Fuji-Q highland is a Japanese theme park located not too far from Tokyo at Yamanashi, getting there involves about an two hour bus ride from Shinjuku central bus station, served by Kieo/Chūō Kōsoku bus services costing about 7800 yen for a return trip. You can purchase the bus and park tickets at an inclusive discounted fare on the day of departure. Given its geographical proximity to Mount Fuji in Fujiyoshid, the park is possibility one of the few theme parks where you get snow (with the exception of summer). There was plenty to go around when I was there.
Getting to the park from Tokyo will bring you along a freeway with sights on Mount Fuji up north. Upon arrival at the park bus terminal, entry to the park will bring you through a very nicely themed French plaza, complete with authentic store, cafes and restaurants with very nicely themed interiors.
Fuji-Q is known to be a thrill seeker’s paradise, and for its high intensity roller coasters. It is home to 7 roller coasters, with 3 of them taking honorable mentions. Entry to the theme park offers a number of ticketing options, such as free entry to the park where you can selectively choose to pay-and-ride each ride, or an all-ride inclusive ticket band, with the latter being the more cost-effective option if you plan to do most of the rides in the park. There is even a central ice skating rink in the park’s main plaza.
Dominating most part of the Fuji-Q skyline and the park entrance will be the Fujiyama hyper-coaster. It is a speed coaster reaching speeds up to 130 km/h from its 79 m-tall hill lift. Opened in 1996, the distinctive golden coloured trains do give the ride some character, but the coaster do seem to show its age with its older more clunky supports, rail structure and less than ideal ride smoothness. The coaster was once the world’s tallest roller coaster, but now is the 8th tallest globally.
The coaster has and assortment of track elements not typically found on modern coaster today, such as multiple hill-lifts, sudden switch backs and left and right alternating turns- trademark of 90s-era steel roller coasters which does make for a unique ride experience.
Dodonpa is a roller coaster undergoing an upgrade, it is accessible right from the park entrance too, it opened in 2001 and was once the world’s fastest and highest accelerating roller coaster (currently 4th fastest in the world) reaching a top speed of 172 km/h. Though the tracks remain, until July 17, the ride is now temporary converted into a ‘virtual Dodonpa’ ride, allowing you to experience the ride as a simulator in the actual train cars using Samsung VR-gear headsets.
Another crazy virtual ride will have to be the Fuji Airways- It’s an enclosed indoor simulator ride having you suspended via a motion arm over encasing projection dome screens taking you on flights over Mt Fuji with “4D” elements such as wind and scent. The theming on this ride in hilarious in typical Japanese slapstick humor, with all the flight staff dressed in their trademark sunglasses kimono uniform. Unlike the log flume ride at Najishima Spaland, the one here is completely enclosed.
There are a number of classic rides littered about the park, such as a vintage Merry go round, complete with the makes of detailed painted horses and carridges, as well as a Swinging Chair carousel. The Ferris wheel here offers nice full uninterrupted views of the park.
No visit to Fuji-Q will be complete without Eejanaika- opened in 2006, it is one of the few 4th dimension roller coasters globally (the first being X² at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Dinoconda in China Dinosaurs Park) with independently programmed 360 degree rotating seats but taller (76 m tall) and faster (up to 126 km/h) than its predecessor.
A 4th Dimensional roller coaster is unlike your traditional sit-down roller coaster, riders here are seated suspended with their legs dangling beyond the tracks on both sides of the train. In addition, the rider seats are free to rotate, timed to rotation angles to specific parts of the ride track, providing for a completely different rider experience.
Go for a ride on Eejanaika in this on-ride video recording here:
The coaster starts off going backwards with the seats rotating at pre-programmed specific angles throughout the entire track course allowing riders to experience G-forces in unique ways normally not achievable.
This allows for high-G maneuvers by orientating rider bodies in the direction where the human body can withstand the highest G-forces to reduce rider intensity, like plunging face-down on the first vertical drop, going forwards and suddenly going backwards after a barrel roll and rotating to move in the forward direction being suspended with the train car upside down.
The ride is much more intense than your average coaster. Despite having only 3 physical track inversions, the seats adds 11 more through precise rotations.
Takabisha is also another newer record holding launched coaster (Guinness record for the steepest roller coaster in the world) with a “beyond-vertical” 121° 43m drop. Opened on July 2011, the coaster starts off as a dark ride with sudden drops before going into a linear induction motor launch into an outdoor assortment of seven loops and corkscrews totaling 1km of track with the spectacular sight of Mt-Fuji to boot in the background.
The highlight of the ride will be the ending trademarked drop which slowly creeps you over the edge, pausing before rolling you off the drop into more inversions.
Non-ride attractions in the park includes an Evagalion exhibition, containing a variety of cardboard photo cutouts, production sketches and an interactive movie showcase screening area. Fuji-Q is also home to the haunted hospital, claimed to be one of the scariest ghost houses in Japan too, though I don’t really found it scary at all.
A visit to Fuji-Q is definitely good for an entire day out, though being one of the smaller theme parks in the area, the quality of new rides such as Eejanaika and Takabisha here to make up for the shortfall which makes Fuji-Q one of the few parks for theme park thrill seekers. The park is located not too park from central Tokyo city, allowing you to easily do a day trip by bus, definitely a park to place on your Tokyo thrill seeker adventure hunt.
Check out more photos of Fuji-Q highland here.