Most people know about Tokyo’s Disneyland and a decent amount know of Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan (also known as USJ, which is eerily similar to Universal Studios in Orlando btw) but not many know about Japan’s lesser-known amusement park, Fuji-Q Highland (富士急ハイランド). Fuji-Q Highland was built many many years ago in 1961, and has seen many rides come and go. Their claim to fame erupted in 1996 with the introduction of the Fujiyama coaster, and since then Fuji-Q has been the proud home to many many more. There are also a slew of entertaining Fuji-Q commercials to be found on YouTube. Seriously, they’re super weird. Check ’em out.
Fuji-Q is chock-full of present and past record breakers, so there’s no doubt you’ll find your fair share of thrills here. If you aren’t the biggest fan of roller coasters, there are plenty of other attractions to experience, including many anime-related offerings.
Fuji-Q is also open practically all year (talk about dedication, places like Cedar Point are only open mid-May through October and even then it’s pretty spotty in the last two months). The only days that Fuji-Q is shut down are public holidays and one additional day out of each month. Looks like the party never stops at Fuji-Q.
Where You Can Find It
Located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Fuji-Q Highland is right near the base of Mount Fuji (prime real estate to be sure). Some people go to Mt. Fuji itself and climb it (pshhh). Alternatively, let others go climb the thing and go here instead.
Fuji-Q Highland has roller coasters, The Haunted Hospital (the world’s second largest haunted attraction to Erebus I believe, located in Pontiac Michigan), and Thomas Land, a play-land for children with the theme of Thomas the Tank Engine (who is strangely popular in Japan for some reason), along with many anime themed attractions as well. You can check out a slightly outdated but highly detailed map of the park here, and a more updated but less detailed one here.
Evangelion World & Other Anime/Game Inspired Places
Home at last!
Fuji-Q is also home to ‘Evangelion World’ which was inspired by the manga/anime/movies of Neon Genesis Evangelion. You can play around recreations of particular scenes, check out life-sized models of most of the characters, and even have your photo taken inside of an Eva cockpit. The attraction certainly caters heavily to those already familiar with the series, but the place is pretty impressive regardless. Here’s a great video walk-through of the place:
The massive recreations of the Eva units themselves are also very impressive. They are positioned dramatically and have fancy lights and videos playing along with them to make everything seem super epic and awesome. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the world of Evangelion than this place. The park also has other anime themed attractions such as Gundam Crisis and Sengoku Basara Battle.
The Haunted Hospital
As I mentioned above, Fuji-Q is also home to the world’s second largest haunted attraction, The Haunted Hospital. The Haunted Hospital itself is a huge maze which can take up to an hour to complete. Oh, and did I mention it’s terrifying?
You need to get in line for this one early though because it is one of the most popular attractions in the entire park.
Note From Koichi: I had only been to crappy non-Japanese horror-houses before coming to Fuji-Q Highland. You walk through it (none of this stupid on-rails stuff) and it’s filled with terrifying situations and actors, all dressed up as zombie-hospital people. They actually chase you too, though we found that if you slow down, they slow down with you. Even though we knew it was all fake (did we really, though?) we were terrified the whole time, constantly running about, feeling worried about moving on to the next area, and in general just having the time of our lives. This really is one of the best (if not the best) horror houses in Japan – make a point to go here if you come to Fuji-Q. Oh, and if you’re too much of a crybaby, there’s doors every once in a while you can escape out of. Behind those doors is a well lit corridor (I imagine) full of crying people (not imagined).
Talk about a drop, amirite?
Fuji-Q Highland also has its fair share of roller coasters. The four most well known would have to be the Fujiyama, Dodonpa, Eijanaika, and Takabisha rides. Their stats are as follows:
79 meters tall, 130 km/h, opened in 1996 and was once the world’s tallest roller coaster. As of 2007 it was the world’s 8th tallest, 5th longest, and 10th fastest roller coaster. The name Fujiyama comes from Mt. Fuji, and you can get a great view of it when you’re at the top of the coaster.
52 meters tall, 172 km/h, opened in 2001 and was once the world’s fastest roller coaster. As of 2007 it was the 3rd fastest in the world but still has the highest acceleration at launch time (which it reaches in 1.8 seconds!) The name comes from the sounds made from a taiko drum, which you can hear whilst in line.
76 meters tall, 126 km/h, opened in 2006 and is only the second 4th Dimensional roller coaster ever built (the first being X² at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California). As a 4D roller coaster, its seats can rotate 360 degrees forward or backward in a controlled spin, thus allowing Eejanaika to invert 14 different times, even though the actual track inverts only three times. Because of this, it holds the record for having the most inversions on a roller coaster. It also surpasses the first built X² in both height and speed.
(caution – the video contains some vulgar, but highly entertaining profanity).
Opened on 16 July 2011, Takabisha contains a 121 degree free-fall, as well as seven major twists over 1000 meters of track, and a drop of 43 meters. Not to be bested, America retaliated with the release of the Green Lantern coaster in Six Flags earlier this week on December 15th, which boasts a drop of 122 degrees. Pretty intimidating drop if you ask me.
Roller Coaster Stats via Wikipedia
So how many of you have been to an amusement park in Japan? The only one I’ve been to is USJ and it was a little light on thrills. How does Fuji-Q compare to the likes of the better known Tokyo Disneyland and USJ? Let us know in the comments below.
Note From Koichi: Even though the awesome John wrote this post, Fuji-Q is seriously one of my favorite amusement parks ever (could you not tell from the title?). If you’re in it for thrills, this is one of the greatest places to be. From roller coasters (which are awesome) to the haunted hospital (even more awesomerest), I can’t remember an amusement park that was more exciting. Seriously, you should go here instead of climbing mount Fuji, even though it’s right nearby. This place ought to be the attraction of the area, not that really pretty, super-famous mountain nobody really cares about. Some people may think this is crazy, but I was going to Mt. Fuji originally, just to climb the dumb thing, and then I came across this place. Do you think I went to Mt. Fuji? Nope. I don’t regret it one bit, either. Oh, if you come here, though, show up early. The lines get long and take a while to get through (it’s kind of known for having slow, crappy lines). Prioritize what you want to ride / see beforehand, too – I’d go Haunted Hospital first, and then hit some of the crazier roller coasters next. Then, you have time to walk around and take your time while being spun 14 different times on a 4D roller coaster. Oh how casual of you.