China + Japan 06/19 – Okayama
Day 5 – Miroku no Sato
The adventure continues in yet another seemingly abandoned park. We were the second car into the car park and that was it for the foreseeable future.
They didn’t have enough staff to simultaneously run both the ticket window and the turnstiles to get in, so you could have potentially just walked in without much resistance. This is Japan though, so that wouldn’t happen.
Paid our dues and headed to the back of the park for the big cred, where the quietness turned into a right pain. There were no staff at this end of the park at all, the ride had a sign about maintenance as well as there being tins of grease on the platform and dust covers on parts of the train. That… doesn’t look good.
Also to my surprise, the engineers that we saw on our way up had turned on the Ferris Wheel for the morning and then left it running totally unsupervised. I could have let myself on or gone into the control box and had a play, had I fancied.
Back to the other end of the park then, which was quite the ordeal due to the weather suddenly being a lot hotter. A small school group had just entered the park and the little cred was up and running.
Grab that then, with it’s cute caterpillar face. And what a layout – a slow drop into a vicious unbanked corner, end.
The same maintenance sign from the other ride was also present here, just tucked to the side. So by Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction, it seemed like it was a sign generally used to shut something rather than having such a specific purpose. There’s still hope.
With that in mind, went to the little service centre to try get some information on the status of the other cred. Was greeted by an old man who, though friendly, was utterly useless. It was quite clear I don’t speak the language and my questioning was all done through what I at least believed to be universally understandable gesturing and pointing with maps, clocks, etc. His solution to responding was to speak very slowly in Japanese with zero expression on his face and absolutely no attempt to gesture or mime in return.
Though we had other places to be today, I wasn’t giving up yet. Walked once again to the other end of the park as I’d noticed other guests slowly heading that way. Maybe that will spark some life into the staff.
Breaking news in the industry – this ride is white on RCDB. It is now pink.
There was a little go karts attraction at the top and that was being alternately operated by a single guy who was also now looking after the ferris wheel. The engineers also arrived back up the hill and began to carry out what I assumed to be a ground level track walk on the cred. A good sign.
Camped it out for a good hour in the shade, watching various other activities take place like turning the chain on and watching all the links. Gut instinct said this was all ‘morning’ checks rather than full blown maintenance, though the morning was fading fast. Rather than bother the engineers, decided to have an attempt at asking the lone operator what time it would open. Luckily he knew a smidge of English and managed to say “thirteen”. 1pm then, good man.
Considering the park opened at 9 and that was another good hour of waiting, got fed up of sitting around there and went back to the car for a while, assessing the various travel options – there’s still a long, long way to go today.
But I hadn’t come here for nothing. Headed back in just before 1 to see it testing. Good.
More breaking news – it used to be called Himalaya Coaster, but is now known as Music Go- star. Isn’t that something.
The Music part is reference to these speakers in the magnificent 900° helix and it also has a shiny new fountain plaza to go with it.
And wait, what’s this? 2 of the cars are now backwards! This is too much excitement to handle.
So I got on it, backwards of course. It ain’t very good.
Going backwards made it a bit more interesting, but it’s a tad on the rough side and too jolty to provide legit airtime in the single drop and air time hill before it corners forever and ends.
The corner wasn’t smooth then it does that dumb early Arrow style ‘let’s keep the banking of this transition continuing through this extended straight line’, which is also the brake run, which is made from reverse kicker wheel tyres. That’s just bad planning.
Off we go.
Brazilian Park Washuzan Highland
Was quite excited for this place. Another nice location. They’ve got one of my rides, a Togo Standup and a jet coaster with good views.
Got to the ticket window to be greeted with “English?” “Yes mate.”
A map was pulled out and the phrase “rollercoaster closed” was used, followed by marking an X in pencil against the 3 creds I just mentioned.
So, all of them then?
Arigatō and sayonara.
The view of walking away disappointed.
Time for an esoteric reference to my Oakwood trip report.
Who needs coasters when you can have castles?
This is Okayama Castle.
Pretty isn’t it.
The day didn’t end there as we had to be in Osaka that night to drop off the car. It was gonna be intense, following the delays in the morning.
The sat nav in the car was nice enough to not be up to date and we ended up losing another half hour (and probably £20 in tolls) getting lost on a brand new highway that it didn’t even know existed. “Keep right” my arse.
That was enough to tip the timing over the edge and unfortunately the people at the car hire place had gone home for the day. Managed to park it in their actual multi-storey overnight at least, planning to chuck the key their way in the morning.
Up next – more intense timing. It’s the Osaka way.