Fuji Q Highland is the best theme park near Tokyo, if you’re a roller coaster junkie and judging it purely on the rides. If you’re not, however, this is the wost place on earth. Personally, I am a huge fan of roller coasters, but even then this place tested my patience, and let me tell you why.
The waiting time is insane. I went to Fuji Q on 2 weekdays in September, after the kids had already resumed school. The waiting time for all the big rides (there are only 4 of them, excluding the haunted house) was between 2 and 3 hours. Granted, the waiting time was shorter than the signs posted at the queue entrance, it was still way too long than even I would want to wait for a ride. The waiting was so excruciating that by ride number 3 we had exhausted any desire to play charades or word games to pass the time and were sort of just slumping around like a bunch of zombies. And god help you if you get stuck in front or behind a group of yankiis, because those little delinquents will consistently annoy the crap out of you for the whole 2-3 hours you’re there. Now you might say that I should have waited for the university students to go back at the end of the month, but they already have so many holes in their schedule I doubt that it would have helped. You can also buy fast passes for rides if you’re rich (they’re 1000 yen per ride), but they sell out within the first few hours of the park opening and you have to wait in line for them for about an hour too, so…
I had to go to Fuji Q twice just to get on all the rides, so here is how I would rate them:
Eejanaika is a 4th dimension coaster, which means that the seats spin while your legs dangle helplessly. By the time we got to this ride, it was already dark, and this made it all the more terrifying. You literally can’t tell which way is up or what the hell is happening because you can’t see anything except the occasional support beams that flash by as your spinning seat flies through the night. I’m not a screamer, but I screamed from the second this ride dropped to the second it was over. It was definitely the most intense ride I’ve ever been on. If you want to experience it in the dark, I’d recommend going to queue 3-4 hours before the park closing time, because that is around the time they start closing the lines. Or do this one first thing in the morning to get it our of the way.
This ride is the newest coaster in Fuji Q, and is a lot of fun. It’s famous for a 121 degree drop, which may or may not still hold the world record. It has a lot of nice inversions, and the length of the ride almost makes waiting for it worthwhile. Almost.
An oldie but goldie, this ride combines height, speed and length to create a really enjoyable experience. I think because it’s been around for so long, the queues for it are shorter than for the others, so it would be safe to say that the queue for this one closes the latest, but the view from the top might be worth going earlier on in the day for, especially on a clear day.
For all you Brits out there, Dodonpa is just a shittier version of Stealth from Thorpe Park. It does go fast, but it never manages to achieve the same momentum as Stealth. If there’s one ride you skip on your visit, and there will be because you won’t have time to go on all of them, make sure it’s this one! The awful queue to ride time ratio doesn’t help either.
Special Bonus: The World’s Longest Haunted House. Ha.
Now, I love haunted houses. I really do. The park site and everyone I’ve ever talked to say that this attraction lasts about an hour. If you’re walking with a zimmer frame maybe (don’t go here if you have mobility issues, there are too many stairs). We were in and out of there in 20-25 minutes max. And that includes about a 10 minute explanation of what to do, watching a video and getting your photo taken. I know that we were walking faster than average, because at one point we caught up with the group in front of us, who turned around and proceeded to scream at me for about 2 minutes because apparently a white girl is more terrifying than the bros in hospital gowns and bloody make-up. Anyway, this valiant, brave group of male university students proceeded to let us go first so they could stay back and watch what happens. And go first we did. The end of the attraction is pretty fun, so I won’t spoil that for you, but the best part for me was the beginning, when they’re just building atmosphere and throwing some nice sound effects around just to mess with you. You have to pay an extra 500 yen to do this, and at almost 3 hours this was the longest line we stood in, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to go. This still wasn’t as scary as the Tenjin Horror House I went to in Fukuoka a few years ago. That one was around 8 minutes long, but those guys really knew what they were doing.
There are some smaller rides that can be quite fun, like the giant spinning pizza, so if you’re not a coaster junkie you can avoid the ridiculous lines and maybe actually have some fun. There’s also Evangelion World, so if you’re a fan of Evangelion this place was practically deserted!
If you do plan on going, there are combination tickets for the bus to and from the park and entree to the park that save you a bit of money. You can buy this at the convenience store terminals if you possess some knowledge of Japanese, or at the bus station west of Shinjuku JR station if you do not. I’d bring one of those folding camping chairs if I were you though!