Well, when you were reading the title you might have expected this article to mention Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea and Universal studios Japan. They are indeed amazing but due to their popularity, they are always overcrowded and require a looooooooong time for every single queue. Ask anyone who has visited them, it is not surprising if they tell you that they got sardined in the theme parks and queued for 2-4 hours just for ONE attraction. Consequently, those unlucky visitors normally only manage to visit 2 or 3 attractions. Paying thousands of yen just to enjoy that much? What a waste of time and money! So, this article is going to tell you the top 5 theme parks that guarantee you to enjoy them as much as you pay!
You won’t believe your eyes! The theme park overlook Mountain Fuji! While you are screaming until you lose your voice on a roller coaster, you can also view the charmingly iconic mountain. Fuji-Q Highland is just located at Fuji Five Lakes area and is easily accessible. Traveling with children? Good! Other than those typical attractions like roller coasters and haunted houses, the theme park also has exclusive attractions for children. If you are a theme park enthusiast, this may invoke your excitement! The theme park has 4 major roller coasters,
Fujiyama: The world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster (As of 1996)
Dodonpa: Roller coaster with the fastest acceleration (As of 2001)
Eejanaika: The word’s second 4th Dimension roller coaster
Takabisha: The world’s steepest roller coaster with a dropping tilt of 121 degrees (As of 2011)
If possible, you can also spend a night in its affiliated hotel, Highland Resort Hotel. Hotel guests are entitled to enter the theme park earlier to enjoy free entry to the Fujiyama Museum and Fujiyama Onsen.
Want to travel back in time? Come to Edo Wonderland! Once you see the name, you can definitely know that this theme park is associated with Edo period if you have some basic knowledge about Japanese history. Yes, you got it right! Edo wonderland is a theme park where EVERYTHING is set to the Edo period, from the buildings to staff and even food! Just a little enlightenment, Edo Period (1603-1868) is one of the most prosperous eras in Japan history. It has also influenced the Japanese culture significantly.
This theme park is literally like a time machine. Once you pass the entrance gate, you will be greeted by the “town people” in the most “Edo way” and everything that appears in your sight will make you wonder, “Did I just travel back in time? ” The town is designed with Edo style architecture and all the staff are dressed in Edo-period-costumes too. You can also get yourself “assimilated” into the society by renting some costumes.
Again, this theme park is also a considerably attractive spot for your children. They have ninja, samurai and police training workshops for children between 5 to 12 years old. Upon the completion of lessons, a certificate will be awarded! Other than this, other attractions are generally for all ages. The theme park has performances held in different areas, available a few times a day. The highly recommended performances include ninja theaters, water magic performances and Oiran courtesan procession.
A little secret to tell you, the Tobu Railway Company is selling Tobu Nikko Free Passes which entitle you to unlimited rides for buses between Tokyo and Nikko, some buses and trains in Nikko as well as entrance fees for some attractions in Nikko area. This means, a single pass is enough to cover your whole-day expenses in Nikko!
Tired of shopping? Exhausted of rushing here and there while traveling? Spend a day in Oedo Onsen Monogatari! Oedo Onsen Monogatari is an Edo-themed hot spring theme park where the water is sourced by pumped NATURAL hot spring water 1400 meters right below your feet! Unlike conventional theme parks with extreme attractions like roller coasters which will make you fatigued of shouting, Oedo Onsen Monogatari, on the other hand restores your energy and can get you prepared for the trip next day! A wide variety of baths are available here, including foot bath, open-air bath, Micro Nano Bubbles bath and Rock Salt Sauna. You can also try out fish therapy, full body massage, head spa and lot more!
After your bath, you can relax at the hall where the restaurants are located. Depending on your taste buds, there is a plenty of food ready to serve your hungry stomach. Not hungry? This theme park always has something for you! Other than trying out mini activities nearby like Throwing Ninja Shurikens and Suuku-Bei, you can also shop there! Maybe you can find an ideal gift as a souvenir for your friends and family! Also, this theme park is located at Odaiba which is very close to central Tokyo and free shuttle buses are available (http://www.ooedoonsen.jp/daiba/access.html ). On top of that, you can also select your own Yukata (a traditional Japanese wear) for free upon payment and wear it in the theme park.
Ever thought of a place where you can enjoy both rides and a marine view? Yokohama has it! Located not far from Tokyo, Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is by all means a placed to be included in your itinerary if you wish to make a day trip to Yokohama. The feature of this theme park is, it consists of two parts Aqua Resorts and Pleasure Land where the former is an aquarium while the latter is an amusement park. Each attraction requires a different ticket but a 1 day pass can be bought to enjoy both. If you only wish to take a certain ride, separate tickets for each of the rides are also available. There is also a park out there which is free of charge and you can spend the rest of the day there for shopping or dining.
In Aqua Resorts, you can see a wide diversity of marine lives including dolphins, giant turtles, seals, whale shark, walruses, sea lions, polar bears, sea otters and many other sea creatures. On top of that, marine mammals shows are also held regularly every day. There is also a transparent tunnel that allows you to see marine lives swimming across you. If you only wish to go for the rides, Pleasure Land is the place to go! The two main rides you should take are Blue Fall (a vertical fall of 107 meters in height) and the Surf Coaster which is an open-air-sea-side roller coaster!
Currently, the park authority is selling discount vouchers exclusively for foreigners, grab this golden opportunity and enjoy your unforgettable rides in Yokohama!
Spa Resort Hawaiians is a Hawaiian-themed water park where you can also enjoy onsen (hot springs) at the same time. On top of that, Hawaiian dance performances by pretty Hula girls are also held in the water park regularly to entertain the guests. It is located in Iwaki and it was the first theme park to be built in Japan.
Other than indoor and outdoor water parks, Spa Resort Hawaiians also has two hot spring areas. While both hot spring areas are sourced by Yumoto Onsen, they are designed in different themes (Southern-European and Edo). The Southern-European-themed hot spring area, The Spring Park has mixed gender indoor bath where swimsuits are allowed but as for outdoor baths, they are gender-separated and you can only wear your birthday suit. Meanwhile, the Edo-themed hot spring area, Edo Jowa Yoichi is only available in outdoor gender-separated bath. While you are taking your bath, a 15-minute shadow show (kage shibai) will also be performed (only at night).
If you are a lady, there is good news for you! Spa Resort Hawaiians has a section focuses on beauty and health care called Vir Port. Services like Hawaiian dance lessons, massage, facial and aqua exercise sessions are available here, spending a few hours here is adequate to make your body as fit as a fiddle! As for the gentlemen, there is a golf club out there located 5-minute drive away from the resort. In case if you forget to pack your swimming suits into your luggage, no worries, there are plenty of shops where you can select your new swimming suits with your favorite design. Furthermore, there are also shops selling Hawaiian souvenirs.
Currently, free shuttle buses are available at Yumoto Station, Tokyo and Yokohama. A stay at its affiliated hotel is also highly recommended to make your day less rushed.
Other than the aforementioned theme parks, you can also try to check on Nagashima Resort, Meiji Mura, Toei Eigamura and Edo Wonderland Ise which I think they can likewise make your day well spent. Japan is too big and has plenty of theme parks to be mentioned. If you are really a theme park buff, you can refer here as a guide to organize your trip. If you have never been to the “Big 3” (Tokyo Disney Sea, Tokyo Disney Land and Universal Studio Japan), including them in the itinerary for your trip to Japan can be advisable too. Nevertheless, you have to get ready to walk in the crowd all the time. If you can afford more, getting yourself an express pass is highly recommended to save your precious time. Otherwise, avoid from visiting them during weekends and peak seasons. Have a nice trip!