Adventures in roller coasters!Japan is an undiscovered country of advanced roller coasters, with many exciting rides that even roller coaster fanatics can enjoy2013.12.

Tamaki Miyata (roller coaster critic, travel essayist)

If you like roller coasters, you will have a wonderful experience in Japan. There are many advanced roller coasters that are listed among the world's best. Moreover, since most of these roller coasters can be easily accessed from metropolitan areas, you can enjoy riding them whenever you'd like. Here, Mr. Tamaki Miyata, author of the book "The Craziest Roller Coasters", will introduce some of the world-class roller coasters in Japan.

"Fuji-Q Highland" offering a lineup of many unique rides

DODONPA eejanaika
FUJIYAMA TAKABISHA
"Fuji-Q Highland", located at the base of Mt. Fuji, has introduced many new types of scary rides to the world. Among those rides, "DODONPA, the world's most tremendous roller coaster", realizes a Guinness Book record level of acceleration, reaching 172 km/h in 1.8 seconds. This particular roller coaster uses the same air launch system that is used to launch fighter jets from aircraft carriers.
The park also includes "eejanaika", one of the only four-dimensional roller coasters in the world featuring forward and backward spinning seats that hang from the track. "FUJIYAMA, the king of roller coasters", which drops from a height of 79 meters at a maximum speed of 130 km/h, "Takabisha", which offers an unbelievable experience of dropping at a maximum angle of 121 degrees, and other rides. If you would like to enjoy riding roller coasters in Japan, you must go to "Fuji-Q Highland".
 
Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear Aside from roller coasters, the amusement park offers various other unique attractions, including "EVANGELION: WORLD", a pavilion where you can enjoy a view of the world from the popular animation film series Neon Genesis Evangelion "Rebuild of Evangelion", and the world's scariest haunted house, "Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear", which takes 50 minutes to complete. You can easily spend an entire day there without becoming bored.
 
Fuji-Q Highland
Address:5-6-1 Shin-Nishihara, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi
Telephone:0555-23-2111
Open hours:Depend on season, day of the week, etc.
Access:Approx. two hours by JR Chuo and Fujikyuko Lines
Direct bus service is also available from Tokyo, Osaka, Shinjuku, Nagoya, Haneda Airport, and other locations throughout Japan (approx. 1 hour and 40 minutes from Shinjuku).


 

Nagashima Spaland with "Steel Dragon 2000," the longest roller coaster in the world

Steel Dragon 2000 White Cyclone
"Steel Dragon 2000", which is currently the longest roller coaster in the world, with a length of 2,479 m, can be found in "Nagashima Spaland", 40 minutes from Nagoya by bus. It is not only the longest roller coaster in the world, but is also a supersized roller coaster that ranks among the top 10 in the world in every aspect, including its highest point of 97 m and its maximum speed of 153 km/h. In 2013, its seats, which were previously covered by box-shaped housings, were redesigned to be more open to make them more thrilling. In addition, there are many other attractions, including "White Cyclone", the largest wooden-frame roller coaster in Japan.
 
Yuami no Shima "Yuami no Shima" is located next to the amusement park and is open until 23:00. After screaming on roller coasters, you can relax in this hot spring bath.
 
Nagashima Spa Land
Address:333 Urayasu, Nagashima-cho Kuwana-shi, Mie
Telephone:0594-45-1111
Open hours:Depend on season, day of the week, etc.
Access:Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Nagoya Station
Approx. 20 minutes by bus from Kuwana Station


 

Easily-accessible urban amusement parks

If you'd like to easily enjoy a thrill within Tokyo, "Thunder Dolphin" in "Tokyo Dome City" is recommended. It is a large-scale roller coaster that runs through metropolitan Tokyo at a maximum speed of 130 km/h. As soon as it drops at a steep angle of 80 degrees, it acrobatically rushes up to the roof of a building at a furious speed, runs through a hole in the wall and cuts through a Ferris wheel. You can also enjoy a night view of Tokyo after dark.
 
If you would like to enjoy a night view, "Diving Coaster: Vanish!" in "Yokohama Cosmo World" is superb. It commands a great night view of the surrounding high-rise office buildings and hotels along the canal. It is a unique roller coaster that rushes into water after offering a beautiful view of the night.
 
"Roller Coaster" in "Asakusa Hanayashiki" is recommended for those who would like to enjoy a thrill and Japanese atmosphere at the same time. It is the oldest roller coaster in Japan, having operated for 60 years and it runs through a small, crowded amusement park at a maximum speed of 42 km/h. Taking advantage of the small size of the site, it is designed to run by a public bath house and houses, providing a unique amusement that can be only be experienced here.
 
Tokyo Dome City
Address:1-3-61, Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Telephone:03-5800-9999
Open hours:Depend on season, day of the week, etc.
Access:Near Suidobashi Station on the JR Chuo-Sobu Kanko and Toei Mita Lines
Near Korakuen Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Nanboku Lines


 
Yokohama Cosmo World
Address:2-8-1, Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Telephone:045-641-6591
Open hours:Depend on season, day of the week, etc.
Access:Approx. 10 minutes on foot from Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line and the Yokohama City Subway
Approx. two minutes from the Minatomirai Station on the Minatomirai Line


 
Asakusa Hanayashiki
Address:2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Telephone:03-3842-8780
Open hours:10:00 - 18:00 (Open hours depend on the season and weather)
Access:Approx. three minutes on foot from Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station
Approx. five minutes on foot from Asakusa Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza, Toei Asakusa, and Tobu Skytree Lines


 
List of recommended roller coasters in Japan
Tobu Zoo (Saitama)
Kawasemi: Although medium-sized, it is popular for the floating feeling it offers
Regina: A wooden-frame roller coaster that runs through rural scenery
 
Yomiuriland (Tokyo)
Bandit: Runs through the woods at a speed of 110 km/h
 
Shima Spain Village (Mie)
Pyrenees: An inverted roller coaster featuring a maximum speed of 100 km/h, providing a comfortable ride
 
Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)
Hollywood Dream: The Ride: A unique roller coaster in which you run through the sky while listening to music
 
Himeji Central Park (Hyogo)
Diablo: A thrilling roller coaster featuring continuous loops and acrobatic movements
 
SPACE WORLD (Fukuoka)
Titan V: A large-scale roller coaster that plummets from a height of 60 m above the ground
Zaturn: A roller coaster that runs at a maximum speed of 130 km/h, featuring smooth acceleration and a vertical drop
 
Experience "ghost house," another thrilling attraction of amusement parks
"The Scariest Haunted House" in Toei Kyoto Studio Park Along with roller coasters, haunted houses are another thrilling attraction that is popular in amusement parks. There are haunted houses called "obake yashiki" (ghost houses) in every amusement park in Japan that enjoy high popularity. Various types of "ghost houses" appear each year, such as ones based on old Japanese ghost stories or ones that simulate hospitals or abandoned school buildings. In summer, special " ghost houses" open for a limited time and are featured in magazines. The fondness of Japanese people for " ghost house" increases each year.
Examples of particularly thrilling " ghost house" include the previously-introduced "Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear" in "Fuji-Q Highland", which takes 50 minutes to complete, "Haunted House - The Ghost of Cherry Blossoms" featuring spooky dolls in "Asakusa Hanayashiki", and "Haunted House" in "Toei Kyoto Studio Park", which was produced by movie staff. How about trying them out alongside roller coasters?
 
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Address:10 Higashi-Hachigaokacho, Uzumasa, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Telephone:0570-064349
Open hours:Depend on season, day of the week, etc.
Access:Approx. five minutes on foot from JR Uzumasa Station
Approx. 33 minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station, approx. five minutes on foot from the "Uzumasa Koryuji" bus stop


 
Tamaki Miyata
Roller coaster critic and travel essayist, Tamaki Miyata, authored many travelogues based on his travels to Asian countries and other locations after working in the advertising industry. He is also well-versed in roller coasters, bonsai, and great images of Buddha and authored the book, "The Craziest Roller Coasters" based on his experiences riding more than 100 roller coasters. He is a leading authority in roller coaster critique who introduces unique roller coasters that Japan boasts to the world for us.
 

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