Rollercoaster Ranking – Nagashima Spa Land
Home to the most rollercoasters in any one park across Asia, Nagashima is Japan’s answer to the classic American mega park setup, often affectionately dubbed by us as ‘concrete and rides.’ This place has caused me considerable pain over the past few years with dodgy operations, staff issues and even some unsavoury guest experiences. Overall this gives it very un-Japanese feel for me and I think it’s a shame that this one usually ends up as the poster boy while Fuji-Q gets all the stick. Team Fuji all the way (no doubt I’ll regret saying that one day).
The other issue here is that there aren’t many coasters at this park that are unique to the world, a factor I usually like to celebrate further in these lists. But creds are creds, and they have a lot more of them, so let’s see the list that makes all the suffering worthwhile.
I know how to sell this hobby.
I think this one bothers me mostly because it was ridden on our fateful first visit. It’s surprisingly dull, even for a powered coaster, and never has slapping a child friendly brand on a ride been more lazy in execution.
And in that regard, at least this one isn’t trying to be something it’s not. A Tivoli medium is what a Tivoli medium does. Zierer has successfully churned out 86 of these (across a few differently sized layouts) following the original model installed at the park from which it takes the name. Ah, to be at Tivoli Gardens instead…
Why have one wild mouse when you can have two? So that you can always have one closed, that’s why. It’s the Mack version, which is usually slightly better, but still an unremarkable fairground attraction on a global stage.
Similar to Peter Rabbit, I wasn’t left with the best of impressions with this ride due to the circumstances under which it was ridden. This has also led to never actually taking a proper picture of it even after several visits. Luckily you can spot some brown track in the trees from this vantage point on the ferris wheel. I like Jet Coasters, probably more than most, just not this one.
Amusement can come in strange forms. This classic Arrow corkscrew coaster was unintentionally hilarious when we rode it, wet and miserable. Other than the fact that while queueing I had just discovered my raincoat no longer functioned as a raincoat, I couldn’t tell you why.
Another classic steel coaster, though we’re still struggling to get to the actual good stuff here. Schwarzkopf rides always have a certain charm to them, except I find that a little more lacking when there’s no corners in the layout. Lap bar for an inversion though, leading the charge on that front.
Corners yes, that’s the way. This particular Schwarzkopf model seems to be actively avoiding me. Their numbers are dwindling and it feels like I’ve been to almost every park that used to have one and only ever successfully added this one to the count (and even that wasn’t on the first try). Good solid ride, ahead of it’s time, again with the lap bars and mixture of strong forces to go with them. Now we’re cooking.
It’s not just personal bias, my ride type is just infinitely more interesting and special than anything that came before it on this list. Having not grown up in America during the 20th Century, Togo have yet to let me down and now likely never will.
Finally we enter the realm of legends and begin with some mild disappointment. Even with some lovely B&M rolling stock, there’s not much joy to be found in the first half of this Morgan, which has a weird way of making 300ft seem uneventful (to be fair, it’s not the only giga coaster guilty of this). The ridiculous run of consecutive airtime moments in the second half make it a breath of fresh air amongst this smog of clones though. I do secretly like a bit of Steel Dragon.
Like quickly turns to love if we’re talking about B&M flyers though. The ridiculous forces know how to get me excited in ways that few other ride types can achieve and this one has a particularly strong layout to complement that vicious pretzel loop. Shame it’s a clone.
And so is number two on our list. This example of the increasingly common S&S Freespin (good old Six Flags) has the advantage of, according to research, being the best of its kind. For reasons I am unable to confirm or deny, Arashi is far more intense than others, to the point of stupidity, and is one of the few coasters on the planet that still genuinely scares me, even after attempting to get acquainted with it multiple times.
Finally, leaving no suspense at all, the RMC tops the list. Had the park been operating competently on our first visit I would have managed to experience this both before and after conversion. Instead I only achieved the latter through some rather extreme dedication on my third impromptu visit. And that says enough about this rollercoaster really. It’s worth flying across the world for, even with nothing else on your agenda. I adore Hakugei and it’s a real gamechanger for the park (and the continent). Weather permitting.