Japan 2004 Trip Reports!
The following trip
reports were originally posted on Westcoaster.net. We originally wrote these as a 'daily
diary' log of our trip.
After many requests, I have put them all in one place! If you have any
other questions about Japan parks, please email
- LaQua 3rd Visit, Sea Paradise and Yokohama Cosmoworld
to see our complete LaQua Photo Update
Click HERE to see
our complete Sea Paradise Photo Update
to see our complete Yokohama Cosmoworld Photo Update
So today is the last
TR of our trip! Well, at least the last day-to-day TR, I'm sure we'll all do
some more detailed TRs and 'thoughts on Japan' a bit later....but for now....
Since we've totally conquered most of Japan by now, it was time to clean up a
few more areas that we either needed to get back to, or a few more of the
smaller parks that we figured would be good to hit since we've now returned back
to the Shinjuku area.
First off was LaQua. We hadn't gotten much good footage of Thunder Dolphin
because it was either dusk or a typhoon was about to happen, and we still needed
to get a ride on Linear Gale. I'm happy to report that we did everything we
needed today! I will stress again that if you ever plan a trip to Japan, plan
extra days! It took us three trips to LaQua to get on all the rides due to the
weather. And for god sakes, whatever you do, DO NOT plan your ONLY day to do La
Qua on the last day of your Japan trip! Just in case you hit bad weather!
We really, REALLY
wanted to like this ride a lot...but it's simply not that good. I mean, it's
about on par with Goliath/Titan. It's a good ride, but it just doesn't do that
much. There is very little airtime, some gentle floater at best. We rode in both
the front and the back and we were hoping that this ride had the SFH's
"Goliath Syndrome" where the front seat was amazing, but it wasn't.
*sigh* At least it's a pretty ride!
We headed over to Linear Gale, which we saw running for the first time on this
trip! We had heard some not very good things about this ride as it's the only
Impulse, as far as I know, that doesn't twist on either end. We rode towards the
back of the train and really liked it a lot! It's not better than SUE or SFGam's
V2, but I'd say it's on par with VF's Steel Venom, which for some reason to us
felt weaker than the other two. Fun ride, I think we actually all liked it
better than Thunder Dolphin! We did notice that they were using duct tape to
hold parts of the ride together, though!
We gave the parachute jump a ride before we left. I hadn't been on a stand up
version of the parachutes since Knott's dismantled theirs. This was fun and
brought back memories of when Knott's was a good park!
So next up we headed to Yokohama, about an hour away from Tokyo for two
'seaside' parks: Sea Paradise and Cosmoworld.
Now I want to explain a little bit about both of these parks. We weren't
expecting much. We had heard that they were both your typical seaside place, a
bit run down, and the rides weren't great. So I was picturing something like
Portcawl in Wales or something like Pacific Park in Santa Monica.
We were SO wrong!
These parks were GREAT!!!
Sea Paradise was almost like a Sea World park. Not quite up to par on the
theming, but the place was spotless, very well kept up, and the rides were
First, on to the main coaster there, "Surf Coaster." This is your
typical TDM or "Togo Death Machine." We walked up to it and one look
at the layout all being sick and twisted AND it goes out over the water, we
thought we were in huge trouble! Then up the platform we go, and what do we see?
Trains that look VERY familiar to WindJammer's trains! Same train design, but
different body, and the exact same restraints that the ride opened with! Uh,
THE RIDE WAS GREAT!!!! Turns out, this was probably one of the best coasters of
the trip and a real surprise for today! While it wasn't completely smooth, I
mean it is a Togo after all, it wasn't very rough, and the ride was VERY
interesting. I got front seat POV, so you all will see at some point!
Then onto what was one of the best rides of the trip..."Blue Fall"
This is a 351 foot Intamin Giant Drop. You know how there are some rides that
are tall, but they don't *feel* tall? This ride feels *REALLY* tall! It's like
no Giant Drop I've ever been on....for two reasons:
1. It is so tall that by the time you get to the brakes, the car is going so
fast...faster than ANY other Intamin drop tower I've been on, your feel are
flung up into the air, your pant legs are flapping around, and you FEEL like you
are going REALLY f***ing FAST!!!! It seriously scared the crap out of us, and
there aren't many rides that will still do that! This ride was totally amazing!
2. 3 of the 6 sides do something I've never ever seen or heard of on ANY Intamin
Drop...it has a 'fake drop' on it. "What?" you say? Yes, you heard it
right...about 10 or 15 feet from the top of the drop there is another set of
brakes. You drop...slow down a bit when you hit the brakes, then drop AGAIN! It
was freaking cool! We thought it might be stupid when we saw it go, but it
wasn't! It was REALLY cool! Has anyone EVER heard of any other Intamin drop
doing this?!? We had no idea!
Then comes one of the most bizarre rides I've ever seen in my life. Just when
you thought the "Bullfight" coaster was completely messed up, here
comes the "Water Chute" ride.
Ok, here's the deal on this ride. Picture a very, VERY old school water chute
ride where you have a boat full of about 10 people come down the hill and
splashes into the water. When it hits the water it's no longer on the track, it
literally hits the WATER...as on the OCEAN! It splashes right down into Tokyo
That sounds kind of normal, right? Right! That part is 'sort of normal'....the
messed up part is there is also a 'show element' of this ride. The 'show
element' consists of a live human doing something that made our jaw drop more
than any other ride....
There is a guy who rides, standing up, on the FRONT of the boat all the way down
the chute....when the boat hits the water...he JUMPS UP IN THE AIR, and then
lands back down on the front of the boat!
Yes! You read that
correctly! They do an acrobatic trick RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU landing back on the
front of your boat! And on top of all that, your boat flies off the track and
lands in the Tokyo Bay! How messed up is that??!
Then the 'jumper' is also the guy that pulls out a large oar, and rows the boat
to the unload area then puts the boat back on the track to be pulled up the hill
to load the next group of riders! Check out the photos below. We just couldn't
believe what we were seeing with our own eyes!
So yeah, this park was GREAT! Some real surprises here and if we had the time we
would have visited the 'museum' side of the park, which is more like a Sea
World, but we had to go to our next destination....
Again, we weren't expecting much, but this park was REALLY nice. It was in a
GREAT area too. It reminded me a lot of the Irvine Spectrum or Fashion Island in
Orange County, CA. Very clean, very new looking, surrounded by a upscale looking
business park. It was just a very nice place to be. We saw a lot of 'couples on
dates'...it's that kind of place.
There really isn't anything to compare this to in the U.S. We don't have
anything like these two parks at all. In the U.S. we have a lot of malls and
"Family Entertainment Centers", but nothing on this level. Nothing
this 'clean' and 'comfortable'. It's like if you can have a really nice 'adult'
park to go to without all the annoying people. This is it! I will say that it
seems that as a whole, Japan is FAR more well behaved than America. You just
don't see the kids doing anywhere near as many annoying things as you see in the
U.S. parks. And I think this is why places like Sea Paradise and Cosmoworld work
so well. There are a lot of what I'd consider "mature adults" at these
places because the obnoxious teens aren't annoying them to death.
But anyway, onto the park....the coaster "Vanish" wasn't as good as
the Sea Paradise coaster, but it was still fun. It dives into the water kind of
like PKD's "Anaconda", but here there are lights and a mini-water show
that goes off when the train enters the tunnel (see photo below!)
The ride was kind of rough and very short, but it was fun anyway. They also have
a Reverchon Crazy Mouse here and this one actually spins unlike the version at
Hirakata. And this one spun a LOT! Elissa was not amused!
After getting the credits, we went into the arcade. Arcade games in Japan are so
much different and a LOT cooler! We saw the 'tambourine game', played that drum
game again, Elissa found a 'hit the target with the Frisbee' game, and tons of
other wacky cool stuff!
They also had a shooting dark ride...literally! That was the name of it! Pretty
'meh' ride, but it was still fun. On the "shooting dark rides" in
Japan, you actually get a prize if you get a certain score!
Next up, and our last ride of the trip, was the park's log flume. This was
AWESOME! We watched this ride from the rest of the park and we kind of said 'we
should make that our last ride'. There was more airtime on this one than
Dudley's at IOA. This thing hauled ass! There were even seatbelts on the ride
and it NEEDED THEM! There are two big drops, one of them goes right over where
the coaster dives under the water, which also added to the coolness of this
ride, the other drop, you are already approaching at a very high speed, then you
start to go down this 'coaster like track' into the drop and you're probably
doing like 40MPH at the TOP of the drop! The over the drop you are ejected from
the log! It was insane!
Our night came to a close as we totally kicked all three of these park's asses
today! We headed back to our hotel in Shinjuku and had some of the best Indian
food ever as our final dinner of the trip.
So our trip has come to an end. What can we say? It kicked serious ass! I want
to post more of a re-cap when we get home, but here are some interesting bits of
- We have probably seen more of Japan than most Japanese people have!
- The larger parks turned out to be a disappointment (Fuji-Q, Nagashima Spaland,
etc) but the smaller parks were really great! (Parque Espana, Tobu Zoo, Hirakata,
Sea Paradise, etc)
- Two weeks of traveling all over a country that we don't speak or read the
language, taking busses, trains, taxis, monorails, etc and we never got lost
ONCE. Never got on the wrong train, etc. Lots of pre-planning helped! But we did
a lot better than a certain organized trip to Europe a couple of years ago!
- Food here is GREAT! You can find just about anything: Indian, Italian, and
yes, even Japanese food!
Anyway, onto today's photos!
Back at LaQua, we took another ride on Thunder Dolphin, this time in the
Dan's all "It's good to see they are using a high grade of duct tape to
hold Linear Gale together!
When we saw these "Windjammer" like trains on Surf Coaster at Sea
Paradise, we all thought we would be in trouble!
This ride was awesome! Just look at that layout. It looks like it should be a
Togo Death Machine,
but it was really, really good! Shocked the hell out of all of us!
"Blue Fall" This instantly became our favorite Intamin Giant Drop!
TR on Westcoaster and you'll find out why!
This is that water chute ride I mentioned in the Trip Report.
You can see the 'acrobat' guy STANDING on the front of the boat! Watch what he
Yes, you are seeing that correctly...he JUMPS into the air, about 8 to 10
feet, then LANDS back on the boat!!! OMFG!
What happens if he misses and lands in the water...or on the people?!? The other
interesting thing is this ride flies off the tracks
and lands in the Tokyo Bay. The acrobat guy then rows the boat back to shore to
the unload platform!
One of the strangest rides we've seen on this trip!
Yokohama Cosmoword. Other 'surprise park' on our 'seaside parks of Tokyo'
The diving coaster "Vanish" actually does vanish underwater! Check
out the cool backdrop of this park.
It was a really nice place to visit!
I really hope this drum game makes it to the U.S. I think it may take over
DDR as being our favorite game!
This really is a LOT of fun!
Back in Shinjuku, our final dinner of the trip at the Indian place near our
hotel. Lots of chicken Tikka for all of us!
And just for good measure, I end these trip reports with one last photo of the
"Fishing Restaurant." We all agree this is probably the most f**ked up
thing we've seen in Japan! It is just so strange, so scary, yet SOOOOO cool!!!!
HERE to see our complete Japan Photo Update
HERE to read our "Japan Travel Guide"
HERE to return to Theme Park Review