September 13, 2017
Yahatahigashi-ku, Kitakyūshū, Japan
Isaac & I woke up super early again on Tuesday morning, but this time we skipped breakfast at the hotel as they didn’t start serving for another hour or 2 and headed to Kyoto Station to catch the Shinkansen to Space World. I realized I’d forgot my phone on the way to the station, but once we had our tickets for the train we realized we had plenty of time to run back for it and eat a bite at a breakfast place across from Kyoto Station. Breakfast at Topscafe was interesting. You ordered from a machine then hand in your ticket. It was busy, cramped, but clean and the food was very good. Once we finished eating we headed to our platform to catch the train.
We arrived at Space World after a 3-hour Shinkansen ride and a couple of transfers onto the local train line. This area was definitely different from Tokyo & Kyoto. Not one of the major Japanese tourist areas, much further south, even hotter, more humid, and in a more industrial setting. We passed right by the park and into Space World Station. Many people were heading to Space World since it was closing, so we had to stand in line for a bit to get tickets. Lines would be the order of the day.
Thankfully, all of the coasters opened. Unfortunately, all but 3 of them had long, slow lines, with a couple having insane wait times, as they seemed to dispatch trains every 10-15 minutes, just as I’d read online. Since we were prepared it was only slightly annoying, but expected. After getting into the park we headed to Zaturn first, as a launched Intamin was more prone to breaking down. Walking thru the park, it looked very different than the photos I’d seen from even just a couple of years ago. It was clean, but it was definitely not being fully kept up. We headed around the corner and got in line for the coaster. The line wasn’t long, but launches were slow. Once we were in the station, there was an area where you had to lock up all of your personal items, then head into the main queue area. Eventually, though, we were on in the back row of the train.
Zaturn–This Stealth Clone was fairly new and looked nice. It had a nice station with matte black trains and it was the first thing I saw from the train when getting to the park. They were running one train, loading slow but getting faster while we were in line, and we waited maybe 30 minutes. Once you get in the station you’re sent as groups into the locker area to lock everything up, then guided into a row to wait for your train. The station had pulsing lights and the ride ops wore themed jumpsuits. Zaturn was mostly about the launch, and the launch was really great. I liked the lights that pulsed and flashed in the station. Once you launched you went up a top hat, came back down, then hop up a small hill with brake fins, and it was over. It was fun because I like launches. But the OTSRs really don’t feel great. This ride was already up for sale, so I’m sure a park will pick it up for a great price. After we finished we got our stuff in the locker and headed back over into the main area of the park.
The park was fairly dead, but the lines for the coasters were long. We toyed with what to do next before settling on Titan MAX, the park’s Arrow hyper coaster that was unlikely to be saved (Update: It has since been demolished). The park had recently purchased new trains by S&S and painted the ride, and it even had on board music. Sadly the line moved at a snail’s pace, and parts of the line weren’t covered. The sun was bright and we were in direct sunlight for quite a bit of the hour or so long wait. At one point, we saw something that we never saw again while in the country, a very rude man causing issues in line and eventually being dealt with by park employees. Later we saw that he had arm sleeve tattoos, so we wondered if he was Yakuza or just a punk. Eventually, having waited just over an hour we made it on the ride.
Titan MAX–The trains were ok. Titan Max was a typical Arrow hyper coaster. I enjoyed it. It had a great first drop, an airtime hill, and then you just kind of meander up another airtime hill and then around the turnaround, all of which was high up off of the ground. Then on the return let there were some triangle shaped airtime hills that delivered. The ride was fun and I’m glad I got one ride on it.
This one will likely be lost for all time, and that makes me sad (See Update above). We sat near the back. If you’re a fan of Arrow hypers as I am then you’d have liked Titan MAX.
It was already afternoon at this point so we went to grab lunch and ended up getting a teriyaki burger (Yum!) and melon soda on our way over to the other side of the park. The food service was fast and the food was very good. We rested up inside with air conditioning for a bit before heading back out. Venus was up next, and I was prepared for another long line but honestly, it was maybe a 30-minute wait. The ride was located by the (already closed) Space World Hotel. This looked like it used to be a nice hotel in the park, but with everything closing it was not being taken care of. Venus was a ride I’d been interested in for so long. It looked very similar to a Schwarzkopf coaster, but was made by Maurer Rides. Before long, we were on the ride.
Venus GP–First the bad, the OTSRs were torture for someone of my height. I barely fit under them, and it was uncomfortable. In fact, I was afraid I wouldn’t get to ride because of the restrains barely clicking down. Other than that, though, the ride was really great! The first drop up into a turn gave great airtime. The inversion was very Anton-esq. After that, it was a series of turns, hills, a helix, and laterals. This was the other coaster the park put up for sale, and I really hope someone buys it (along with the large Space Shuttle, it needs to be kept UPDATE: The Shuttle was left at the park when the coaster was removed and demolished). I’m glad I got to ride, it was totally worth the trip south.
We headed towards the back of the park next. I’d seen photos of the park from as recent as 2014 and let me tell you, it wasn’t as nice as it once was. I wonder if they’ve been planning to close for a while. Granted, our next coaster seemed to have been let go a while ago, and again, the park was clean, but buildings hadn’t been painted or maintained, though the gardening had and was being worked on as we were there, with the park closing in just over 3 months. The next coaster we walked by gave the option to ride forwards or backward, with a walk online for forwards, so we did that next.
Boogie Woogie Space Coaster–This little thing was actually really fun as well. You could ride facing forward or backward. The backward section had a longer line so we opted for forward, which was a walk on. There were some nice pops of airtime, and you go thru a couple of tunnels on the figure 8 course. It was definitely a novel coaster, and another credit added.
Making our way further to the back of the park we went inside the Space Dome. This was a large exhibition center with another coaster, a museum of Space World memories, and some kid’s attractions. It also just happened to be the nicest area of the park! The kids attractions were all bright and colorful, and the whole dome was future/space themed, and well kept. Plus, it was cool and comfortable in here. We headed to our next credit, which wasn’t a terrible wait.
Black Hole Scramble–This little indoor coaster was another nice surprise. An obvious reference to something Iike Space Mountain, the layout was good with some forceful laterals and some airtime. There are 2 lift hills, with the second one having a lighted tunnel that is very Space Mountain-esq. There was theming and lights and music, and honestly, I could see this having been very popular when the park was at its peak. I enjoyed it as well, though I don’t remember the layout very much.
We walked thru the museum next, which had several displays of the park and its offerings over the years. It seems that they really did put on some decent shows, as there were videos playing of shows up to about 2015, with decent production. I hate that this park is closing, it really looks like it was a gem at one point. We took a break and I had a Skal to drink (Now I’d had Skal, Pocari Sweat, and Calpis, so I feel indoctrinated). We walked all around the Space Dome some more and I took lots of photos.
The day was hot and humid and getting long. Park closing was at 5 pm, and everything shuts down at closing. Most lines would be closed early to close the park in time, and thus Titan MAX & Zaturn were no longer allowing people to get in line, which we found out as we walked across the park. The park had a really decent double flume ride, themed to aliens crashing into a faux mountain. The line wasn’t really long, but the wait was. Twin Mercury has an adventure side and a mild side. We did the adventure side first.
Twin Mercury (Adventure Cruise)-What a great flume, and such a loss! Great theming. The logs/cars are themed like the old Titan cars, and thus look very much like mini Arrow hyper cars (Think Magnum’s trains). It was cute. The drops were fun, and the theming was well done. Plus there was a helix on the flume inside a mountain that was killer! After you leave the station, you head up a lift and there’s a long dark portion that comes out and drops. Then you go around the trough and head up another lift into another part of the mountain where the helix is before splashing down. Finally, you head up to the top of the largest drop, which gets you decently wet.
We headed back around to ride the other side. The wait wasn’t as long, and before getting in, you had to fill up your water guns. Mine was broken.
Twin Mercury (Fantasy Cruise)–On the mild side, you’re given water guns to squirt at targets, but my gun didn’t really work. It was also well themed and you were shooting at aliens. Basically, you meander in the trough thru the mountain inside of caves, some well themed to aliens. There is one very small, maybe 5-foot hill near the end that you splash down on.
We walked around the back of the park and tried to ride the Ferris Wheel, but it had just closed. Bummer. We wanted to check the line for Venus, which was a short wait, so we actually rode it again. We walked by the kiddie coaster next, which I wasn’t really planning on riding. Some kids in line were waving earlier and flashed the peace sign. When I waved back, they got so excited. Isaac talked me into riding it, so we did. Clipper is a standard Togo family coaster surrounding some old growth trees. We got the credit to end our day.
At this point, it was time to head out. Space World, once a very nice, very unique park that still has some great rides, closed at the end of 2017. It was a good 6-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, 3 hours from Kyoto, in the south of Japan, and not close to any discernible tourist spots, in a town where everything looked like industrial manufacturing is the main source of economy. Not sure why they decided to close, but I’m glad we got to go. The coasters were all good quality, and it is sad to see those that won’t be purchased lost to the scrap heap.
We headed back to the station to catch a train to another station where we needed to catch our Shinkansen. Once at the Shinkansen station, I got a bento box to eat and drifted off not long after our departure. Shinkansen tended to be warmer than I like, so staying awake was hard. Plus, jet lag. We got back to our awesome hotel, cleaned up, changed clothes, and planned to head down to the bar for drinks and possibly a late meal, but honestly, we were still dealing with the jet lag, so we ended up just heading back to the room instead since we needed to head to Osaka early the next morning.