Tobu Zoo

The second park today was going to be Tobu Zoo on the Northern outskirst of Tokyo, but it wasn't the animals that we were going for. Owned by the Tobu Railway Company the park is home to the wooden coaster Regina, which I had heard good things about.

The park is split into two sections with the zoo in one half and the amusement park rides behind it. This was another park that featured a mascot, some weird little dog thing.

Actually depending on your size he could be a big thing. Here's the mascot modelled by one of the locals. The writing in red spells Tobu, so I can only assume that that is the character's name. Original, isn't it?

The park had a couple of shuttle buses lined up to take us to the park and I guess we must have looked quite a sight seeing all of us in matching T-Shirts. Actually make that most of us, a couple of people failed to grasp the concept of "wear the club shirt today", whatever their reasons were.

This is the poster for Regina and certainly unlike any ride poster I'd seen before. Someone had clearly become quite adept at their photoshop skills. Regina is Italian for Queen hence the connection to the woman. I would hate to think how the poster would look if we had it here with the Queen airbrushed in the same way.

The park wasn't quite open yet and some of the group chose to assume the "I'm at the January Sales and there is no way anyone else is buying those shoes I saw yesterday" pose ready for the park manager to tell us it was OK to enter. The construction going on in the background is for a new dinosaur area due to open in 2006. (That's part of the park, not the zoo; just to clarify)

Here is a the first bit of the park we came to. The white coaster on the left Mount Rocky Coaster was closed and so wasn't open to us, which was a shame as it looked like quite a nice ride. The carousel was running, but I never got around to riding it. I did however get on both the wheel and the tower ride (peeking from behind the carousel). Both of those would offer great views of the park.

Crazy Mouse was for once, a crazy mouse coaster that lived up to its name. I don't think there are many mice coasters with loops, which this one did. It certainly put it into a higher league than most coasters like this.

More mobile animals including a particularly strange giraffe that had experienced a head transplant, it's neck now not matching the res of the body. Once again the park was really quiet, these parks must have been loving the business we were bringing into park. Either that or the locals had been warned of our arrival and had stayed away.

Tentomushi is Japanese for ladybird and this was their ladybird coaster. The train is a shy and retiring type, not used to having his picture taken. This explains why he is out of shout hiding until he saw me put the camera away.
On my Nasu report I explained the sign to entrance, here you can see the sign for exit, although admittedly you wouldn't need to know the Japanese here as the wording under it is in English.

A few pictures taken from the drop tower, first the wheel, which admittedly looked a bit shaky but was actually smooth. The domed building behind it is one of the zoo building.

Here's the Rocky Coaster. A little disappointing to not be able to ride it. The building with the blue roof is a simulator ride, the kind of which you've probably seen in other parks. I liked the views from up here. It was nice to see the countryside rather than the city all the time.

It's also odd how I'm talking about shot and drop towers like they're observation platforms. I guess I've really become used to these kind of rides now. Apocalypse is an exception though, there's no way I could ever get used to the feeling that ride gives you!

This is Regina, and what a stunning looking wooden coaster this is. Tobu had been one of the few parks to offer us an Exclusive Ride Session and we were going to get the ride to ourselves for an hour at the end of the day. Rather than rush to that, as certain other individuals would have done, I chose to see what the rest of the park had to offer. Now making a decision like that is always a gamble as there's the risk of the ride breaking down, but I had every confidence in the park that this wouldn't happen here.

Another bit of Japlish, but this one isn't their fault really. In Japan there is no distinction between the R and L sounds and this is the biggest mistake made by Japanese when translating the English language. One famous example of this mistake is when an American president visited Japan and there were a number of banners congratulating him on his erection.

Here's a shot from the wheel looking back at the tower ride and the lake on which is stands over. This park really was dead today, you can count the number of people in the park on one hand, just about.

Strange Street was a haunted walkthrough and very tame when compared to some of the others we had come across so far. The Kana here reads "su-ri-uu 2" which I can only take to mean surreal, but I'm guessing. Sometimes it's not so easy to make out what the borrowed word is that's being spelt out.

The park had a jungle themed go-kart race track and here's the queue line waiting for people to ride. If I said this part of the park was the quiet bit you'd be right to look confused. You can't get much emptier than this park.

I took some time out from racing to take a picture of the back end of the park with Regina peeking through the trees. That explains the tyres in the foreground stopping me from driving the kart into the lake.

Night fell quickly and it was time for the ERS on Regina. Although we were supposed to have exclusive use of the ride it seemed cruel to deprive the 4 local girls who were also in the park and they joined us. Neither group could understand what the other was saying but the girls seemed to be playing a game in the queue line where whoever lost "scissors paper stone" would have to say an English phrase that I can only assume they'd got TV or movies. So you'd get all this high pitched screaming as they play the game followed by one of them shouting "I didn't want to buy one anyway" and other random phrases. All quite surreal.

So how was the ride? Really good to be honest but these kind of wooden coasters are becoming common place now. Of the two I had ridden on the trip, White Canyon at Yomiuriland was the better. Although I can't stand rough woodies, that one just had a good balance of wrecklessness that made it more enjoyable than this predictable air time monster.

Tobu Zoo doesn't really offer much to an enthusiast other than the wooden coaster, everything else is pretty much general run-of-the-mill stuff.


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