Amusement Park for the Brave: Fuji-Q Highland
Located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, Fuji-Q Highland (or 富士急ハイランド、 Fujikyuu Hairando, as the locals call it) is not your usual amusement park. For its location which is near the base of Mount Fuji, you might expect to enjoy riding the attractions while casually looking at the beauty of the most respected mountain in Japan.
Well, that, maybe least likely to happen.
The popular attractions in Fuji-Q Highland belong to “screamer” category; in which you will literally screaming out loud (and have a risk of run out of your voice!) while riding them. Of course, that is the main rules of any roller coaster: it has to make you scream! However, the roller coasters in Fuji-Q might only for the brave, as they look incredibly like this:
Or has a very steep track like this,
Or you will be seated in this kind of position:
Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP
Seriously, how can you even look at Mount Fuji during those times? You might already scream the name of your God, or keep swearing the rides while riding the roller coaster! (at least, that’s what I did back then)
Since you have had a little image of what Fuji-Q Highland is, let’s talk about how to get there. It takes about 1.5 hours from central Tokyo by highway bus departing from Shinjuku. I used TOKU QPack for my trip to Fuji-Q Highland, a special low-priced set pass for Fuji-Q Highland and Chuo Highway Bus. It covers one day free pass to most attractions in Fuji-Q Highland (except some, this pack is not valid for “Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear”, special events, the Bowling Center, and any coin-operated attractions) + round trip bus from Shinjuku to Fuji-Q. The price also changes accordingly, it cost us 7300yen (around USD60) on spring 2015. We called the highway bus for asking about the price before making reservation.
Next is making the reservation. You can make the reservations by phone (it might required Japanese language ability –I did not reserve by phone so I could not confirm this), or simpler by Internet (in English) on this address https://www.highwaybus.com/fujiq/en/. There is even tutorial step by step on how to do the reservation, in this link https://www.fujiq.jp/en/qpack/howto.html.
After making the reservation, basically you are done. Some people are confused about the TOKU QPack since on the reservation page of the internet reservation only shows the price for the bus reservation (and does not say anything about the TOKU QPack). Well, no worry. What is left is to print out your reservation page and bring it to the highway bus terminal on your departure day. Tell them that you want to use the QPack (In Japanese, it would be something along the line… TOKU Q-PACK wo tsukaitain desu). You will pay there, and get the ticket for the round trip bus and Fuji-Q highland. Since Shinjuku station can be desperately complicated for some people, make sure that you know the Shinjuku Highway bus terminal before, it is on the west exit of the station, located near the Yodobashi Camera, see the map here https://www.fujiq.jp/en/qpack/ ).
This is inside the Chuo Highway bus we used that time. Pretty comfortable, huh?
Arriving at Fuji-Q, you might be thrilled seeing the appearances of the rides or hearing the screaming of those who ride the attractions, and started to feel adrenaline rushes your body. If you use QPack, you need to exchange the ticket you got from the bus terminal before entering the park. Look for the park’s staffs (they will be wearing park’s themed clothing) and show them your ticket. Put your backpack on the coin locker (inside, or outside the park) and you’re good to go!
This is the first entrance gate of Fuji-Q Highland, which you will see if you come by bus. There are two entrances, and the second entrance is located near the Fuji-Q Highland station (in case you come by train).
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Like in other amusement parks in Japan, what you have to do first is to get the park’s map, or you will run out of time only looking for attractions you want. There is English version map in Fuji-Q Highland (alternatively you can download from here http://www.fujiq.jp/en/map/map1.pdf). Get it and plan your way, which attractions you want to ride first since the queue for riding one attraction can be super long. I was waiting for 3 hours for riding one (popular) attraction at that time! (I came on spring break, so you have to prepare for the long wait if you plan to come to Fuji-Q on the peak season). Some tips: prepare snacks, and play some games during the lining. We played Japanese word game shiritori that time, and it was quite fun! ^^
Attractions in Fuji-Q Highland are categorized into 4: “Screamer”, “Horror”, “Challenge and Happy”, and “Kids”). Popular attractions are mostly in the “Screamer” and “Horror” category. I did not get to try all of the attractions because of the limited time (and my friends were too scared to ride another screamer attractions after riding one). Seems that the attraction we rode first time when we came there (Eejanaika), and made my friends didn’t want to ride another is one of the scariest among all the roller coasters there. Seeing what happened to my friends, it might be better if you start with not so thrilling attractions to prepare your adrenaline. And since some of the attractions, including the popular haunted hospital “Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear” is not covered with the one-day pass, you need to purchase additional ticket for this attraction. For the haunted hospital it costs additional 500yen for one ride.
Eejanaika (ええじゃないか、the third picture above) was what people called with 4th dimension roller coaster, means that the ￼￼riders are rotated independently of the orientation of ￼the track. Eejanaika allows the seats to revolve through 360 degrees and each one turns the ￼riders upside down more than 10 times. You’ll hang in the track with your feet dangling in the ￼air and nothing to steady yourself. It was so thrilling and we were run out of breath for
￼screaming along the way riding the attractions.
￼The popular attractions (on my experience, which seems had the longest waiting time) are: Takabisha (the second picture above), Eejanaika, Dodonpa (they said it is really fast, up to 172 km/h), and maybe also Fujiyama The King of Roller Coaster (the first picture, since it was not operated when we came, I couldn’t confirm this). Despite all of those thrilling roller ￼coaster, there are also some rides which common in amusement parks such as Ferris Wheel, merry-go-round, teacups, and so on. And for kids, there are popular characters-themed ￼parks and rides such as Thomas Land and La ville de Gaspard et Lisa.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼However, since the safety in Japan usually is pretty strict, some attractions might not operate due to bad weather. Fujiyama The King of Roller Coaster did not operate on the day we ￼came; they said the wind was too strong. Some attractions are also could not be enjoyed ￼during rainy days, so you really need to check the weather before deciding when to come. In ￼the guide map you will find the symbol (a little blue umbrella) which shows the attractions that can also be enjoyed on rainy days. Some attractions, again, also closed early on 5 o’clock. So you really need to plan if you want to enjoy many attractions with one-day free pass.
One more tips is, at least you are okay with riding the attractions alone, come with one partner, or an even number of friends to Fuji-Q Highland. Almost all of the attractions in Fuji- Q Highland are two-seated, and in all of the amusement parks in Japan usually they wouldn’t get u seated with other people outside your group if you come alone, or in the case your group are not equal in number (in my experience in Fuji-Q and USJ). It can be pretty lonely to seat alone in the ride screaming, or maybe you can feel safer with friend beside you. But no need to worry, it is perfectly okay to ride alone also.
￼For the foods, there are several restaurants inside the attractions, and also several small snack shops for fast foods like fried potato, burger, kebab, pizza, or crepe, and do not forget Japanese snack specialties such as taiyaki, takoyaki, and so on. For souvenirs, there are a lot of varieties like in usual souvenir shops in Japan: mug, towel, phone and key strap, t-shirt, Japanese sweets (mount fuji-shaped cookies), Yamanashi prefecture specialties, and more.
Last, what is best after tiring yourself on a day in amusement park? Yes, you are correct. Soaking your body in a refreshing Japanese hot spring, or onsen. You can find one easily around the area, the Fujiyama Hot Spring, about 10 minutes walk from the park. Have a good day at Fuji-Q Highland!
Location: 5-6-1 Shin-Nishihara. Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture 403-0017 Japan Ticket: 7300yen (One day free pass + round trip bus from Shinjuku, March 2015)
Official website: https://www.fujiq.jp/en/
Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00am on weekday; 9:00am-6:00pm on weekend and holiday (Opening hours will be changed due to season)