Yomiuriland lies in the South-Western corner of Tokyo and was a fair drive away from the hotel, so an early start was in order. Having already been up for 3 hours before hand this wasn't a problem for me and it was nice to be on the coach bright and alert whilst everyone else was still waking up. Nothing worse than having to share a coach with someone hyper when you're still coming to your senses.

This is the Sunshine 60 building in Ikebukuro that I took a picture of earlier in the day. Now this is in the North of Tokyo and we're supposed to be heading South. What is going on? Maybe the express way is convuluted, perhaps the coach driver was taking the scenic route, or most likely I'd got my facts wrong.

As it turns out, it's not the sunshine 60 building at all but the NTT DoCoMo Yoyogi Completed in 2000 it reaches a height of 240 metres and is very environment friendly, being solar powered, using rain water for the toilets and having a large number of recycling facilities within it's structure. A clock was added to the building in 2002 making it the tallest clock in the world. At night time the upper portion of the building contains lights that indicate whether you need to carry an umbrella or not which also makes it the largest electronic umbrella guide in the world.

Here we are at Yomiuriland (I read the Japanese under the English, honest). I think the Barbaparpa shape on the left indicates the boundaries of the park. The white dog with the painted lines on him is Landog, the park mascot. Perhaps the coolest looking park mascot of the trip. If you stepped away from the entrance building you were offered great views of the 2 main coasters in the park.

To the right is White Canyon, the park's wooden coaster and the one I wanted to try first. I love coasters that dominate the skyline like this; it certainly looks impressive. I only hope it rides as well. We could hear this one having it's test runs.

To the left is The Bandit, the park's hypercoaster painted in a rather garish rust colour which made it look older and more unsafe than it probably is. Great looking helix though. There were no signs of activity from this ride however, would it be down? I certainly hoped not. Landog shows us his arse as we make our way into the park.

Once we're in the park, a few of us head over to the woodie at the back. The credit counters though were pulled towards the kiddy coaster so we left them there. The park operators must have thought they were all really weird. Note I say "they" and not "we", there was no way I was going to join the queue for the kiddy ride when the park was empty. I wondered what kind of view the cable car would offer us so I threw my camera up to the people in it and asked them to take a shot.

and here it is, a very basic layout indeed and wow that queue of people has gone already. The operations at this park sure know how to run their rides here!

Aha! More of those animal riding things that they had at Hanayashiki and these ones have been themed Landog style. It's just a shame that they ride so slowly. If they had a bit of speed they'd be much more fun and I would be able to get to in front of those people up ahead.

This is a weird coaster as it rides differently depending on what side of the station you're on. Now I had said that I wanted to ride the wooden coaster first however the ride ops were playing some banging trance tunes so I was pulled towards this instead.

Board from the left and you're in a stand up car, board from the right and you're sitting down. A piece of transfer track switches the ride from one to the other. I tried the sit down first then the stand up and whilst waiting for my go I, and a few others were dancing in the queue line. Sure beats just standing still!

Another shot of Bandit taken from the Momonga queue line, and the ride is finally up and running. Woohoo!!! But I'm over this side of the park now so I'll head over there later, beside those credit counters on the kiddy coaster will be flocking to it in their droves.

Here's White Canyon and what the hell have they done to the trains, why do they have rollbars? Bandit is painted to look like it might fall apart, this ride gives the impression that at some point it did fall apart and the rollbars were added to prevent a repeat. Actually I loved this ride, especially from the front; although the cars were constrictive they brought in a more focused view of the track. It wasn't Balder smooth by any means and it did have a little bit of the Gwazi 50 pence piece wheels about it but it was enjoyable.

Heading over towards Bandit now and as another cable car passes over head I wonder what the park looks like from up there so I threw my camera up to the people in it and asked them to take a shot.

This is the shot they took, pretty good huh! White Canyon is in the background and you can see the route Bandit took through the park. The white track in the foreground is the SL Coaster which was going to become the highlight of the day.

And here it is, the SL coaster. I have no idea what the SL stands for and I couldn't think up anything witty at the time of writing either. You might have noticed that there is hardly anyone in the park (apart from 100+ stupid enthusiasts). This park was dead, who needs Exclusive Ride Sessions when you have the entire park to yourselves?

On first look, you'd think this ride wasn't suitable for ducks but what it is actually saying is that it's not suitable for children. This park is visited by school kids, in fact there was a group of little 'uns in their uniforms elsewhere in the park. Look at how Landog has his head hanging as if to apologise. Awwwwww!

Here's a picture of SL in action. It is strange, and memorable for several reasons. Firstly it has the lift hill towards the end of the ride, seperated from the station by a final helix; secondly it has trim brakes just after the first drop.

Finally at this point it had a piece of bamboo growing out over the track that sprung off the loco at the front of the train and would whip whoever was in row two in the face. Now the sadist in me was loving this and I encouraged as many people as I could to ride in that seat.

Another cable car passed overhead so I threw up my camera and asked them to take a picture of this great ride.

Nice job, cameraman in the cable car man. Now can I have my camera back!

When I got to ride Bandit I actually found it disappointing. Maybe spoilt by the likes of Thunder Dolphin I expected more from this ride. There were too many straight bits for my liking. Admittedly the ride is almost 20 years old, having opened in 1988 so I shouldn't be so critical. The helix was good though, very intense and one girl in our train had to be carried off the ride by her boyfriend to recover. One downside to the park operations I noticed was that when Bandit went down later in the day the ride op walked around with a sign around her neck saying the ride was down. Great to inform the customer but it was boiling hot in the afternoon and whilst just walking around in the uniform would be bad enough, having the indignity of carrying a sign must have made it much worse. She didn't seem to mind though.

The cable car takes you to the main train station. Having come in by coach we didn't really benefit from this mode of transport, so a couple of us chose to ride it to the station and back to get some pictures of the park. This is some pagoda type building in the vicinity.

At the top of the cable car lift overlooking Tokyo, it's hard to appreciate the size of this city but it's going as far back as the eye can see and then some.

Here's Landog with the big wheel acting as a halo and making him more angelic, a really nice park mascot. It's now time to leave the park and head elsewhere. Some div in the group who had plans to go somewhere else started spreading rumours that we were to leave an hour earlier than initially told. Another person chose to steal some wristbands meaning the organisers had to pay for more. Some of these American members are a little bizarre!


Anonymous Peter Fleischmann (ECC member) said...

The 'SL' in SL coaster basically just means it looks like a steam train. SL is what the Japanese call Steam Locomotives.

8:42 AM  
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12:34 AM  

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