HK5 Japan: Chapter 7 “Nogoya on That Ride”
Originally we had planned to spend 7 day in Tokyo but during my research for things to do in Japan, I found an experience that just couldn’t be passed up. The world’s longest roller coaster ride is located in Nagoya, Japan. Doing further research on Nagashima Spa Resort, I found out that the park was on the Japan Rail path for our travel to Kyoto. So we took a day from Tokyo and a good idea came to reality. We kept this special leg of the trip a secret from the kids. We took the train to Nagoya and checked into our hotel.
Initially I had planned to just buy tickets at the resort but I ran across a chat board where several people suggested to buy the tickets online through a company called Viator. Ending result, I didn’t look at the detailed ticket voucher to see that there was a short sentence with an address listed. We were supposed to pick up the actual tickets in Tokyo. Needless to say, don’t buy tickets in advanced. In the summer the masses are at the water park. The actual amusement park was virtually a ghost town. So buy your tickets at the gate.
Next if you are taking your kids and your kids are around the ages of 5-6-7. Lie and say your kid is 7! You will save your child a lot of disappointment. One of the most disappointing things about this park is how the grade the restrictions for some of their rides. There were several rides the twins have all ridden at other parks that were exact copies. For example, the twins rode The Tickler at Cooney Island, The Psycho Mouse at California’s Great America and last but not least Goofy’s Flight School at Disneyland. The twins have rode all three and as young as 5 years old. For some reason at Spa Land they require the twins to be 9 years old ride the ride, with an adult. Makes sense, heck no!
The park is dated and was a virtual ghost town on Wednesday. So if you have to pick a day to go, I suggest going mid-week. The main ride that I was excited to take Paley on was the Steep Dragon 2000. She and I rode it the first time, paying for the fast pass. We only had to wait for three car rotations to get on the ride, instead of the standard 45 minute wait. The ride was mind blowing, the first shock was how high we climbed right out the starting gate. At it’s peak, we dropped down from 318 feet in the air. The whole ride spans the complete length of the park, nearly half a mile long. The ride was fast but the real amusement was the sheer mass of the ride. The footprint of the ride is a “L” shape with a bulk of the ride twists and turns in the lower portion of the L footprint.The speed mixed with a series of 4 to 5 revolutions a rounding the rides was intense!
The only negative thing I could say of ride is that the tunnels were so hot and really killed your buzz from the ride. I thought I was blown away but that high was squashed later in the day. Paley was obsessed and begged to ride it one more time. This time I talked Clem into taking her. I knew he was going to push to edge with this ride. He’s not a big fan of heights or speed. He was a trooper and poor guy came down the finish line white knocking the triangle shape brace in front you. He came of in shock by what he just experienced. There was still two more great rides for us to try but he was officially done.
Towards the end of our visit we opted to skip the Acrobat ride and ride the wooden monster the call Hakugei, previously the White Cyclone, the coaster was refurbished in the 2018 and reopened earlier this year. This coaster is massive but does stretch in length thank to it’s wood structure. To be honest I am not the biggest fan of wood coasters because at times it can give me bad headaches. Paley and I waited in line and we watched how the cars which a lot like the cars Great America uses for The Grizzly and The Gold Striker. All we had holding us in was a lap belt and lap bar. I almost didn’t ride the ride because of my fat gut was not locking far enough down. I will admit it took two ride techs to push it down far enough. I was worried I was not going to be able to breath.
We took off slowly and made the first climb, and the first drop was not a graded drop like the Steel Dragon, but rather 35-40 degree drop from the highest point. It was just pure speed after the drop. This is where the ride just blew paley and I out of the water and bumped the dragon down to the second spot. The car was doing over 60 mph and inverting through 4 full cork screws and several 270 degree turns through out the ride. This ride literally kicked my ass. Paley was on a huge high, while I was trying to regain composure and focus on my breathing. I think to degree I was in a state of shock. The ride was so intense, I was literally laughing and screaming 10 time more than the Dragon. I did ask paley to please give me a minute to come down before she continued her talking high. The Hakugei is probably one of the greatest coaster in the world. There is no real write ups about Hakugei yet, since it’s only been open for 4 moths. But if you are in Japan, this coaster is the one to ride.
We closed the park that night and went back to the hotel to check-in. This is where are awesome day took a tour for the buzz kill. Online the Richmond Hotel hotel described our room with three twin beds could sleep 6 people. Now the twin beds in Tokyo were huge and yes two people could sleep in them. But these beds were tiny. I went downstairs to see if we could at least get a second room. They were sold out and that’s when I realized we might be staying in a gentlemen’s hotel. A tall and attractive woman wearing green silver leather heels came in asking what room to go to. And then I noticed that all of the guests come in the entrance while I waited to talk to the manager were ALL MEN. Lesson learned I guess, do more research. Thankfully it was for one night we all squeezed on 3 tiny beds.