Korea + Japan 09/18 – Yomiuriland

Day 8

Morning now and an attempt for the stupid hotel to redeem itself. Apparently it afforded fantastic views of Mount Fuji, sadly the reality was it offered fantastic views of a man’s house, redemption failed…

This morning we were headed to our new hotel (this time a real one) in central Tokyo, where we were going to spend the rest of our time in Japan.

After dropping off our trusted car and paying over £200 in toll fees, we ditched our luggage at the hotel and jumped on public transport (we will get back to this later) on route to a very special event.

Heartline had discovered that one my favourite K-Pop groups, Oh My Girl, were in Tokyo for a 1 day only special event in a popular Japanese mall and through multiple emails with the event team I felt I at least half understood what was happening and when.

To over simplify a ridiculously complicated process…

Oh My Girl’s debut Japanese album was on sale in the mall and in every album was a photocard of one of the members. Depending on how many photocards you had you got to claim various awesome rewards. I think you can see where this is heading…

One photocard got you a high five with said member, two photocards of different members gave you the option to pick one and have a prolonged handshake and chat with them and two photocards of the same member got you a signing with that member and a selfie.

Complimenting meeting the girls by redeeming your photocards, was those who bought 3 albums or more got to attend 2 mini concerts.

The 2 hour queue to buy CDs flew by in minutes and soon I was holding 3 copies as if they were gold.

My photocards didn’t quite go the way I wanted but thanks to trading with Heartline I was able to get a handshake and chat with my favourite member, Arin.

After the awesome first mini concert I had my one on one meeting with Arin. If you’ve ever met one of your favourite K-Pop idols you’ll know exactly how I felt, if you haven’t there’s no point trying to understand.

Now with only 1 card left I convinced myself to queue up again to get another CD, to gain the opportunity to get another handshake and chat, this time with the beautiful Seunghee.

After an even better second mini concert (Arin recognised me from our previous meeting and waved), I got my handshake with Seunghee, who spent our entire life changing interaction in shock that a random English man had come to see them in Japan, if it counts for anything, I’d do it again.

The entire experience felt like it had lasted an hour (the best hour of my life) but had actually gone on for a little over 7, meaning that by the time we were finished there wasn’t very much left of the day.

On one of the previous days I saw on the tv in passing something about a typhoon. While in McDonalds still in a daze after the day’s event, Heartline’s wife tells us that, that typhoon was going to hit Japan in 3 days and it was going to pose danger to properties and life, I wonder if Fuji Q operates in a typhoon?

Joypolis

With it now raining as well as being late we gave up on original plan of doing Joypolis and Tokyo Dome and chose instead to just hit Joypolis.

Rather luckily located 5 minutes from the mall, Joypolis is a sadly quite disappointing arcade featuring a Gertslauer spinner.

When picturing a large scale arcade in Japan of all places, I thought of floor upon floor of countless ultra high tech arcade machines and an atmosphere that was bordering on too intense but alas no. Tokyo Joypolis is 3 floors of really not much at all worth doing.

Gekion Live Coaster – Gekion Live is a Gertslauer spinner that’s half arcade machine, half coaster.

You start out playing a rhythm based game while the coaster crawls past screens in the dark. Then you are launched out into the arcade and through an inline, which is by far the best bit of the ride. After the inline you leave the arcade again and enter a room with a light show and screens while the coaster doesn’t really do much of anything. Nothing of note really took place in the final part of the coaster and hardly any spinning either.

It’s certainly interesting but it isn’t very good.

Day 9

Those reading through this in order will remember on one of the days we had the car we managed to knock off 3 parks in 1 day. Well today we were going to try that same approach but on the Tokyo transport system, what could possibly go right?

The Tokyo transport system is an absolute mess. On top of the fact it’s incredibly complicated, different bits are also owned by at least 5 different companies. You need different tickets for each of the different companies, so it’s not uncommon to need 3 different tickets for 1 trip on the metro. This means that the super value day passes you can buy from the many companies only work on their little bit of the network and as soon as you leave you have to go back to paying again and it’s not obvious who owns which bit so you’ll almost certainly be paying the fare adjustment costs and getting beeped at by the barriers for doing it wrong. Then there’s the cost…

1 – 4 stops on the metro costs you 3 pounds, 4 – 8 stops costs you 6 pounds and so on, which is why the day passes would be super handy if it wasn’t for the fact as mentioned they are company specific and once you the leave that company’s bit you’ll have to start paying those prices again.

Also not helping things is the fact that Tokyo rail/metro companies seem to be staffed by the worst Japan can offer. Anywhere else in Japan they’ll go so far out of their way to help you that it makes you feel guilty but on the trains at BEST you’ll get “sorry no speak English”.

We originally intended to start our day at Sea Paradise but after getting not quite half way there and realising it had already taken an hour due to train faff, we came to the conclusion that we’d have to ditch it if we wanted to hit the 2 preferred parks today.

Yokohama Cosmoworld was our next destination and we arrived in Yokohama station at 10am, it was just a shame the park didn’t open until 11… Shortly after arriving it began to rain so we killed the hour in the second Starbucks of the trip, I really am starting to associate Starbucks with disappointment.

Talking of disappointment…

We got to Yokohama Cosmoworld a little after opening to the sight of both the major coasters being under tarp. After asking guest services they told us they’d walk the track at some point and if they looked dry they might open them. The coasters really weren’t worth waiting around for so we opted to just move on to the next park. On the way out we knocked off the kiddie cred which rather insultingly was open.

Yomiuriland

With 2 parks missed, hideous amounts of train faff and the rain still falling on and off, we really needed Yomiuriland to lift our spirits and it certainly did.

As we were on the cable car that takes you from the station to the park entrance it began to rain again and it really did feel like all hope was lost

Though when asking the man at the ticket office if the coasters were open he replied “they might close if the weather gets really bad”, so there’s hope you say?

Bandit – We powered straight to Bandit, the park’s giant Togo jet coaster. Bandit is a monster, at nearly 200 feet tall and over 5,000 feet in length, it almost doesn’t seem real, but don’t worry it gets even more insane…

Not really paying attention in our rush to get to the coaster, it turns out we entered the queue for “Wet Bandit”, this is a special mode they put Bandit in during the summer months and we were in for a shock.

Before being dispatched Big Bang’s Bang Bang Bang played while the staff made everyone clap along. Then we dispatched and as we took a turn to the right towards the lift hill a giant water geyser went off absolutely soaking everyone. I spent the entire lifthill laughing, thinking what the hell just happened, will anything else happen?

I didn’t have to wait long for an answer because as soon as we began to descend down Bandit’s massive drop, from the trees to the left of the ride, water was shot easily 100 foot in the air, landing on us by the time we reached the bottom, Jesus Christ! Almost Valhalla wet now and laughing so hard I wasn’t braced so was getting the crap beaten out of me, this was awesome. Wet Bandit’s final surprise was a wall of water awaiting us on the entry to the brakes.

So I just came from a park that’s waiting for the track of a jet coaster to dry while I’m riding a nearly 200 foot tall one that’s shooting water 100 feet in the air and then onto the track, that makes sense.

I’ll more than forgive it for it’s age and charm but it’s fair to say Bandit is a bit of a rough monster, nothing serious but certainly some vicious jolts in places.

Wan Wan Coaster Wandit – Truly one of the greatest coaster names out there.

Momonga Standing And Loop Coaster – This Togo coaster gives you the option of riding in sitting or standing trains using a switch track in the station. The sitting train offered a rather bland ride but the standing one was good fun. You are actually fully standing on the Togo coasters as opposed to sitting uncomfortably on your balls like on Intamin and B&M stand ups. The exposed feeling of truly standing with not much holding you in really makes the standing aspect appealing. Who knew Togo were the kings of the stand up coasters?

Spin Runway – Spin Runaway is another Gertslauer spinning coaster but this time themed to working in a fashion factory, no really.

Unfortunately after the highly detailed queue, the coaster itself takes place in almost complete darkness and much like Gekion from earlier it really doesn’t do much of anything exciting.

From disappointment to probably the best ride in the park, sorry Bandit.

Splash UFO – Splash UFO is the park’s rapids ride, a rapids ride themed to cup noodles, yeah seriously.

This thing was insane, which you’d expect from the lunatics at Hafema.

I was expecting a tame indoors rapids ride with cup noodle theming but was presented with River Quest’s whirlpool, bouncing off walls at 40mph, steep drops and sheer terror, I absolutely loved it.

With all the rides we wanted to experience knocked off, we went for a ride on the park’s Ferris wheel.

Yomiuriland was great and brought the day back from total failure. Quality rides combined with a really wacky sense of fun made for a really enjoyable few hours.

To end the day we picked up our hire car for our trip to Fuji Q the next day. We had forgotten to ask for the ETC card so discovered it was going to cost us £84 return in tolls to get to Fuji Q…

Thanks for reading, click here for day 10 of my report where we visit the legendary Fuji Q.

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