Nagashima SPA land is a theme park not too far off Nagoya Japan in in Kuwana, Mie. With a large number of roller coasters, a waterpark and hot spring resort all within the theme park grounds by the Ibi River bay, Nagashima spa land is synonymous to almost to like the Cedar point of Japan- the park is one of the few “traditional” full theme parks in Japan with a massive compound complete with 45 rides and home to 12 roller coasters.
Dominating the entrance of the park is The Steel Dragon 2000 hyper-coaster with its 97.01m tall hill lift and 93.51m first drop. The coaster runs over the main entrance through both ends of the park and is the 6th fastest (153km/hr) in the world.
You can recognize it by its distinctive red tubular tracks and red coaster trains which regulars does their roaring runs through the park.
Steel Dragon 2000 does offer a pretty good first drop, gaining speed easily through urethane wheels on B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) trains, not only offering a smooth ride, but smoothly taking the over-banked corners with ease too. The 2,479 m continuous looping circuit lasting 4 minutes ends with a sequence of bunny hops, offering really good airtime. Go for a ride on Steel Dragon 2000 in a video below:
Steel Dragon 2000 on-ride POV video
The coaster runs longer than your typical coaster, doing runs from one end of the park to the other end, circling around the park’s entrance mall area through two large helixes.
The other main coaster here will have to be Acrobat “flying bat” coaster, a B&M flying roller coaster, which is technically a clone of the Seaworld Orlando mantis roller coaster. You even get the same water jet elements when the train passes over the water.
You board the ride in a sitting-prone position, where the ride translates into a superman-style flying position when you depart the coaster station. This laying position allows the ride to transition the starting flying to supine position. It is easier to ride as the G-forces are transmitted onto the rider’s back instead of compressing the spine on typical sit-down coasters, allowing the coaster to pull larger G without taxing riders as much.
Take a ride on Acrobat in an on-ride video:
Acrobat POV on-ride video.
Nagashima Spa land is home to over 12 roller coasters, but six coasters are worth honorable mention (Steel Dragon 2000, Arcobat, Corkscrew Looping Star). The two remaining coasters of the six includes Ultra twister and White cyclone (An Intamin wood coaster) which were not operating on my visit.
Nagashima Spaland is also home to a variety of classic rides, almost bringing you back in time, such as a corkscrew coaster, space shuttle, an elevator-style vertical drop tower and even a looping shuttle coaster. Interesting rare rides will also include electrical bobsleds, where you can zip through half-pipe tracks at rather blazing speeds through pre-defined inter-winded stainless steel tracks. The karts despite their age are very zippy, responsive and well-maintained. These are even way better than the go-karts in Disneyland Florida.
There is a classic Log flume ride in the park, and riding it will get you totally drenched; the park recommends you to ride it with a poncho, which they will sell to you at the ride entrance. The weather was good and dry and you will dry out in no time if you are wet either.
The park Ferris wheel is one ride not to be missed, its central location near the giant Frisbee offers unobstructed panoramic views of the entire park, overlooking the entire White cyclone wooden roller coaster (where you can really appreciate it’s vastness), as well as the open bay of Ibi River.
Over view of Nagashima Spa land theme park at sunset from the park Ferris wheel.
Here you can also have an overview of the Viking ship area, where you can really deduce the Japan love of Viking ships by their sheer sizes and number of them all around the park. There is a huge tandem Viking ship ride, as well as a couple of twin medium sized viking ships, each with their own surrounding water pools and sea theming- Commendable is the attention to detail.
You can also find a western-themed area here complete with a mine train roller coaster running over several water pond elements, and a very well-maintained and near pristine western saloon shootout arcade stand, a gem and rare find indeed.
The food at the park was good too, though not all food stores are open on the weekdays. A good thing on my visit on a weekday was the park was relatively empty, but almost all the rides were operating, so there wasn’t much queuing required at any of the rides.
The “Spa” in Nagashima Spa land
In case you are wondering why the theme park is called a “Spa land” Entry to the theme park also grants you complimentary access to the park’s resort spa and Osen hot spring.
The Osen here is a natural outdoor spring with indoor showers and opens till late (about 9pm) even after the park closing time at 5pm. Here you have a choice between a number of enclosed, sheltered or open air hot springs. You get about 4-5 different types of pools and Jacuzzis each for both genders. In typical Japanese Osen, there are no unisex pools unless you request to have a private room, which costs considerable more. The resort opens till late where parks guests usually retreat to relax after a long day at the theme park.
In all Nagashima Spaland is a fantastic park suitable for all ages. There are several elements which appeal to thrill seekers yet still retaining its family-friendly feel. It is definitely good for an entire day out.
Check out more photos of Nagashima spa land here (Trip in Jan 2017).