkyTree and any numerous hotels, and properties, so I guess you could say that they would be the equivalent to say the numerous trolley parks that used to exist in the US back in the 1900’s, but on a modern level. The park itself opened in 1981 so it’s a pretty modern park.
To enter Tobu Zoo for a day, it can cost ¥4800 (approx. $42.78) for a one day pass that includes admission, unlimited rides, and use of the water park. Like other parks, you also have the option of buying a ticket that’s just for admission at ¥1700 (approx. $15.15) and buying individual ride tickets which range from ¥300 to ¥1000 per ride.
Once waking up and getting another great breakfast at Tully’s (mmm, apple cinnamon pancakes), we took the Hibiya Line north around 10am and switched trains at Kitasenju to the Tobu Skytree Line. Before we did, we took a break to get something to eat to eat at the park entrance before going inside the park. Most of the places sold sushi, but one place stuck out and it sold yakitori: meat on a stick.
They sold just about any kind that you could think of, but I decided to be cautious adjust get the meatballs on the stick dipped in some type of teriyaki sauce… excellent! When I go back, I’m going to definitely make sure to hit more of these places (I wish I found bacon-wrapped cheese yakitori, but I didn't see any).
Once we got to the nearest train station to Tobu Zoo (Tobu-Dobutsukoen), we took the bus that runs periodically between the two places and arrived at the entrance. While eating our quick lunch we mapped out our plan. We got to the park at 11:30am, we still have to visit Yomiuriland in southwest Tokyo and they’re open until 8pm so we would need to leave around 1:30pm or 2pm. That means a quick credit grab and go.
Once inside the park and walking to Regina: the park’s wooden coaster, I could say that the atmosphere of the park was kind of odd. It seemed like the park took care of the structures, and rides as they seemed to not show Six Flags level wear and tear, but they lacked on gardening and taking care of the weeds and bushes in the park. A lot of it seemed to be kind of overgrown in and around Regina.
Regina is a little far from the east entrance to the park and a tad hidden. It was built by Intamin in 2000 over a swamp and is about 120 feet tall. Regina means queen in Italian, which explains the ride’s mascot. The ride currently has one new train and a cobweb-filled old one sitting in the ride’s storage area.
Now my first lap left a lot to be desired, but this is I guess what happens when we decided to fill the row completely. Upon sitting down and pulling down the lapbar (which is a T-bar similar to Millennium Force), my knees literally were touching the front part of the car. Now, Regina isn’t exactly a smooth as silk coaster and I should’ve figured this before boarding as I spent the next two minutes getting what felt like my knees getting continuously hit with a hammer… I seriously didn’t know if I may have broken my kneecaps.
Before we got in line for Kingfisher, we took a quick bathroom break. On the way, we passed by the park’s Music Express playing one of the intro songs to the Sword Art Online anime. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but after doing a doubletake, I realized that their’s was playing J-pop music.
Kawasemi (called New Gliding Water Coaster Kingfisher according to the English map) was a top coaster for this trip. Built by Intamin, it’s layout is called a mega-lite due to the ride’s height being under 200 feet tall, but still having the same features and airtime as it’s larger cousins, it is sometimes compared to Skyrush in regards to airtime.
Let me be clear, Kingfisher is definitely worth the trip. It is jam-packed with airtime on every hill, it flows beautifully through it’s layout built over a lake, and it is very re-rideable. It’s not overly intense or gives the sense it wants to kill you like Skyrush as positive g-forces is not Kingfisher’s thing. I really don’t think they are very comparable too much as it is a ride in its own category.
Next up was a ride on that Music Express, which wasn’t a very intense one, but fun nonetheless. Sour about Regina, we went back over and re-rode it, but with myself in a row by myself. This allowed more room to allow my legs to spread out more under the lapbar and it worked perfectly. In the US, it wouldn’t be a very good coaster as it has some roughness to it that reminded me a little of Mean Streak, but by keeping my back away from the backrest, it made it a fun ride with a little airtime on the hills before entering the brakes.
With a little under an hour left, we got lunch at some type of portable small food stand in front of the park’s windmill-themed ferris wheel. I got chicken nuggets, which like chicken earlier on the trip, was kind of rubbery with fat inside, so I just mostly ate the french fries and then ate some ice cream while we walked back to the front of the park to meet up with the group.
On the way up, I checked out the gift shops to see what was inside, but it was a little disappointing as it was mostly just candy and items for the park’s zoo. Oh well. After making it back to the front of the park, we decided to go ahead, open up Google Maps, and call rest of the group to let them know our plan and meet them at Yomiuriland. Instead of taking the bus, we chose to walk to the train station, which was incredibly flat, straightforward to get to, and only about a 1/2 mile.
What we did in three hours was not even half of Tobu Zoo as past the ferris wheel is another large section of the park home to the zoo and beyond that is also a small water park. Its not a very ride-filled park, but you could spend a good 3/4th of a day doing the rides and zoo portion. I might end up doing this next time.
Do we make it or do we end up lost heading north to an abandoned nuclear power plant? Find out in the next update!
Breakfast of champions.
Welcome to the Japanese suburbs and countryside. Much flatter and slightly more unbanized than the rural area of Lancaster County back home. No Amish unfortunately.
Not bad for a train station out in the country.
Outside the station is a decently-sized transportation hub for taxis and buses.
It wasn't a very full day, but it was busier than I expected.
Upon entering the park, you're greeted by an extremely generic plaza area with a hippo statue overlooking a lake. You can also see Regina in the distance.
On the right side, you can see Kingfisher/Kawasemi peeking above the trees.
Ah, the famous Intamin Mega-Lite. Time to see what all the fuss is about.
We'll come back to this...
But first, we need to ride this thing also from Intamin. The area around the coaster lacks a lot of landscaping and almost made me feel like the park was closed for awhile.
The way Regina looks and how it rode my 2nd lap kind of remind me of Viper at SFGAm.
As for my first ride, I never felt so much pain on a ride in my life.
That's kind of a unique way to do a ride sign.
No need for the extra queueing as this was only a one train wait on the stairs to the station.
...and thanks for not shattering my kneecaps and being nicer to me later on! :P
My first ride kind of reflected the right cutout.
Their Wave Swinger has an excellent Incan/Aztec/ Legends of the Hidden Temple theme going on there.
There's three methods of transportation. One is kind of a suspended monorail ride.
Props and cutouts seem to be extremely popular and more elaborate at the Japanese parks.
At 15 minutes with one train operation, Kingfisher/Kawasemi seemed to be the busiest ride at the park.
It really might be one of the most perfect Intamins I've ridden! I really can't say anything negative about it.
Quite a bit of the coaster sits over the water.
They had a Zierer kiddie coaster, but I passed.
The second mode of transportation was a train. There's also a bus that stops at three places along the side of the park inside.
The J-Pop/Anime music-playing Music Express. It wasn't intense or fast like others I've been on, but still fun.
I dunno what this thing is (a dog?), but it's the park mascot.
One more lap on Kingfisher/Kawasemi.
Worked out on getting the 2nd to last row this time around.
The operators didn't need to push too much in order get the seats to verify. You also load and unload on the same side of the station.
Until next time...
This is about as far back as we went today, but past the ferris wheel is the zoo area.
Tobu was a lot fun, but we have a park with two Togos and an indoor spinning Gerstlauer to ride! Yomiuriland is next!
After a short morning/afternoon at Tobu Zoo, it’s back on the train and onwards to Yomiuriland. By train, the time it takes to ride the train between the two parks is about 2 hours and you kind of have to go from one side of Tokyo to the other (Tobu is north of Tokyo and Yomiuriland is southwest of Tokyo).
After taking the Nanbu Line south, we got off at Yanokuchi station where we needed to board a bus to take us to the park (there’s a train line at the gondola station leading to the park, but this station ended up being more convenient.
On Google Maps, the name of this bus line was in Japanese, so we kind of had no idea if the spot the map was showing was the right bus stop. Then out of the blue, an older local out of the blue came over and asked us in perfect English, “can I help you try to find something?” Part of me was a little surprised, but knowing that English is a common business language just about anywhere these days, it was kind of understanding. You don’t see this type of kindness in the US often.
After riding the bus line a couple of stops, it took us to the train station near the gondola station, but since it was closed because of the wind, we opted to take the bus up the massive and winding hill (we’ll come back to this) to the bus stop at the onsen next to the park.
Yomiuriland opened for business in 1964 and is still owned today by the Yomiuri Land Co. Ltd., which owns many leisure businesses in the area such as auto race tracks, horse tracks, and driving ranges in the area. They’ve added Bandit (a huge Togo coaster) in 1988 and the Spin Runway coaster in 2016.
Admission into Yomiuriland can be granted with either an Unlimited Free Pass (includes admission into the park and all rides) or Chick Pass (includes admission into the park and most family or kids rides). If you have a chick pass, you can buy ride tickets for the exempt rides. They also have a cheaper evening pass of the same levels for entry after 4pm.
Once inside the park entrance, we walked over to Spin Runway and saw the line was about 45 minutes and decided to come back to it a little later. Down the hill a little ways was Bandit, which had a 45 minute posted wait as well, but we decided to jump in line for this one. After waiting 30 minutes for a one train wait, we were seated in the small Togo trains and ready to ride.
For about 85% of the ride, it was very smooth, fast, and enjoyable but that completely changes on the 2nd-to-last turn on the ride where the train decides that it wants to try it’s hardest to throw you off. Combine that with the small part of seat that should rest between your legs, but due to the seat being so small that you nearly sit on top of it and…. yeah… Ouch. Believe it or not, it still exceeded my expectations! When we got off of Bandit, the rest of the group caught up to us (after getting off the bus at the stop at the bottom of the hill and walking up the hill to the park) and I bought a bubble drink that was banana milk with coffee-flavored bubbles, which was really good. They had to have at least 30 or 40 different flavors.
While waiting for the rest of the group to get their ride on Bandit, I went over to the gift shop to take a look around. Like other parks in Japan, at least half of the merchandise were boxes of candy, but a good portion of the other stuff were Studio Ghibli merchandise along with some items with Land Dog (the park’s creepy dog mascot) on it. I ended up buying a print from Spirited Away and a plush Land Dog to go along with my plush Joypolis Lopit mascot.
Up on the main midway was a cycle rail ride where you pedal along a track that we decided to try since it looked unique. Turns out the ride featured some hills, a lift hill, and some block brake sections. It was very fun!
Further up the midway was the MOMOnGA Loop Coaster with a unique station where you can choose either to ride in a sitting coaster train or a standing coaster train. We opted to do sitting first as it looked like the standing side was closed. Sitting towards the middle of the train, it turned out to be a pretty mild coaster with just a basic loop and helix with a turn into the brakes. Pretty harmless and with other people getting off, they walked out the exit… and right up the hidden entrance in the back of the ride to go up to the standing side. This side turned out to be even better (holy crap, did I just say that about a standing Togo coaster???) and it really didn’t do anything to try to kill you like Shockwave at KD used to try to do.
Making our way back, he opted to go up and tackle Spin Runway, which was clocking in at a 30 minute wait at the moment. The story behind the ride (or what I could at least make of it) is that you enter a clothing factory and you have to help Land Dog make some type of clothing (supposedly it is supposed to be similar to Gekon, but I really don’t remember seeing a button or anything in the ride vehicle to make the lift hill interactive.
While Spin Runway was a unique coaster with a cool ride experience and cool spiral lift hill, it really had to be the weakest Gerstlauer spinning coaster I’ve been on. It really might’ve been the fact that we had 4 Westerners in one vehicle evenly balanced. On a sidenote, the loading station was pretty cool with fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo system where you put stuff in on the loading platform on one side of a wall, then retrieve them on the unloading platform on the other side of the wall through the same fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo cubby.
With only about 45 minutes left, we considered visiting the UFO raft ride, but we discovered the line was exactly 45 minutes with a slow moving line, so we decided to go back to chance another ride on Bandit. To finish the night we ended up on Wan Wan Coaster Bandit; one of the few kiddie coasters I rode the entire trip.
Upon leaving the park we boarded the bus to take us to the train station at the bottom of the hill and took a few trains back to Tokyo (be advised, this park is pretty far out there and can take as long as Tobu Zoo to get to). Upon getting back, I stopped at McDonalds in Ginza and took a little look around the fanciest part of Tokyo.
Next park on deck is one that I’ve always looked forward to visiting and now posting: Fuji-Q-Highland!
Home has followed me here. Kind of odd that its ice cream. It tasted really good though.
Even this town has a cute mascot!
After a ride up the hill, we made it to Yomiuriland. The park has a parking lot and garage, but it looks like most visitors get here by the bus/train.
Bandit: the inspriation for Magnum XL 200 at Cedar Point. Kind of glad they went with Arrow instead of Togo.
Giant Ferris Wheel: check.
Yomiuriland is up in the hills in suburban southwestern Tokyo. The view is incredible at night.
A Great Job isn't deserving of it's own attractions; only a Good Job is. :P
A raft ride themed to ramen noodles and UFOs... I feel a roulette wheel might've been involved in the planning of that one.
The car factory ride is something I would've loved to try! You basically build your own ride vehicle and drive it around a track!
The concept to Spin Runway was pretty cool and the queue was pretty much on the same level as Disney!
Yomiuriland kind of reminded me of another park I've been to.
I must have been thinking of Hersheypark as it was very hilly kind of like the area around Trailblazer.
Spin Runway is the first ride you encounter inside the entrance. We'll come back to it.
I am willing to bet that the large tree is a Christmas tree in the winter.
Bandit was running one train the whole visit.
The Skyride was closed because of wind.
Go Go Bandit! :P
The ride makes great use of the terrain.
Overall, this place has to be one of the most picturesque parks I've ever seen.
Most parks have this many lights in their whole park for Christmas. This park has this only for one ride. Christmas must be insane at this park!
One of those "never in America" rides that you can pedal yourself.
Hello creepy Land Dog.
Enough of Bandit. Time to check out the other Togo.
From MOMOnGA's station you get a beautiful view of the park and Tokyo.
The park also has a water park section. The day we visited ended up being the last day of the season for it.
Oh good, the stand up side is open.
It really had to be one of the smoothest Togos I've been on. It really doesn't have a chance to do any bad transitions as all it has is a drop, loop, helix, and brake run.
Choose your poison. Feeling Lucky?
MOMOnGA translates to Flying Squirell from what I've heard.
The have a cool streaking light effect on Bandit's lift hill.
Land Dog is looking a little festive.
Once the night time show they had ended, just about everyone headed for the exit.
Holloween is a relatively new holiday to Japan introduced from the US. They haven't gone into the Trick of Treating aspects, but they love to use it as an excuse to dress up and celebrate getting scared.
Tokyo Disneyland could be credited as the first one to intriduce it, but you are starting to see it trickle down to the other parks in the country. Just about every park we've visited had many people cosplaying and they weren't some simple $10 Party City costumes: they were some extremely detailed handmade ones!
The park has emptied out considerably later on.
Time to ride Spin Runway!
It doesn't have a huge loading area, but they did a good job with the details!
We were going to ride it, but decided to do Bandit one more time.
Next time I come back I plan to spend more time at this park. It's not a full day park, but there was quite a bit to do that you could easily spend a good 5 or 6 hours here.
Not only that, but the park overall was kind of relaxing.
What happens if you take a bunch of the most intense coaster layouts out there and build them in one park without the regards to capacity in question? You get Fuji-Q-Highland, which is notorious for having some of the longest wait times out there where it is not uncommon to have a wait time for a ride to be upwards of 3 hours.
Going into this place, I kind of expected that there would be a good chance that we wouldn’t get on every ride in the park (and I think this reassurance kind of made me not have a terrible day here). I have been wanting to visit this park for many years and always wondered why from an operations standpoint on why this park is the way it is. During this visit, I feel I got a lot of my questions answered.
To get to Fuji-Q-Highland, you have to take the Chuo Line ( I think we took the Express train?) from Shinjuku to Otsuki, then take the Fujikyu Line to the Fuji-Q-Highland station (Japan Rail Pass doesn’t work on this line, so you’ll have to either have to buy a ticket or use your PASMO card (a universal card you can put money on it to pay for train fare, pay for meals at restaurants, or buy stuff in shops).
Fuji-Q-Highland (also goes by Fujikyu Highland) opened in 1968 by Fuji Kyuko Co. Ltd. This company owns the train line you take to get to the park, the bus line with the same purpose, several hotels, transportation options, and resorts surrounding Mt. Fuji, Grinpa (a small amusement park on the other side of Mt. Fuji). The park started out with a basic looping coaster and eventually developed one of the most unique coaster collections in Japan with the focus on breaking World records.
The park , like others in the country, has two options on admission: buy at ticket that includes admission and unlimited rides at ¥5700 (about $50.45) or buy a ticket to enter the park at ¥1500 (about $13.28) and buy individual ride tickets at ¥1000 a piece for the major coasters. If the park is busy, the 2nd option is the best way to go. They also have fast passes you can purchase at the booth at the center of the park near the carousel (get there as soon as the park opens and go straight there or they will be gone!).
After riding the train up through the Japan countryside through the numerous small towns and villages and being filmed by a tv crew who seemed to be documenting the travels of some hiker, we saw the tall snow-barren peak of Mt. Fuji and eventually the ominous lift hill of Eejanaika. The park entrance ended up being right at the train station and while tickets were being purchased, we took in the view of multi-dimension coaster sitting next to the park entrance.
We were then informed that the park was at capacity and that it was highly recommended by the ticketing agent to NOT get the unlimited free pass and just get the park admission and pay per ride… the ride up on the train was pretty empty and it didn’t seem too full at the entrance…really?
At this point, we immediately headed straight to the fast pass building, but since it was 10:30am, it was kind of late… oh well. At this point I picked the top three rides I wanted to ride: Takabisha, Do-Dodonpa, and Eejanaika and the group of us hit the restroom and started out in line for Takabisha.
Outside the line for Takabisha was a sign with a wait time in the triple digits (170 minutes! That’s just about 3 hours!) and the queue was 2/3rds full. With earbuds and battery packs aplenty and charged for my phone, we began our wait. Two hours in, the queue entered the building and started up the ramp to the station. Interestingly, if you were in the first part of the queue, line jumping IS allowed, but only if one person stays in line to hold the spot! I guess it makes sense if you wait in line for much of the day, you need to have something in place to allow people to take a bathroom break or get something to eat and then re-join the line later with the group.
Now that we are in the station about an hour later, I got to see how Fuji-Q’s ride operators run their ride and what I found out kind of surprised me… they seemed to be doing a good job keeping the ride going, but it’s the ride’s capacity and boarding policies that seem to slow everything down. You can only have so many people on the platform at a time and you have to have guests put everything in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo on the platform, take a key, then meet back and be told which row to go in, you board, ride, then unload at a separate unloading spot closer to the fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo, get your stuff while people are putting items in, and then exit. In short it’s a similar policy to the other Japanese parks that we’ve visited so far (which have been for smaller parks), but put in place on a coaster with smaller capacity in a larger park.
If fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo were placed outside the queue entrance next to the launch tunnel, that 3 hour line could have been cut down to 1 1/2. I can’t really blame the crews as they seemed to be moving people through as fast as they could under the system they have. It sounds like the issue is something higher up whether it is with the company or if it is a policy put in place by the country.
As for the ride experience itself, Takabisha really met my expectations as it provided to be a very aerobatic coaster with a forceful launch, crazy inversions (that banana roll!), and an awesome holding brake and beyond vertical drop. Interestingly enough, that 121 degree drop felt no different than Fahrenheit’s 97 degree drop as you got some airtime from it. Throw in the fact that you can have two ride vehicles duel each other through the layout and you have a good solid coaster!
Also a plus is that a clone of this exact coaster is going to be built 3 hours from home by 2019 with a steeper drop and a separate spinning coaster webbing itself through it!
Upon getting off Takabisha the group kind of broke up and did their own things. Some decided to walk around the park for the rest of the time we were there, some got beer, some tried to do as many coasters as possible by doing the smaller ones with shorter waits, but I decided to get something quick to eat and get right in line for the next coaster.
In the food area behind the Wild Mouse, I figured I’d get a hot dog, then get in line and eat while I’m waiting for my next coaster. Some of the lines for the stands snaked through the mostly blacktop food court making the super long queues for the coasters. Halfway through the queue for food, I realized something…I saw a sign at the stand saying I needed to buy tickets for the food BEFORE getting in line for the food! I was about ready screw this park, but after reading how most small restaurants around Tokyo use this system at their restaurants, I figure it must be a “When in Rome” kind of thing and shrugged it off. I lost 15 minutes waiting in the original line, but I went over, waited in that line, and got back in the original line I was in.
The park closes at 7pm and it was 1:30PM and it looked like if I hit the queue hard for the last part of the day, I could reach my goal. Next up I headed over to Eejanaika, purchased some ice cream and hunkered down for the all so short walk-on wait of 240 minutes…. 4 hours….
5 minutes in, I started reflecting on my travels earlier in the year where I headed out to Six Flags Magic Mountain and experienced the awesome ride on X2 I had and only waited about 15 minutes. Then I thought about Do-Dodonpa being one of the only ride types of it’s kind, left in the World and I would have an easier chance of returning to SFMM… so why was I about to wait 4 hours for something I have already experienced where Do-Dodonpa is more unique? I left the line and went over to the other side of the park and got in line for the 180 minute (3 hour) wait that had over half of the lower queue filled. With the long wait time it provided enough to pause and observe how the crowds behave at this park and why many sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp seem to rate this park high. About 30 minutes later I was about one or two switchbacks in with 2 or 3 more to go and the line suddenly grew almost through the full queue area, which I thought was odd, but the answer would come an hour later.
Most guests in line seemed to be content with the wait as most were talking with each other, and some were snacking on food items that they picked up while a group member remained in line for them. Others were playing games on their phone or listening to music (which is what I did along with take photos). If someone went to an amusement park in the US that had 3 hour waits for every ride in the park on a moderately busy day, I’m sure most people would be heading straight to the nearest Guest Services building, but I think a lot has to do with the culture of being patient and the idea of collectivism.
Another thing interesting to note as it seems like the guests seemed to be content with the idea that when they visit the park that they know that they won’t get on every ride during their visit.
At around 3:30pm as I just about finished the switchbacks and entered the stretch that leads to the ramp, I saw a ride attendant come down from the station to the queue entrance. He then removed to wait time sign and replaced it with a sign saying the queue was closed and stood guard at the entrance not letting anyone else enter…. the park closes in 3 1/2 hours!
At the top of the ramp, the queue immediately entered the loading station for Do-Dodonpa…it had to be the best station I’ve seen with a kickass animation of coaster trains on a huge projection wall, black and blue motion lights and a very catchy soundtrack! It really got you in the mood that you were about to ride one of the fastest accelerating coasters in the World and my palms were getting sweaty.
After removing everything and throwing it in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo (for good measure on this occasion!), I boarded the steak looking blue train in the back row, fastened my seatbelt and pulled down my S&S Free Fly-type restraint down. The train dispatches, turns a corner and you now sit in a metal tunnel for a few seconds. Next spotlights turn on and you hear, “Launch Time! Three! Two! One! Do-Dodonpa!!!!”
Ho-ly-CRAP!!!! You are pressed against the back of your seat as you thrust up to 111 MPH in a matter of 1.5 seconds and its at this point I realized that I was screaming! I have NEVER screamed on a coaster before! You speed through a 2nd shorter tunnel was a crapload of lights creating a great chaser effect and around a large turnaround. With the ride having tires for wheels, the train does a lot of shaking like its about ready to fall apart!
Still screaming, the train rises up into the newest section replacing the top hat: the loop. While you do get a tad bit of hangtime, it’s nothing like YOLOcoaster at SFMM and they even have a fire effect as well! The train then goes through another tunnel, around the turn and makes its way back to the station. I got off the coaster speechless and wondering what the hell just happened! At 3 hours and 15 minutes, it had to be the longest coaster I’ve waited in line for and was worth it!
With about two more hours left before the park officially closes, I went around and got some more photos of Takabisha, and get something called tornado fries, which is a seasoned and peeled potato on a stick, and find the rest of the group. In the mean time I was going to try out Tentekomai (the Gerstlauer flat ride), but decided against it with the wait being around 40 minutes. Instead I bought a crepe from the food court and pulled up a bench near the Carousel while the rest of the group came back.
With one hour left until the park closes, and since the queues for the coasters closed early, the flat rides now had massive queues with PanicClock (the Zamerla Hawk) having a 1 hour wait. We decided to bail, check out the gift shop before we left and take the train back down to Tokyo.
Inside the gift shop like other parks in Japan you found snacks and cookies, but surprisingly they also had T-shirts and sweatshirts. I ended up buying a Fuji-Q sweatshirt for around 4000 yen.
To conclude, I kind of expected that this park was potentially going to be a crap-chute and that I likely wasn’t going to get on every coaster in the park and see everything (I never even made it over to Evangallion World or the Haunted Hospital area). This park could have better policies to make queues move much more smoothly when it comes to fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo locations and loading procedures, but when you remove those factors, it wasn’t the worst park I’ve been to interestingly! If the guests didn’t have the patience for the queues and were miserable and if the staff were unfriendly, then that would be a different story, but I would much rather come here than Six Flags America or Six Flags Over Texas.
When I come back I actually wouldn’t mind planing on doing two days at the park and make sure to get there as early as possible for the fast passes. I think the reason behind Fuji-Q’s popularity and crowds has a lot to do with the park being right next-door to Mount Fuji, which is considered a big vacation spot for the country and the park featuring several record-breaking and the most unique coasters in Japan.
Will I be back? Yes and I plan to bring a few more battery packs for my phone with me and maybe a mobile wifi device (the park had free wifi, but with everyone in the queues using it at the same time, I couldn’t get connected! :P)
Next we kick it up a notch and board the Shinkansen and head south to Nagoya to Japan’s Coaster Capital! Nagashima Spa Land is next!
To start the journey to Fuji-Q, you have to take an express train out into the middle of nowhere beyond Tokyo into the countryside.
Occasionally you would pass through a small town here and there, but it is pretty much just mountains and valleys.
Inside those valleys were fields and rice pattys I guess.
Once we made it to Otsuki station, we could tell we were getting close.
The next level of fast food.
On the Fujikyu Line, the view were more fields, mountains and a town here and there.
I wouldn't mind staying at an Inn or hotel the next time I come out to this area.
These mountains are incredibly jagged.
This camera crew seemed to have been waiting for this woman who was on our train. As soon as she got off the train, they started following her around. They even did a re-take with her leaving the train.
Mount Fuji: looks like we are getting close.
The park has its own train station, which makes it convenient.
Well this is kind of Deja Vu, I swear I just rode that at another park. :P
I really wanted to ride Eejanaika just to say I rode two S&S Multi Dimension coasters in one year, but we'll come back to that.
I don't know if I like the black color. I kind of liked the bright red paintjob it used to have for the track.
Once you enter the park, it didn't look too busy. They had an S&S tower (closed), a family suspended coaster (the Hamtaro theme is gone along with the swinging ship that was in front of it).
How did Tidal Force get here? :)
Evangallion The Attraction at Fuji-Q: You Can (Not) Have Good Capacity Rides. (Sounds like it would be a good movie title for the series. :P)
Looks like they can't hang Christmas lights for crap.
Umm....Ok.... looks like we will be doing Takabisha first at 170 minutes.
Good thing I brought several full battery packs for my phone. They came in VERY handy this day!
Also while in line, why not stand and snap some shots of the coasters?
Fujiyama had the shorter wait of the coasters at 2 hours. I passed on it as I really didn't want to wait that long and have the coaster possibly be bad when I could ride the more noteworthy coasters there and wait an extra hour for them.
Takabisha does things that I have never seen before on a coaster. I really enjoyed the layout as it also allowed two cars to almost kind of duel itself.
Takabisha means "high-handed/ domineering in Japanese. A perfect name for this coaster.
An indoor park in New Jersey is opening an almost exact clone of this coaster and as an added bonus it will have a drop 1 degree steeper and weave around a 2nd coaster!
So at Fuji-Q, line jumping is permitted up to a certain point in line.
97 degrees or 121 degrees, it really feels kind of the same a little.
It looks like they used NoLimits for the queue video.
The ride photo on Takabisha is right at the top of the lift hill on the holding brake. An excellent spot for it. lol
I did buy one or two items from the gift shop though.
Fuji-Q also had an Attack on Tita promotion going on inside their Soarin' style attraction.
After a bite to eat, let's see the wait time for Eejanaika.
I think they can change the Dodonpa sign. lol
HELL NO!!! 4 HOURS!?
The ferris wheel was closed for refurbishment.
That's a tad better. Might as well make this my 2nd and final ride of the day.
They were running two trains, but they did have a third on the transfer.
More nice views of Fujiyama.
And with being in line for so long it isn't hard to get good shots like these.
You also have a great view of Takabisha.
I wanted to ride this, but time was against me.
In other words, if you are breathing, you can't ride.
I think the coaster trains might be named.
Another money shot!
This coaster seriously takes your breath away. The launch is stronger than Kingda Ka!
Yep. That's 3 hours worth of a 3 1/2 hour queue at Fuji-Q. Make sure you have your phone and multiple battery chargers handy!
I seriously LOVE this station! I love the animation they have playing on the screen behind the platform!
Most High-Speed Coaster: DDNP
After my breathtaking ride, the coasters have already shuttered their queues and the midways were starting to get busier.
They leave their Christmas decorations up year-round. lol
The park may suck when it comes to high capacity rides, but it makes up for it with views, food, the staff, and the behavior of the other guests.
I honestly next time plan to give this park two days to visit just to ride what I didn't do and re-do what I did. I also would try to get to the park before opening just to get the fast passes. Once the lines for the coasters closed, the lines for the flat rides increased tremendously up into the 1 hour range! I've never seen this before at a park.
On the way back to the hotel I stopped in Ginza for dinner... from McDonalds. Next up is Nagashima Spa Land!
Fuji-Q's definitely a park you really need to plan everything out ahead of time: the day you visit, how you get out there, how early you think you need to arrive, etc. Going on a slower day and/or getting a good pick of the Zekkyo (Fastpass) tickets really makes a huge difference. Good to see you still had a good time regardless.
Ccron10 wrote:Outside the line for Takabisha was a sign with a wait time in the triple digits (170 minutes! That’s just about 3 hours!) and the queue was 2/3rds full. With earbuds and battery packs aplenty and charged for my phone, we began our wait. Two hours in, the queue entered the building and started up the ramp to the station. Interestingly, if you were in the first part of the queue, line jumping IS allowed, but only if one person stays in line to hold the spot! I guess it makes sense if you wait in line for much of the day, you need to have something in place to allow people to take a bathroom break or get something to eat and then re-join the line later with the group.
Yea... no, I really don't agree. You can grab food or do the bathroom between rides or plan ahead like every other park. I've spent 7 years in a country where even though there are signs everywhere saying no queue-jumping, people are constantly allowed by ops to have lots of fathers on their own hold a place and then have 2 kids, a wife, and grandparents constantly pushing past me or getting rope dropped into the line. If a line is 2 hours, I really don't think its right that 80% of the group aren't there for a good portion of the line. It makes the outdoor theme-less pens lines slow to a crawl as well.
If you do ever go back from Tokyo, I'd highly recommend the bus deal of ticket+bus combo online. It dropped me at the park before opening. I also tend to grab a ride on one of the big coasters before hitting the fast pass booth. Sometimes they're already gone anyways for more popular rides so I risk grabbing that ride at opening. Last few times I went the original Dodonpa opened later than the other big coasters so I waited the 30 minutes there while people darted to other open rides and was rewarded with only a 30 minute wait. This was on an "empty" day when all the flats where walk-on, lines never got higher than 60 mins for Fujiyama and Eejanaka, 90 mins for Takabisha and Dodonpa still hit 3 hour lines all day.
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