Taking advantage of the Federal holiday on July 4, we went to Fuji-Q Highland. The drive was pretty easy, although it took about two hours each way. We left at 7am and arrived just as the park opened at 9.
Some video of the highway, a town in a valley, and the mountains in the distance.
Fuji-san wears a cloud hat.
Oh, no! Where will we ever find a parking spot?!
We're SO FAR AWAY from the entrance! (I think we ended up four cars away from the gate.)
This gate needs its own theme music. I mean, come on! It's got fire and big letters! And more fire!
Apparently the park mascots are like the Power Rangers.
The line to purchase tickets went pretty quickly.
The entrance sign is for a roller coaster, but I prefer to think of it as making sure people know where they can pee.
I also choose to believe that this is where foods are pitted against each other in a spectacular fight to the death.
This ride is called Tondemina and it is actually quite relaxing. The motion is very much like a giant swing, where you swoop up, your feet float a little, then you slowly pick up speed to the other side. It's also novel to see the park sideways at that height.
I guess the signs mean "don't cut in line," but it's a particularly amusing way to show it.
Don't cut in line! Do a little jig! Play your bamboo clarinet!
This is a crappy blurry photo, but it just tickles me that for the roller coaster strap-in-and-be-safe diagram, they used two people in traditional garb and hairstyles.
Around the corner is a great photo comparison on how to dress appropriately.
Let me back up a second. I'm talking about the Eejanaika.
This is the loading station:
And this is what riding it is like (courtesy of YouTube, we did not film this):
By way of non-video description, it's pretty intense. And a little mean in that when you're all strapped in, you go up the ramp backwards so you can't see when the descent starts. The view is nice until you hit that first hill and the seats rotate so that you're facing straight down. (That part can be a little shocking.) Then it's a bunch of surprise rotations of the seat and twists of the track. I approve!
The two other currently open coasters are Fujiyama and Dodonpa. Fujiyama is large (and old and wooden and a little heavy-handed on the sharp corners) and Dodonpa might actually use the same launching mechanism as they do for jets on aircraft carriers (instant headache as my brain flattened against the seat behind me). They were all right, but the Eejanaika won the prize for Kim's Favorite Roller Coaster for the day.
On to the Great Zaboon (onomatopoeia for the sound that a giant wave makes)! But there are rules.
The Same But Different: a ride built around a big splash at a theme park, same as in the US...but here, you can get a poncho. Nobody walks around the park drenched in water here.
While you're waiting in the queue, be sure to be eaten by the fiberglass shark.
A helpful sign concerning proper poncho use.
Apparently the Japanese version of the Loch Ness Monster lives in this ride too. I wonder how well it gets along with the shark.
Then we found the Mecca of Mew. A ride apparently built around devotion to Maneki Nekos.
Random photo opportunity.
I like how this photo makes it look like the giant Nekos are some cult idol and all the poncho wearers are the devotees.
The propaganda in the waiting area doesn't really help dispel that notion.
Samurai Neko poster!
Remember when I said that nobody walks around the park drenched? Well, nobody except us.
On the fence outside the ride is a Wall of Neko. I'm not sure what purpose they serve, but they are delightful.
That wasn't enough? Here are more!
Continuing our tour of the park, Random Bunny Truck Selling Food!
Somewhere near the middle of the theme park is this green area with a Fujiyama Mini-Me for no apparent reason. In front of Mini-Me are these...um...bears? Old Bear needs a walker but is too stubborn to get one.
Stalker Bear hides in the bushes and does an impression of a tapir.
Fuji-san and Mini-Me.
Oh, I know why they built Mini Fuji. Because they needed a lair for their resident Evil Villain. Seriously, if that's not an evil lair, I don't know what it could be.
At the top of the real Fuji-san there is a post office and a place to get a snack. At the top of Mini Fuji there is a cardboard cutout of the Fuji-Q Power Rangers, or whatever they're called.
From the Mini summit, you can also see the Tekkotsu Bancho, a very tall twist on the classic swing ride.
Back in the foothills, Donut Coaster this way!
My lunch was a sandwich with pressed rice instead of bread. Interesting. All veggies in the middle, too. おいしかった です！ (It was delicious.)
Okay, now this is very important. Do not fight the bears. Do not wrestle them, do not tackle them. That is what the sign says.
More advice: Do not jump over fence for danger. (I assume "do it for fun!" is implied.)
It's even more jarring than it looks. I don't know who installed the gosh-darn speed bumps at the end, but that was just adding insult to injury.
The Warner Brothers store (the only one in Japan, I believe) really wants to make sure Tweety doesn't run away.
Last ride of the day, classic Teacups. The kind where the riders determine how much spinning there is. There was so much spinning done by our cup that if we hadn't heard the announcement, we wouldn't have known that the ride had ended. We think the only reason we could walk straight afterward was because we changed direction halfway through. Yep, we're mature adults.
On the way out, ice cream! We found a vendor that had soft serve and mixed them. Not just chocolate/vanilla, either. I don't remember most of the flavors, but this cone is two different types of grape ice cream.
We declared the day a success.