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

A taste of Japan: Ramen

Tokyo was a blast. None of our meals was disappointing even though we usually order by pointing at the pictures since we can’t read japanese other than the occassional characters that are similar to chinese.

I can’t tell you exactly what we tried but we went for quite a few ramen joints. Our first dinner in Tokyo was the spicy tofu ramen that was just across our hotel. We also had spicy cream based ramen that was flat like mee pok the next day for lunch, and I think the rainy day made the pipping hot noodles tasted even better. Priced between 15 to 35 SGD (750 – 2000 yen), most of them had strong flavor which can at times be too salty.

Shoyu RamenKara miso RamenCha-suCha-suCha-suOur friend in Tokyo also brought us to Santouka Ramen that was located in a discreet alley between the shopping malls in Harajuku. He mentioned that it is a popular ramen chain in Tokyo and the Japanese, especially young adults, enjoy eating ramen. There were the usual broth like shio (salt), miso (soybean) and shoyu (soy sauce) as well as kara-miso (spicy miso) and a dry ramen that you can dip into the sauce. It may not seem very special (i blame globalisation) but I don’t think it will be easy to replicate the heavenly cha-su anywhere else. The meat was so soft that it simply melted the moment we place it in our mouth and the fats turn into yummy goo that’s worth any extra cholesterol.

Wow, I just realise that they have two outlets in Singapore! Maybe I should try it soon to taste the difference. 🙂

  • 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-76, The CENTRAL, Singapore 059817
  • 21 Cuppage Road, Cuppage Terrace, Singapore 229452

Over-indulgence

From left clockwise: Ikoi, Ootoya, Akira, Marutama, Hachi Tei, Ootoya

From left clockwise: Cold Storage, Chikuwatei, Sun with Moon, Sushi Tei, Watami, Black Pig Ramen Shabu 29

What whets my appetite. As you can guess, I’ll have Japanese for breakfast lunch dinner and supper too if they are opened those hours. I miss being in Japan. It’s a food heaven where you’d be walking along the street and you can take a chance with any random average stall and odds are it’ll be something better than you’d ever find in Singapore.