Fuji-Q Highland

One of the highlights of our trip to Tokyo was Fuji-Q Highland. We are roller coaster junkies and it was one theme park that we didn’t want to miss. There was only enough time for us to take three rides but the adrenaline rush from these three is probably more than what most theme parks can offer.

The first ride was Eejanaika, a 4th dimension roller coaster with the greatest number of inversions in the world. According to wikipedia, a 4th dimension roller coaster is a type of steel roller coaster whereby riders are rotated independently of the orientation of the track, generally about a horizontal axis that is perpendicular to the track where the cars do not necessarily need to be fixed to an angle.

The 2 hour waiting line barely quailed my excitement to be on the ride. There couldn’t be a better way to start the day than a 4th dimension roller coaster ride with a Guinness world record! The 14 inversions on the 8th tallest roller coaster in the world definitely added more oomph to this crazy ride. Just think of it as ups and downs with alternate view of land and sky. 😉

Not the best panaroma shot of Fujiyama 😛

Fujiyama with Mount Fuji in the background

Fujiyama, the king of roller coasters was our second ride. It is the 8th largest drop at 230 feet, 7th highest (259 feet) and 3rd longest roller coaster ride in the world. You can almost feel the love everyone had for this ride while standing in the line, and you have to sit the ride to understand how an old school out and back roller coaster nails it even without any loops. I wished I didn’t tighten my seat belts so much that I missed out on all the air-time throughout the bunny hops which is like the highlight!

We only had enough time for one last ride due to the long queues and we chose Fuji-Q Highland’s new ride, Takabisha over Dodonpa. Opened on 16 July 2011, it is the world’s steepest roller coaster with a beyond-vertical drop of 121°. I felt that it was the least enjoyable, or should I say scary, ride of the three though. It starts in pitch darkness below it launches into a few crazy loops and makes its way up a 90° slope where you are perpendicular to the ground. It then takes its time to creep on top of the loop before it descends quickly down the 121° drop and zooms into a few more loops. It felt too deliberate at times and it was too well executed that it took away from the thrill factor. To think I thought it would have been the most scary ride!

Ack my hand looks awkward but obligatory churro shot!

Fuji-Q Highlands is about 2 hours from Tokyo and we bought the Q pack which was quite a good deal. 7,100 yen for a day pass as well as a return express bus ticket which you can choose between a few time slots. The bus terminal is also conveniently located in Shinjuku station which was quite near the hotel we stayed in. 🙂

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Mount Takao

One of our first destinations in Tokyo was Mount Takao (高尾山, Takaosan) which was about an hour’s train ride from Shinjuku. It was fun standing in the first carriage that’s just behind the driver!

At Mount Takao, there are eight trails ranging from 900m to 18.5km that will lead you up to the summit as well as a chair lift and cable railway that will bring you to the halfway mark. We decided to take the chair lifts up (it is too scary to take it down the steep slope) and cable railway down, so that we can try both. 🙂It took us about an hour to hike our way up, and boy was it a great way to exercise in the cool weather and escape from the urban area for the day! We could see the mountains through the foggy day although we were not sure if Mount Fuji was one of them. I’m sure it will be very pretty when the tree leaves change colour in the later part of autumn.

Our reward for surviving the hike with my heavy camera gear? Delicious black bean snack that looks like an angry bird!

Tips:

  • Visit Mount Takao on a weekday to avoid the crowd
  • There are many shops along the way and traditional snacks in the surrounding area so you don’t need to pack much food or drinks for the hike
  • The purple soft serve ice cream was not nice unless you like ice cream that taste like bubblegum
  • You can wash your shoes with a brush at the tap in the station

Gyoza crazy moments in Tokyo

I would have been happy with normal gyoza, but the curious side of me ordered the different ones every time. This furry looking gyoza was delish! The use of takopachi ingredients – Japanese mayonnaise with seaweed and dried bonito flakes – brought a whole new level of yummy to the classic pan fried gyoza.

And we didn’t just stop at ramen joints to enjoy gyoza. A special trip was made to the gyoza food museum in Namco Namjatown. It was like a food place where everyone sold gyoza. You can either eat at the individual stores, or order takeaway and feast at a general eating area.

Here’s what we tried:

Mini gyoza in beer broth

Lemony gyoza

Shrimp Gyoza that are wrapped like spring rolls

A set of cheesy gyoza, cold udon and lemonade

Ah, I really miss gyoza!

Related post: A taste of Japan: Ramen