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 me!

Saturday - LaQua 3rd Visit, Sea Paradise and Yokohama Cosmoworld
Click HERE to see our complete LaQua Photo Update 
Click HERE to see our complete Sea Paradise Photo Update
Click HERE 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 GREAT!

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, oh....

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 Bay!

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....

"Yokohama Cosmoworld"

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 info:

- 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 front seat

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! Read the 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 does next....

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' tour!

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!!!!

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