I was able to spend an afternoon/evening in the far west side of Kyoto in the Arashiyama area. You can find a ton of monkeys at the Arashiyama Monkey Park. It is basically a mountain that you climb that has a bunch of monkeys at the top. You do get a nice view of Kyoto. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is nearby as well and worth the visit. Thanks for your photos.
I really like the way you are reviewing Japan, because it's not just about the parks but also about the cities.
As for Kyoto, I much prefer it to Tokyo as it is busy, but still manageable, and has plenty of traditional shrines. I also did the Fushimi Inari tori trail but it was mid-summer and it was exhausting and had me completely dehydrated! I also agree that Arashiyama is a nice area to visit while in Kyoto: I visited the bamboo forest and got to experience hot springs (I seemed to be the only foreigner venturing them lol). If you are into railways, Kyoto had a very large and interactive railway museum some 20 minutes away from the main station.
Regarding Nagashima Spaland, I completely agree: FujiQ exceeded my expectations too and Nagashima just met them. The park was nice but a bit too bland, perhaps. Operations were much better at FujiQ than Nagashima in my case. As for Arashi, it was completely insane. I had been on Joker at SFGAdv but nothing could prepare me for the sheer madness Arashi was. It was like being on a top spin on an insane German-run cycle on wheels. In my case, they did something really weird: they were running 3 trains BUT only loading one side (so they still had a ride op checking empty restraints on a side which was roped off to the public), just to make the line for Arashi appear longer than it was, thus fostering FP sales...
Thanks for your pictures and detailed descriptions!
I was in Japan over Christmas just now, and yeah I was quite surprised too that Fuji Q was better than expected and Nagashima seemed worse in terms of operations.
When I arrived at Fuji Q, the park was under a blanket of snow, and coasters didn’t start opening till 1pm (Though sadly Eejanaika never opened, I got a couple of laps on the rest, plus the minor rides like Fuji Airways, the Naruto dark ride, the hospital, Duncan, the Thomas treasure hunt, rapids etc) But I was impressed how hard they worked to clear snow from the tracks and get rides testing.
At Nagashima, I barely got 1 lap on each coaster (Except Ultra twister because it was closed), and that was relying on express passes, because of silliness like only running 1 side of Arashi (so 4 seats per dispatch!), 1 train/station on Acrobat etc.
The park closed 5:30 but queues shut for SD2000 and Hakugei before 4, so frustratingly only 1 go on each….I sprinted to Acrobat and got a 2nd lap on that at least, using an express pass just before they closed the queue for that one too.
On the other coasters, ops were slow, eg on the Corkscrew, the op would get in a couple of people, they’d deposit their items, take their seats, then the next couple of people would follow and so on. So what looked like a 10 min wait ended up being 30.
The park, was alright, tidy and good rides, but the staff seemed lethargic.
Surpisingly, outside of Disney and Universal, I thought the quickest and most courteous ops were at Legoland Japan!
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