Top 10 coaster reasons to visit Japan

Following on from my cold and calculated list of top ten countries for coasters, I thought it would be good to follow up with some warm and fuzzy (weather permitting) examples of the actual coasters that each one has to offer, a top ten within a top ten as it were.

The first few lists in this series fell into place relatively easily as there wasn’t a huge amount to choose from. Japan is the first of a different story though, I’ve ridden over 100 coasters here and still have a fair few that I really want to visit. Whilst I will still of course be considering unique and interesting draws, the sheer number here will largely lend itself to being a list of highlights and personal favourites.

#10 Milky Way – Greenland

We’ll start with something distinctly Japanese. Togo are the kings of stand-up coasters and I think it’s a real shame the ride type has seemingly died out. The best local example of this hardware is one half of this racing coaster at Greenland that happens to include some terrifying standing airtime.

#9 Do-Dodonpa – Fuji-Q Highland

I have a huge amount of respect for Fuji-Q and the way all 4 of the headline attractions almost have equal billing in terms of legendary ‘big name’ status throughout the industry, something almost no other park has achieved on the same scale.
I’m going to jump at another opportunity to demonstrate why I don’t like clones here and say that Takabisha would have had this slot in the list as I preferred it to the Donp. BUT, there’s one in a mall in America now, to satisfy all those who would look at a coaster in Asia and say ‘they should build one of those over here’, instead of ‘they should build something unique’ and taking the opportunity to travel abroad (win win). So why would you bother going to Japan?
Fortunately they still uniquely have the world’s fastest accelerating coaster. Is it thrilling and fun? Yes. Is it worth travelling for? Yes. Is it as good as I wanted it to be? Sadly not.

#8 Steel Dragon 2000 – Nagashima Spa Land

Another giant that I found slightly underwhelming, but simply by merit of its existence you can’t deny a Giga coaster, particularly when it’s also the longest coaster in the world. The first half leans much closer to ’90s hyper in execution in that it’s all visual with no sensation, but the second half with its ridiculously long consecutive sequence of decent airtime hills is great fun.

#7 Bandit – Yomiuriland

Honestly if I’m looking for that style of huge ride with not much going on, I’d much rather ride this monster (and visit this park). I have a bit of a thing for the Japanese Jet coaster, characterised by having shallow drops and layouts that are… less than inspired, they’re just so quaint and happy fun time. Bandit is by far the largest example of these, is a terrain coaster and is actually rather intense to boot. Then you chuck in the experience of ‘Wet Bandit‘ and it’s on a whole different level.

#6 Fujiyama – Fuji-Q Highland

Back to Fuji-Q but sticking to Togo, this is what happened when they stretched beyond Jet coaster, went for some more world records and tried out some hyper style significant drops. The result is a little off, but in a way that I greatly appreciate, particularly in the final moments when it just totally loses any sense of control. It’s very different and a hugely welcome change to the underwhelming cookie cutter hypers out there.

#5 Hollywood Dream (Backdrop) – Universal Studios Japan

Another hugely welcome change to the hyper scene, this one isn’t even tall enough. It also follows a rather untraditional layout which I’m all for. The best ride I’ve ever had on a B&M hyper, a ride type I respect more than love, was on this one, backwards, in the dark, music blaring from the onboard speakers. How many places can you have all of that at once? We’re in game changing territory now.

#4 Pyrenees – Parque Espana

Another exceptional B&M coaster in Japan, this time in the form of an invert. It’s my overall favourite of the type, perfectly blending all the things I love about them most. Not to be missed.

#3 Flying Dinosaur – Universal Studios Japan

These are all segueing rather nicely, from my favourite B&M invert to my number one B&M flyer. I consider this to be the finest creation to ever come from the manufacturer, being ridiculously intense and pushing the human body to limits it may or may not be able to handle.

#2 Hakugei – Nagashima Spa Land

I literally came back to this country just for this ride, in a park I’m not too keen on, so that should say enough about how significant Hakugei is to me. As the first RMC to break into the Asian market, they really pulled something special out of the bag here with their conversion of the classic woodie White Cyclone. It’s a top ten worldwide for me right now and I hope it caught the eyes of several neighbours.

#1 Eejanaika – Fuji-Q Highland

But there’s another coaster in my top ten out here and it happens to be the greatest working example of an S&S 4D coaster, one of the rarest and most sought after ride types in the world. No other piece of hardware in existence can do to you what Eejanaika does. I can’t process it or describe it, I almost can’t handle it, but I know that I love it beyond description. X2 needs to bow down to this one, there is no comparison.

Wait, no heartline coaster? Not just yet. I’m still saving myself for this bad boy.

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  1. pernillabredolt
    8 November 2020 - 08:48

    Wow! Looks like great places all of them. Can’t wait until next visit to Japan.

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