Well after 2 hours of writing up a great part 4, Crash! I HATE that!
Anyway, here I go again....
Saturday was a return trip to Toshima-en, a park we visited in 1988, but
because of rain and snow, we did not ride any of the coasters. We had
previously contacted the park through Lisa, and were greeted at the office
by a very nice gentleman who spoke excellent English, Mr. Sato. He really
gave us the royal treatment, giving us coffee while explaining the history
of the park and helping us plan our trip to other parks in the Tokyo area.
It turns out our visit to this park was helpful in other ways since Mr.
Sato explained to us that Seibu-en park and Hakkeijima Sea Paradise are
both sister parks to Toshima-en. This was important since we had planned
to visit either Seibu-en or Hakkeijima, with the express intent of riding
the Water Chute, which was discovered by ACE at Seibu-en in 1988. If you
recall, this is the ride with the attendant that goes down the hill
standing on the bow, and there is no trough to guide the boat at the
bottom. It is an historic ride that is reminiscent of the old style Shoot
the Chutes from the golden age of parks. Anyway, we thought both parks had
such a ride, but the folks at Toshima-en informed us that Hakkeijima1a was
actually moved from Seibu-en several years earlier. So based on this we
decided to not go there, but definitely go to Hakkeijima.
We then got a personally escorted tour of all the coasters at this nice
park, a standard corkscrew, Schwarzkopf shuttle (the one with the sound
guard over the loop because of grousing neighbors)and a nice long older
Jet Coaster with a good dark tunnel and some backseat airtime. There is
also a fun walk-thru scary type house, and a dark ride, both well done but
very Japanese. After bidding adieu to our gracious hosts, it was on to
another repeat from ?88 park, Yomiuriland. This was to be the meeting of
one of the main goals of the trip, riding all 4 woodies in Japan. We were
a bit apprehensive about the weather, as a steady rain had begun to fall.
Some of the rides were closed, but luckily only one coaster was closed, an
ubiquitous Togo alternating standing-sitting coaster, which we had ridden
previously. We immediately headed for the White Canyon (it has always
confused me, the Cyclone clone is White Canyon, while the Nagashima
coaster, a non-Cyclone type is White Cyclone). In any event, we
immediately grabbed a third and 4th seat, and I was in for a pleasant
surprise. I am not a great lover of Morgan trains, and besides, as many of
you may know, these trains have the added bonus of strange looking
3rollbars2 over each seat. Any preconceived notions about this ride I may
have had, they were soon dispelled! This was one pretty darn good woodie,
trains or no. The Morgans ran pretty smoothly, with little rattling, and
the lap bars were a bit different that other Morgan ratchets I have seen,
in that they were easy to hold up off your legs, and were not overly
padded. Even the rollcages were not too annoying. We did manage a back
seat ride with another gift of a business card, and while the front was
good with some good lateral jolts on the curves, the back was excellent!
The first drop had a good yank over the crest, with a fair bit of air. And
coming off one of the fan turns there was a really great negative and
lateral force simultaneously that came as a big surprise. Maybe the good
rides we had were in part due to rain-slickened track, but for us that
day, we thoroughly enjoyed our spins on this woodie. There is reason for
the rollcages, as just before the return to the station, there are some
alarmingly low beams overhead!
While the WC was a pleasant surprise, the Bandit, on the other hand, was a
slight disappointment. I simply loved this ride in 1988, the only flaws to
my mind were a mediocre first drop and the shoulder restraints. But now,
after 11 years, those restraints which were only a minor bother on a
smooth new coaster, gave my neck/ears the once over pretty good. Also the
ride was somewhat shaky and rattled too much. It still has the
exhilarating speed and neat dive into the valley, but something was
missing for me. Maybe part of the problem is that back then I was more
innocent in the ways of coasters, and now I am too jaded and crotchety ( I
know some people on this group think I am too critical :-) ).
The other coaster we rode on this damp day was the LS coaster (LS usually
stands for Locomotive Steam on Japanese rides, in other words it has a
choo-choo first car. A medium size ride, its distinguishing features were
two, first it dove right out of the station into a valley and then
travelled over a lake. The other distinct thing was the 8! second trim
brake. Yes, the train comes to a dead stop for 8 seconds. I suspect this
is not normal, the rain may have had something to do with it.
Another interesting thing about this park is the interesting English
translations(or more correctly, attempted translations). On the list of
prices for different age groups:
"Age Over 60: Sinner"
The instructions for the gondola that you get to the park in:
"To everyone of the use,
It can1t get it on under 12 years old
A wheelchair can1t bring it"
The next day was another rainy one. Korakuen park, also visited in ?88,
now has the Linear Gale, (replacing the Ultra Twister) as reported on this
group a few months ago. An Intamin linear induction shuttle loop, it was
quite good, with a strong acceleration, and nice*** sensation on the
towers. The long Jet Coaster with two lifts is slow but a nice tour around
the park, and the two last cars face backwards. The indoor coaster,
Geopanic was Ok with decent effects but had, again, no inversions but
We then went to a, well, putting it very euphemistically, an interesting
festival that could probably only happen in Japan. Since this is a family
newsgroup, I will only say you have to see my video, ***s only please.
Oh, and the museum was fascinating also, there was figure of Mickey Mouse
that I do not think you would find at the Disney Store. Marty Moltz would
have definitely been right at home at this festival.
After that diversion it was back to parks and Yokohama Cosmoworld. This
used to be a smaller park on the waterfront, but recently added two
coasters to go along with what is supposedly the world1s biggest ferris
wheel. One coaster is Togo1s Diving Coaster:Vanish. It is called this
because it dives into a nifty underwater tunnel, a la Anaconda at KD. This
is yet another ride that is somewhat marred by harnesses despite a lack of
inversions. The station for this ride is inside a multi-story multi-use
building that houses restaurants, arcades etc, like Festival Gate. On an
upper floor, we exited in the rain to ride the Spinning Coaster, a, you
guessed it, Reverchon spinning coaster. The ride only revolves during the
second half, but is still a real hoot. It was my first time on this type
of coaster, it makes me look forward to Exterminator at KW.
Last on this day was Joypolis, basically a big center run by SEGA with
lots of video games, but also a interactive coaster, Rail Chase, the Ride.
It was a bizarre experience, riding in the single cars shooting at target
monsters, and then later facing backwards shooting at video screens. It
was gravity powered, so it counts as a coaster.
We then had a soaking walk back to the train station, but the next day,
Sunday, dawned clear. We set out early for Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. At the
front of the park was a first for us in Japan, a band organ on the
Carousel. The Water Chute was mainly like we remembered it at Seibu-en,
but instead of the tracks running down a hillside, it is now built up on a
steel structure. But the boats were the same old wooden ones, the
operators still ride down on their precarious perch on the front of the
boat, and they still leap in the air upon contact with the water. This
ride is simply a great nostalgic experience, a throwback to the Shoot the
Chutes of old.
The Surf Coaster is another Togo ride, and it had some similarities we
noticed to the ride at Cosmo World. It has the lift and some of the
trackage over the bay, and commands a great view from the top. Yes, it was
another non-inversion with OTSRs, and had three helixes...I told you that
the Japanese love helixes :-).
The Giant drop of 230 ft was quite good, and there is a very well done
aquarium. As I said, a very nice park, but could use a few more coasters.
Yokohoma Dream World was next on the busy agenda. One of the older parks
we visited, we rode another Schwarzkopf Shuttle, a strange small Jet
Coaster called the Bobsleigh, that has a dragon mouth tunnel and a water
splashdown at the end. There is also a Big Apple kiddie coaster which Lisa
rode, but as they were getting ready to close I wanted a ride on the
Wonder Wheel. Yes, it is pretty much like Coney Island1s version, and
while not nearly as old of course, it creaked and groaned rather
alarmingly, even worse than I remember the original doing.
So we finally reached the last day for our odyssey, at least as far as
coasters and parks were concerned, we were supposed to leave the next day
in the early afternoon. We left quite early for the long train ride to
Fujikyu Highland. It was a windy day, but not too chilly, but the wind
proved to be our undoing. Because, when we arrived at the park, we found
out that the two signature coasters were closed due to winds over 30 mph!
We had ridden Moonsault scramble last visit, but I was really looking
forward to Fujiyama. We did ride two new coasters, a wild mouse and a
unremarkable indoor shooting coaster, Zola. It was painful looking at the
giant structure of Fujiyama and knowing it would be many years before we
could ever ride it. But Mother Nature gave us a nice consolation gift, a
gorgeous view of a snowcovered *real* Fujiyama, I got some nice photos for
our trouble at least.
The final park was Tokyo Summerland, which turned out to be a ...
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