If you would have told me prior to this trip that I would visit not one, but two amusement parks, I would have laughed in your face. Amusement parks have never really been my thing – too many people, too crowded, too much waiting around, too much adrenaline, too much of everything. I went to Disneyland Paris as a kid and loved it, but that’s about it. Can’t even recall a single other amusement park I went to inbetween. But hey, this trip was all about trying new things, so why not?
I was invited to join three of the buddies I met during the trip to go to Fuji-Q the night before. It went a little something like this:
- ‘Hey, wanna go to Fuji-Q with us tomorrow?’
- ‘…What’s a Fuji Q?’
- ‘It’s an amusement park’
- ‘It has some of the craziest rollercoasters in the world!’
- ‘Also, it’s right next to Mount Fuji, so you can just look at that for a couple of hours if you’re not into the rides’
- ‘I’m in.’
So, yeah. Very spontaneous, went in completely unprepared, and that was probably for the best. Not sure I would have went if I had known what awaited me.
We took a bus that took about 90 minutes to get to the park. It’s a nice ride that gives you a chance to see a lot of nice scenery. Mount Fuji starts to appear after a while and it’s pretty exciting to realize that you’ll be standing real close to it in a bit.
Fuji-Q offers a bunch of different attractions. There is some stuff for kids like a Thomas the Tank Engine land, but I’d say that most of the stuff is about getting your adrenaline going. The four big rollercoasters are definitely the centerpiece of the park, but there is some more stuff to check out. There’s a small French village in front of the entrance for some reason. You can buy express passes for the coasters or just get in line like everybody else.
And then we entered the park and I suddenly realized that shit just got real. I would have to take at least one of these rollercoasters. I’ve avoided these things for my entire life. I’m pretty sure the last one I went on was one of these kiddie coasters on a fair (think one of those). And let me tell you, the makers of Fuji-Q are not fucking around when it comes to rollercoasters. Because the waiting times were pretty dang long, me and two of my three buddies only went on two rides, but that was more than enough for me.
- Some facts shameless stolen from Wikipedia: ’79 metres tall, 130 km/h, opened in 1996 and was once the world’s tallest roller coaster. As of 2007 it is the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest, and 10th fastest roller coaster’
So yeah, I’d say that is a pretty decent first ‘real’ rollercoaster to start with.
As far as the experience…I think I blocked most of it out of my memory. I believe my first words afterwards were ‘well, that was stressful’. Definitely a very interesting experience and the view of Mt. Fuji was incredible. Not sure I’ll ever be super into coasters, but I can understand the appeal and it was definitely a fun thing to cross of my to do list.
Here’s a video of the ride:
- Wikipedia: ‘Was once the world’s fastest roller coaster. As of 2013 it is the 4th fastest in the world but still has the highest acceleration at launch time.’
So yeah, I can say that I went on a world record holder as my second real roller coaster ever. Neato.
To be honest, Dodonpa doesn’t look like much from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. You can tell the acceleration is nuts, but it kinda seemed like that was all that there is to this ride as it just kinda disappears from view. But boy was I wrong. The ride is a lot longer than I imagined and there’s a bunch of stuff going on. On the downside, the waiting period was dreadful with the same 30-second jingle being replayed for at least an hour straight. The initial acceleration is nuts and leaves you completely breathless, but the worst part is the peak and sudden drop that lifts you out of your seat (1:10 mark in the video below).
After that ride, I was satisfied and done for the day. The other two rides look even more extreme, and I didn’t want to push it too much. I got a ton more out of this than I ever imagined. I was happy just walking around the park for the rest of our stay, taking pictures of everything, looking at Mt. Fuji, and getting some food. The sight is truly something to behold.
Important reminder: Do not wrestle the bear.
There’s also a neat Neon Genesis Evangelion exhibit that replicates some scenes from one of the movies(?). It was pretty neat even for someone that knows almost nothing about the show, and I can only imagine it being really awesome for Evangelion fans.
We ended the trip with another shot of Mount Fuji before heading home.
All in all, I’d definitely recommend this trip. But beware – the park definitely is not for everyone. It’s built around the coasters, and everything else feels like a bonus. Most other attractions are built to get your adrenaline pumping. So if you’re not into that stuff at all, than Fuji-Q might not be right for you. But then again, I would’ve put myself into that category prior to going and still had a hell of a time. Either way, just looking at Mt. Fuji is worth the trip.