Japan 2017 Day 11

17Japan11BannerFujikyu Highland | Photos | Videos


September 20, 2017
Fujiyoshida, Japan

The next morning we had to get to Fuji Q Highland early.  I’ve read nothing but horror stories from both coaster enthusiasts and non enthusiasts, locals and visitors about how terrible the operations at Fuji Q are, and how long the lines are.  During the day, those horror stories would prove to be correct, and they make any poorly run park in the U.S. look like a walk in the park.  So the plan was to get there and be close to the first ones in line.  We woke up from our hotel, headed to the Kawaguchiko station which proved to be quite a walk, stored our luggage, and headed back to the cute Fujikyuko train.  We arrived about an hour before the park opened, and I was shocked (and didn’t quite believe) that we were the first ones in line at the back gate.  There were some Russians staying at our hotel that showed up after a bit, as well as some locals who had internet tickets.

In order to get to do all of the major coasters, we were planning to quickly exchange our tickets then, once the rope dropped, literally running to the middle of the park where the very limited express passes could be purchased for rides. Express Passes are sold at the resort, online (but only on the Japanese site), and a few local convenience stores which means they sell out very quickly on the morning of.  So at 8:20, we were able to exchange our passes and, even though they were letting in resort guests early, we were at the front of the rope for the rope drop. Once the park was opened it was go time.

EVERYONE runs, either to whatever coaster they plan on hitting up first, or towards the middle of the park to buy express passes. We were at the back gate, so you had people at the front gate all heading to the Express Pass booth. Isaac sprinted, and though I tried to keep up, I just couldn’t do it. So I briskly walked as quickly as I could after the first initial burst, and was happy to see Isaac being the second person in line when I rounded the corner. Score!

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

I had read online that the people at the express booth don’t speak English and I had prepared with photos of the rides and times, hopefully available, but both the person managing the line (Where they mark off each ride when it’s no longer available to buy passes for each time slot) and the girl at the booth spoke English fine and we quickly bought passes for the four main roller coasters available, 2 for the 10am hour, one for the 11am hour, and one for the noon hour, all for around ¥1000 each.

So at this point we were ahead of the game and we had an hour before our first 2 coasters. The lines were already packed for the 4 major coasters at about an hour and a half for each, and the park hadn’t even been open for 20 minutes (of course, this was partially due to the early entry of resort guests). But we noticed that the wild mouse coaster just across the midway was open and did not have a line whatsoever. So we headed there first.

Mad Mouse-The Roller Coaster Database doesn’t list the manufacturer of the ride so I’m not sure who made it, but it was a first for me. The layout was different, and I liked it.  The cars were small, fitting only 2 people side by side. It looked like it would be a little rough, but I actually really enjoyed it, and it was a walk on for our first ride.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Next we walked over to the Ferris Wheel for a ride, which gave great views of the park, surrounding town (which is beautiful), and of course, Mt. Fuji. Since we decided to skip the Mt. Fuji tour, any chance to take photos and view the mountain was welcome, and Fuji Q offers that in spades.

Next up we headed to Pizza-La, the park’s Giant Frisbee, to take a spin, since it had no line, and we missed the giant frisbee at Nagashima. These rides are always fun. Three rides in the first hour was not only kind of shocking, but put us ahead for the rest of the day.  Up next we headed to the park’s newest coaster, a Gerstlauer Eurofighter with both a launch & a lift hill.

TakabishaFirst off, this is probably the best Eurofighter I’ve ridden. We show up and present our pass and make our way to the station. Once you board, you roll out of the station in to a dark indoor section, where there are dips, drops, an inline roll, all in the dark, before you drop down into the launch. It was all amazing, especially in pitch black.  Once you’re catapulted out onto the course, traversing 3 inversions (including my first banana roll), and then you end up at the bottom of the vertical lift. Once you’re at the top, the ride slowly creeps down the incline, before being let go into the beyond vertical drop, then you get thrown thru 3 more inversions (dive loop, top hat, Immelman), along with some hops and turns for good measure. This ride was fantastic, and I wish a US park would add something similar.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Immediately after that it was time for us to hit up Fujiyama. This was the tallest & fastest coaster in the world when it debuted and is loosely based on the Coney Island Cyclone.  Though they have 3 trains (Chrome, Gold, and White), only 2 were running with the gold train dismantled behind the station. And the dispatches were very slow at that.  Thankfully, we had the Express Pass.

FujiyamaThe first drop is tall. I’m not sure if it’s because of the surroundings, as this is far from the tallest coaster I’ve been on, but it seemed massive. And the first drop was great.  Then you head up into a slow turn around, which drops you down and in a mad dash thru the course. There are hills, turns, and trick-track hills on the course. Parts of it are rattly, but honestly, especially for a Togo coaster, the ride is really fun!

At this point we were already halfway thru our Express Passes and the other 2 were at least an hour apart.  So we hung out around the park for a bit. It was nearing lunch time, so we had lunch at Mos Burger, a national chain in Japan that we’d wanted to eat at while there. I had some great melon soda that I wish we had in the states, and a seasonal burger, of which I don’t remember the kind. But it was good, and we sat in the corner for a bit and I posted pics on Instagram. After lunch we headed down and got our tickets for the Haunted House. Yes, THE infamous Fuji Q haunted house, set in a fake abandoned hospital.  Its an upcharge, but totally worth the price. The park had other haunts going on for Halloween that we didn’t bother with, especially since the lines were long, but I didn’t want to miss this. So we headed down and got tickets for later in the afternoon, then headed back to the park.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

The nice thing about getting several things done our first hour, and having Express Passes for the major rides our second hour meant we could have a nice leisurely day at Fuji Q Highlands and not be bothered, which is pretty unheard of. And the park is actually rather nice. It reminds me somewhat of Waldameer, but with a few gigantic coasters.  Such a shame that the operations on their major rides are so poor. Eventually, it was time for our next skip the line pass. And thankfully, because the line was around three hours for…

EejanaikaOkay, first things first, I love me some X/X2, and when this ride was announced as the second 4D coaster, I watched the construction and have wanted to get to Japan to ride it for a very, VERY long time. The layout looked like an improvement over X, with an overbanked turn at the turnaround, and a ‘full-full’, a Zero G roll with the seats making one full rotation. So we made our way up into the massive station, and it honestly took a good 20 minutes to just load and be on our way (and they have a better loading system than X2 does, so I see no need for it to take this long to load a train). Eejaniaka lived up to my expectations. Yes, the outside seat was rough, but the ride is incredible if you like these types of coaster. The first drop is just like X2, as is the raven turn, but the rest of the ride is significantly different enough. I do want to get to China eventually to ride the version there, and I loved Arashi, the freestyle 4D, but I’d love to see a park contact S&S to build a new full scale 4D based off of what they’ve learned thus far, with better restraints from the free spins. It was definitely worth the wait.  Isaac and I got off loving it, him loving it way more than X2

We walked around the park to see what there was to do. Then we headed to the back entrance gift shop while Isaac did some shopping for gifts. Before long we headed over to our final Express Pass coaster. This was another ride I’d been excited about for many years, and even though it recently changed, I was still looking forward to it. Dodonpa was the second Thrust Air 2000 launched coaster that S&S built, and I was in love with the first, Hypersonic XLC. But Hypersonic has been long since gone. And one of the features of Dodonpa I was looking forward to was the top-hat airtime. Alas, earlier this year S&S modified the ride now known as Do-Dodonpa, removing the top hat and adding the worlds tallest loop. On the bright side, they made the ride faster at launch. Oh, and the station was really cool.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Do-DodonpaWalking over to the station, you head up the exit and in to the station.  The station was recently redone with some lighting. Also, there’s a large HD LED wall with ride specific animations on the side of the station. We were in the back of the train. You roll out in to the launch tunnel and there’s a recording of a hype man who does a countdown as the lights pulse and flash. Once you hit ‘one’ the train launches at incredible speed.  Do-Dodonpa is no longer the fastest roller coaster on earth, but it does have the fastest acceleration hitting over 110 mph in less than 2 seconds. And boy is that launch incredible!  The new vest restraints are really comfortable and the trains are very roomy. After the launch you go down into another lighted tunnel, then around a very large curve and then up in to the very large loop, which had massive hang time at the top. After the loop you dive into another tunnel, up on to a straight away to bleed off speed, then hit the brakes and you’re voilà, you’re done.  A quick, easy credit with an amazing launch.

So at this point we had completed the major rides at Fuji Q and had time to kill before our ticket to the Haunted Hospital thingamabob. The rapids ride looked really cool, but it was an hour wait. The only other coaster we were interested in was the small suspended coaster that had about a 35 minute wait so we got in line for that after we rested up for a bit.

Voyage Dans le CeilThis is themed to some French cartoon. The line wasn’t long, but there are not many cars to dispatch, and the line is set up weird. Basically, you board a cloud with the bunnies (?) on the front and are lifted up the lift hill. The single car, then floats around the lower end of the park, goes around the drop tower, has some airtime and swinging moments, then back to the brake run and you’re done. Another quick credit. And it was really fun. It was built as a flying coaster that didn’t last long. I wonder what it would have been like with small flying cars.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Next up we walked across the park looking for restrooms and potentially some food.  Then we noticed the flight sim in a dome that is set up kind of like Soarin’ at Disney, but instead it’s a flyover tour of Mt. Fuji, which was very quirky. The ‘company CEO’ wore a wig in the shape of Mt. Fuji in the pre-show video. The ride itself was well done, with wind, scents, and movement in the theater.

There is a viewing area in the middle of the park that you can climb for views of Mt. Fuji so we made our way up there next and spent the next 30 or so minutes taking photos of the mountain and surrounding park & town. Mt. Fuji really is massive. On my next visit I’d like to do a cruise on one of the 5 lakes around the mountain, and perhaps climb to the top from Station 5 but alas, this time it wasn’t meant to be. A day tour of Fuji was one of only about 3 things we just ran out of time for, and that’s okay.

We made our way back down from the viewing hill and headed to the Evangelion attraction. This was mostly just some sets you could pose with, but in the last room there was a rather large head from a mecha that made great use of projection mapping. Video and photos don’t do it justice. It looked really cool, and lots of people were in watching each sequence. But I’ve never been into Evangelion so seeing one was enough for me. Instead, it had been a few hours since we’d eaten at Moms Burger and I was hungry, so as Isaac picked up some weird meat balls and sides at a stall I had some Mt. Fuji Pizza from Pizza La. It was my first pizza in nearly two weeks, and it was delicious. After that we went to ride their Soarin’ rip off, which is a Fuji themed flight.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Now it was time to get in line for the haunt. For years I’d heard about how well done it was, how scary it was (Most haunts really don’t scare me, but they do put me on edge) so I was looking forward to this one. We were put in to a group of 4 (Isaac & myself and a male/female couple), but not before our ‘initiation’. Even with a timed ticket you have to go thru the hospital ‘gates’ and get in to a queue and wait. Eventually a decent sized group is pulled together and brought into a dark room where a video is shown to set the mood.

The video tells the story of what happened at the hospital (In Japanese!) and you find out that three people go into the abandoned hospital that did experiments on people, only to eventually succumb to whatever evil lurks there. Once that is over you’re lead down a hallway, split in to smaller groups (ours of 4), given a flashlight, given the instructions (In Japanese! But still basic enough for me to understand) and then let loose. The haunt is 3 levels consisting of the main floor, upstairs, and a basement. There aren’t a lot of people in at a time, and there aren’t a lot of actors, but the maze doesn’t need it to be scary. You go up and down several times between floors.

Scares are done mostly after you’ve passed the area where the person is waiting (either in the dark or behind a wall), and they’re far more effective, as the zombie Stomps then half runs towards you. I was jump scared more times than I usually am in a maze. They claim that it takes up about 45 minutes, but it ‘only’ took us 30 minutes to go through.  The lone couple behind us caught up, and we kind of caught up to the group in front of us, but as the leader, I slowed us down so as not to have too big a group to scare. At one point, you turn your flash lights in and you’re left with more of a dark portion. It is really well done, and the production value is great, just as good as anything at Knotts or what I’d seen at USJ’s HHN.

Japan Day 11 Fuji Q 2017

Trying to find one more ride to do in the time we had before our bus left, we headed to the rapids ride but the wait was too long. We took some photos on the way out (several of Fujiyama as we left) bid adieu to to Fuji Q from the French themed shopping area outside of the park once we’d gotten our stuff out of the locker and then headed to the gift shop to do some shopping in the large resort gift shop. We made it to our bus in plenty of time, though we were confused about which bus to take at first, and could not to miss our ride back to Shinjuku, as this was the last bus of the day. The ride was around 90 minutes, with me half snoring during quite a bit of it.

Once we arrived back in Shinjuku we decided to head to another Onsen in Tokyo. This one was older, but the facilities were just as good as the one in Osaka, with hot tubs, warm tubs, cool tubs, saunas, steam rooms, relax rooms, and more. And after nearly 2 weeks of being on the go it was a welcome change to get some rest and relaxation. The U.S. needs to learn to Onsen. We got back to our base hotel room before midnight, which was still nice and clean from the day before, since we’d slept near Fuji Q and I was out like a light. Thankfully this time they’d left the AC on, so we didn’t have to wait for it to cool down.

Day 12

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