This is addressed mostly to Nasai and Peobody. Its also addressed to anyone else who has graced these parks from Japan.
We have heard about the coasters and how great they are. (Well, most anyway). I would like to know how the rest of the park experience is.
Basically, I would like to know how the rest of the layout is. Do they charge for parking? Are the big parks only charging one price for admission? Do they have an entrance piece that is impressive? How are the games where you win prizes? How are the midways situated? How are flat rides?
Do they have their own style of amusement park or do they take on the American custom?
Thanks in advance for your answers.
2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity.
*** This post was edited by Chitown on 12/1/2002. ***
WHAT?!?! Are You talking to me!
I wish many american parks would come take a look at some Japanese parks, because they felt like (to borrow an old term) "pleasure resorts" rather than corporate monsters out to get every last dollar out of you.
I visited, Nagashima Spaland, Fukikyu Highland, Korakuen, and Disneyland. (not to bad for a trip unrelated to coasters!)
Disneyland: Put the American parks to SHAME! Walt would be much more happy with these parks than any of the American parks. The rides, decor, upkeep, staff, and everything else exceeded the American parks at their best. It was very apparent that the Oriental Land Co. spared no expense on any aspect of the resort, and the mind-blowing business and attendence at these parks no doubt reflected that. (Compare that to DCA - sometimes called "The park Walt wouldn't have wanted" and "The park that budget cuts built" and it's terrible attendence) Walt's vision of Disneyland is alive, but it's in Tokyo!
Korakuen - Small, high energy park tucked into downtown Tokyo. It was a great park, but I only spent an hour, so I didn't get to enjoy it. When I visited I started to get a taste of what I saw in the bigger parks - many attractions for every age. As opposed to American parks that seem to have big thrill rides and kid rides, these parks had many attractions for every age and taste - lots of rides and attractions for the adult who doesn't do thrill rides. These kind of attractions are lacking in many parks here.
Fujikyu Highland -
Clean, clean, clean, friendly, clean, and friendly! :) Top notch attractions amidst mind-blowingly beautiful grounds. In addition to the big coasters, and awesome kiddie land (themed to Thomas the Tank Engine) there were one of a kind high-budget walk through attractions like nothing you would find in America. Their star one was a big Hospital building. You are let in two at a time and have to find your way through this abandoned, haunted hostpital with nothing but a flashlight. It was FREAKY!!!! You had to crawl under, over, around, and through things (and monsters!), and there was no boundries like any kind of walk-through in America. (There is basically no crime or vandalism in the country!) As a result, you are truely fully immersed. It took the two of us 20 minutes to make our way through this hospital!
There was another walk though where you had to solve a puzzle/mystery in an abandoned missle silo! It was SO much fun - you run around feeling like James Bond. It felt like being in a video game!
Nagahima Spaland - Truely Japan's version of Cedar Point. It was cleaner and more friendly than anyone could imagine. Rides were in top notch shape too. Not as many unique attractions as Fujikyu, but stunning, nonetheless. Their water park was also on a scale of mega-park too. It seemed bigger than any one I had seen here in the states. Oh.....the food was amazing at these places too!
I have to run...sorry for the hurried nature of this, but I'll be happy to answer any questions....I'm sure Rob (Nasai) will chime in too! :)
If I were going to Japan on a 2 week trip what parks would you recommend visiting?
Jeez... where to start? (hey, Chris Miesen, you can add your comments too!) :) Peabody hit it really well, but I will try to expound on my own thoughts, and experiences.
My experiences started a while back when I was still dating my (soon to be wife) Japanese girlfriend, and I would take trips to visit. I have never lived there, regardless of my screenname;), so I don't necessarily have life long experiences there, but the ones I do have are certainly permanently ingrained!
Fujikyu - A brilliant place, with world class rides, cleanliness, flats, food, and people. The ops, food service, etc. are just exceptional with a perfect smile, and cohesive look all around. The thing you will always notice are pressed, perfect uniforms. These people dress for success, no matter what the job, and they live their jobs, as well. You will never see an op, or any service personnel argue with a patron of the park, nor any superior. Japan, as you can imagine, prides itself on their work ethic. Simply amazing.... We could certainly learn something from them in this department. Cleanliness of the parks are beyond superb.... I don't think I EVER noticed a piece of trash floating around the park(s). In fact, I did see people go amazingly out of their way to deposit trash instead of leaving it at the tables. Again, the Japanese pride shines through. Peabody told you about the rides, etc. during his trip, but he didn't talk about Moonsault Scramble. I did have the chance to ride it before it was removed, and I can say that it was a mind blowing experience. A tad rough through the inversions, yes, but the fact that you started the ride backwards was simply insane. Add to that a (approx) 200ft drop to start, a slam into the inversions (yes, it was taken a little too fast for my taste), and then a nice floaty ride to the top of the spike, where you can finally see Mt Fuji in all it's glory. What a treat, and so surreal. Great stuff, that Moonsault Scramble.... I hate to see it gone, but I am looking forward to the day when I hit Dodonpa. I hear it is THAT good!
Nara Dreamland - They have a Cyclone clone, but the reason you go to Nara isn't for the thrills... It's for the beauty. Simply put the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Imagine the cleanest thrill park in the world with live animals running around all over the place. I used the word surreal in my description of Mt. Fuji. The word is better used here. I have never seen so many deer in my life in one setting. Stunning. Out of this world. All the animals are tame (basically, used to a bazillion people around them), and eat out of your hand. Getting there is a bit difficult, as it's off the beaten path....then again most parks seem to be, but the drive is wonderful, having to avoid various fauna as you weave up the road to the park. I think the last few kilometers took about an hour, due to all the deer. Weird.:) Flowers everywhere, by the way.
Expoland - It is much more open than the other parks... it is the closest, in my opinion, to the feel of an American park. Very typical for the most part, and the rides are much less than outstanding, although it does house the superb Orochi, the Raptor clone. I actually prefer this ride to the original.... mostly due to the fact that I have ridden it a LOT more than Raptor. It sweeps over a large wading pool/childrens area. The photo ops are amazing! Daidarasaurus is an incredibly long coaster that once was a dueling ride. It was converted in 1999 to a morpheus coaster, and it takes forever! So long, it's bad...:( It also carries the honor (I guarantee) of being the loudest coaster in the world. You can hear it from the expressway while driving on it. Serious. Fujin Raijin II is the most violent coaster in existence....Yes, it's a TOGO, but it didn't used to be such a horrible thing. In 1998, it was quite outstanding, and very re-rideable, but not anymore. Run away....!!!! The only reason you need to visit this park is for the credits, Orochi (it is that good), and the infamous -37 degree room. Truly the weirdest thing I have ever seen. You won't want to go in during any other season besides summer, but you need to see this place. You walk in to this mostrous industrial freezer that has been fashioned into a maze (!) with various frozen animals laid in your pathway. I am not kidding. After a few moments, the coldness really sets in and you find yourself almost crying to get out of the place. Almost terrifying, as you race your way through, mostly due to all the ice on the floor, and stairs. I swear there must not be a form of OSHA in Japan! This attraction would never find it's way here to the states. That said, it is one of a kind, and worth every painful, cold, dangerous moment.
Portopialand - This park sits on a dock in Osaka Harbor in the city of Kobe. It has a few Schwartzopf coasters, which makes it just dandy in my book. What really sets it apart, again, is the cleanliness. Well... that, and the tram ride to get down there. Just cool as heck! They also have a skycoaster right over the entrance, and was my first one. Great food at this park really sets it apart. It seems like every corner you turn around, someone is selling Takoyaki. YUM!
Nagashima Spaland - My favorite, admittedly due to the enormous coasters that stand guard at this park, but also for the immaculate waterpark, which is the largest I have ever attended. The waterpark uses salt water only, which was a new one for me. Granted, I never go to waterparks, so I don't know if this is standard, but I thought it was cool, and weird. Great speed slides, and a children's area that was just insane. All these massive bowls slowly filling, and kersplash! Wet. wet. wet. It doesn't hurt that everywhere you turned, gorgeous Japanese women are running around in bathing suits! Very cool!;) Peabody didn't mention it, but if you go to www.coastergallery.com , he has some great pics of their swinging ships. Mindblowingly large, they get air you can't possibly imagine. Really. Coasters do tend to be moderately themed here, but they are all such good rides. Even their pipeline coaster is amazing, with a walkon line, and a vertical climb to the summit. Great stuff, there. This park is quite spread out, as it is rather large, and I never saw a hint of trash anywhere. It is also out on a peninsula, so getting to it takes a little bit of research, but worth it.
Yomiuriland - Fun place. Wouldn't want to live near it! Coasters aren't really world class, but are fun. Bandit is a hoot! Did you hit this one, Peabody??? Big drops... It was the Apollo's Chariot of its day. Very cool! White Canyon is downright typical. Fun, but I just didn't get it. Certainly not White Cyclone, let me tell you! I guess I am not a RCCA kind of guy? A decent park.. clean, and right in the city. That is the one thing you always notice first... cleanliness. It abounds!
The one thing you need to know about attending all parks in Japan is to bring cash (yen). You will not do well without it, as there are never any compatible Visa/MC machines around. I was actually stranded at Nagashima in the summer of 2001, but fortunately, I met some students who took pity on us, and bought us a bus ticket back to Nagoya, where I promptly returned the favor and bought them dinner. When in Nagoya, do what it takes to find a good (hopefully recommended) Misokatsu shop. My Lord! The only thing better in this world might be some really fine Otoro. Outside of that, Misokatsu (done right) is pure eating bliss.
Chitown, you asked about parking, etc. Most people, as you can imagine, don't drive in Japan. The public transportation is mind boggling, so getting around is fine. The costs of entering the parks are also negligible. I never saw anything over priced, from food to entry to any attraction. The also don't slam you on upcharge attractions. Yes, they are more, but not that much more. It was $20 for my wife and I to ride the skycoaster. Parks also offer the option of a wristband, or pay as you play. I suggest the wristband everywhere, except Nara. Make a friend who can translate for you, and you are set. Even if you don't, the Japanese are extremely humble, and will not mock you. I would, however, suggest you learn the phrases for "where is the toilet?" :)
If you want to know more, e-mail me. I am out of here!
Now you know about Japan.... learn about me!
www.tripowered.com - The future of music.
Sorry Rob, I guess I should have thanked you and Peabody since I started this topic. :)
It sounds like the Japanese parks are run very efficiently.
2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity. :)
Yes, they certainly are run with typical Japanese efficiency. The parks are clean, completely original in design (ask Peabody about Disney Sea!), and just an utter blast. I have never seen ride ops rubbing the rails down on a coaster before (immediately following a torrential downpour) to get it back into service, but I saw it on SD2K. People were running everywhere. The other really cool thing is the parks never have huge lines, because most Japanese poeple aren't enthusiasts. The queues are never clogged! :):) Here you have this huge park, with all these one of a kind rides, and nobody there... Not in the middle of summer, not in the spring... NEVER!
One final suggestion. If you get the opportunity to go to Japan, try and go in the early spring... Late March, early April. You will be glad you did, as the heat hasn't arrived yet, but the cherry blossoms will be out in droves. Gorgeous!
All's safe on the firing line!
Make a friend who can translate for you, and you are set. Even if you don't, the Japanese are extremely humble, and will not mock you. I would, however, suggest you learn the phrases for "where is the toilet?"
What???? Cant I just go up to an employee and grab my crotch with my legs moving feverishly and a look of desparation on my face?? Wont they get the hint??? :):)
2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity. :)
Since Peabody and Nasai summed up everything really well, I'll just point to some of my pictures I finally uploaded.
I also went to Nagashima Spa Land, but it will be a while before I get those up.
And by the way, guess what I'm drinking as I type this....Calpico Water! Yum! :)
Not Calpis, Lewis??? For shame;)
One more thing... when using the restroom, make sure you close the door after you leave the room. It is incredibly bad in the taste department to leave it open. I learned the bad way. Peabody is right, though. I just sat there and marvelled at the gadgets. In fact, I made two trips to a certain restaurant's room simply because the toilet was a new top of the line model. SWEET!
www.tripowered.com - The dance of life
You must be logged in to post