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Sea Paradise’s Surf Coaster Leviathan

17 Feb

IMG_6434Crave and his lovely wife Jaewon “The Queen of Coasters” visited Sea Paradise oceanarium and amusement park in Yokohama, Japan on Monday, February 16th, 2015. Lucky for them, they were able to catch a chilly ride on Surf Coater Leviathan just before the sun set. Crave previously visited the park in the fall of 2009 but was unable to score a credit since the ride was closed due to a bullying wind.

Admission to Sea Paradise is free. You can pay 3000 yen for an all-day ride pass, or simply hand over 1000 yen per ride. If you fancy animals that primarily live in liquids, you can also get a pass that includes both the amusements and oceanarium. Given the time of day, and the fact that the Blue Fall, the park’s 100 meter tall Intamin drop ride, was closed we opted to pay per ride.

We’ll let the on-ride POV video and pictures below speak for themselves.

Happy riding coasterers!

Jaewon is excited for Sea Paradise!

Jaewon is excited for Sea Paradise!

Crave contemplates riding his 430th coaster.

Crave contemplates riding his 430th coaster.

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Hmmm...

Hmmm…

Towerific

                    Towerific.

Vending Machines = Cool Way to Pay

Vending Machines = Cool Way to Pay

Two Tickets to Paradise

Two Tickets to Paradise

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The "Don't Die and/or Sue Us" Sign

The “Don’t Die and/or Sue Us” Sign

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Mt. Fuji says goodnight. (Thank you Jaewon)

Mt. Fuji says goodnight. (Thank you Jaewon)

DizneyWorld: Thailand’s Dream World

14 Feb

Please enjoy Crave’s photorific journey through Thailand’s Dream World theme park.

Or click here to view directly on YouTube

Crave’s Favorites: Giant House

14 Feb

Most amusement parks offer the standard issue assortment of thrill, family, and kiddie rides. But once in a while, you stumble upon something extraordinary. Welcome to “Crave’s Favorites” where I share some of my favorite rides, attractions, and aspects of amusement parks from across the globe.

 DREAM WORLD’s GIANT HOUSE

Since you were a child, you’ve planted magic seeds, ascended a giant beanstalk and explored the fearsome giant’s castle. But this was all in your head. While I’m not doubting the power of imagination, how would you like to visit a recreation of the Giant’s castle? Now you can… if you happen to be on the outskirts of Bangkok. Dream World amusement park has a large fairy tale focus and actually built one of the coolest walk-through and Facebook photo friendly attractions in existence today.

What do we have here?

 CLICK BELOW TO SEE MORE PICTURES!

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Asamushi Wonderland

8 Jun

At the Gates of Abandonment

On October 10th, 2005, 浅虫ワンダーランド (Asamushi Wonderland) closed its gates for good. Plagued with declining attendance since opening in ’1983’, the small amusement park is still spoken highly of by locals. When asked about the park, several older men commented how they were to afraid to ride the park’s staple roller coaster. The ‘Jet Coaster’ was one of 20 rides installed in the park and operated as Asamushi Kiddy Land by ride manufacturer Okamoto out of Osaka.

In 1999, the park declared bankruptcy but reponed in April, 2000 as Asamushi Wonderland. It’s unknown what happened to the park’s equipment, though it’s highly speculated the rides were demolished. All that remains are the buildings on the east side of the park. For additional pictures and information (Japanese only) please visit this local blog. 

Forgotten Buildings

Japan’s poorest prefecture 青森県 (Aomori Ken), is rich in snow, apples, and a difficult to understand local dialect (津軽弁 / tsugaru ben). Given the record snow falls and location at the northern tip of 本州 (Honshu) island, Aomori is far from a tourist beacon. Luckily, it remains an easy stop over for the trek to and from the northern island of Hokkaido.

Overlooking Mutsu Bay

While Asamushi Wonderland received a reported 100,000 visitors in its first year, attendance continued to decline. Unfortunately, Asamushi has lost its presence as a summer hot spot for Japan’s urbanites in Tokyo and Sendai. While Aomori prefecture has a  population of 1,373,164 (2010 Census), Aomori City houses roughly 300,000 of those citizens. The rest is found scattered across Aomori’s vast country-side and city centers such as Hirosaki (45 minutes by train), and Hachinohe (90 minutes by train).

Given the short summers, and lack of size to expand to attract repeat visitors it’s no surprise that Asamushi Wonderland became extinct. Though according to Japanese sources, high winds played a factor. Perhaps the continual shutting down of rides not only cost the park much needed income but also frustrated locals from re-visiting. In addition, as a resident of Aomori I blame competition. The nearest ‘legitimate’ (not counting the small family centers in Hachinohe) amusement   park is in Morioka (3-4 hours south in Iwate prefecture). Though, Asamushi Wonderland had to compete with Nebuta, Aomori’s famed summer festival, which for many Japanese tourists is the only reason to visit the area. Even if tourists had time to kill, there were plenty of cultural and historical sites to visit.

While the park may never reopen, it’s eerily comforting to see relics of its heyday still intact.

 

No Ticket To Ride

 

Long Live the Captain

 

All That Remains

ACCESS:

To visit Asamushi Wonderland’s abandoned site, simply exit 浅虫温泉駅 (Asamushi Train Station) and walk along the bay towards your right (north). Click here to view a map of the area. You’ll notice the entrance on your left as walk along the road towards some run down gift shops / mini fish market. 

Asamushi Onsen Station is a 15-21 minute,¥440 ($5.50) train ride via Aomori Railway (JR Rail Pass not valid) from 青森駅 (Aomori Station). To reach Aomori Station though you’ll need to take a 3 hour 新幹線 (shinkansen / bullet train) from 東京 (Tokyo) and a 7 minute transfer from 新青森駅 (Shin Aomori Station). For train times and prices in English use Hyperdia.

In addition to the abandoned site, enjoy a view of the ocean bay, a trip to the Asamushi Aquarium and the area’s famed onsens (hot springs), all within walking distance.

Eggorama: Tokyo Disneyland’s Easter Wonderland

2 Jun

Japan, once a proud isolated island nation, maintains its pride while inviting global culture and customs. For instance, Christmas has already unwrapped itself. Though Easter is still hiding, unless you visit Tokyo Disneyland. From April till June 30th, nestle yourself into a pastel menegerie of easter eggs.

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So what’s different? The biggest change is in the gift shops as Disney politely pushes you to purchase pastel merchandise. In all fairness, Easter Wonderland fits the need of its Asian audience who desire more of a picturesque experience as opposed to thrill rides. Thus, the Easter Wonderland parade (11:00 and 16:45), easter displays, living statues round out the features. The highlight is the easter egg hunt where guests can randomly find Disney character easter eggs.

 

 


While not worth the trip solely for Easter Wonderland, it’s definitely a welcome bonus to a repeat visit or tourists already in the Tokyo area. In regards to Disney events, I still rank Hong Kong Disneyland’s Haunted Halloween.

For an in depth look at the merchandise take a peek at the gift shop to see what’s available, and if you fancy adorable edibles check out the menu.

 Tokyo Disneyland’s official Easter Wonderland website. (日本語だけ/Japanese only)

For additional pictures of Disney’s Easter Wonderland, including high quality shots of the displays, visit Pooh’s Travels.

Directions: Iwayama Park Land

10 Apr

Morioka is not an urban metropolis, therefore there isn’t a train servicing Iwayama Park Land. Luckily, the park’s website has details on buses running to the park (though they appear to only run on weekends and holidays). Unfortunately, the website is only in Japanese. Please use the pathetic translations below to help guide you there!

Please note, if you can find your way to the zoo (doubutsuen) you’re within walking distance.

Happy traveling coasterers!

"It's all in Japanese!"

Loose Translation:

* Please keep in mind that this translation is not 100% accurate. It was created using my own Japanese language skills and electronic translation devices. If you plan to travel to Iwayama Park Land, I suggest you print out both the original Japanese directions at the official website to show locals, and this English translation for your own sanity.

Using the bus
Bus from JR Morioka Station (Line Shinjo cemetery park or zoo) is out. Parkland andthe rocks off in front right in front of the Parkland!

The bus schedule has been as follows.

Bus fare (in front of Morioka Station ⇔ Parkland): Adults 360 yen Children 180yen (as of April 1st, 2010)

From Morioka Train Station to Iwayama Park Land

Time Travel Weekends and Holidays
Destination Iwayama Park Land
Morioka Station Bus Stop ⑧ 9:20 11:30 14:00
Maekawa Isao garden 9:24 11:34 14:04
Morioka Bus Center 9:31 11:41 14:11
in front of Junior High School 9:36 11:46 14:16
in front of Parkland 9:50 11:50 14:30


From Iwayama Park Land to Morioka Station

Time Travel Weekends and Holidays
Destination Morioka Station
in front of Parkland 10:56 13:21 15:31
in front of Junior High School 11:10 13:35 15:45
Morioka Bus Center 11:15 13:40 15:50
Maekawa Isao garden 11:22 13:47 15:57
Morioka Station Bus Stop ⑧ 11:26 13:51 16:01

 

※ Note

– mid-March to late season runs and 11

– March 18 – 24, August 13 – 16, September 18 – 26 days, we will travel in time, regardless of the day

2. Vehicle (car) to go
Lane going uphill running line of Route 4 Bypass. Stone shop and go left past theintersection there is little sign of Iwate University Junior High School (Stone IndustryYoshi Akira) can see, there are rocky entrance. Steadily climbing the mountain fromthere, see Kitara rocky Parkland Ferris wheel is just around the corner! Because therocky Parkland 止Mareru 400 cars and free parking, vehicle (car) is safe in the gardencome!

Access Map to Iwayama Park Land (red dot on the right)

 

Conquered List: Amusement Parks

31 Mar

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

countriescoastered

AMERICA

  1. Darien Lake
  2. Martin’s Fantasy Island
  3. Cedar Point
  4. Geauga Lake (Six Flags Worlds of Adventure)
  5. King’s Island
  6. King’s Dominion
  7. SeaBreeze Park
  8. Waldameer Park
  9. Great Escape
  10. Knoebel’s
  11. Dorney Park
  12. Hershey Park
  13. Kennywood
  14. HolidayWorld
  15. Six Flags Great Adventure
  16. Six Flags Great America
  17. Six Flags America
  18. Six Flags New England
  19. Six Flags over Georgia
  20. Six Flags Magic Mountain
  21. Boomer’s
  22. Busch Gardens Tampa
  23. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  24. Sea World Cleveland
  25. Sea World Orlando
  26. Disneyland
  27. Magic Kingdom
  28. Epcot Center
  29. Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  30. Animal Kingdom
  31. Universal Studios
  32. Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  33. Adventuredome (Grand Slam Canyon)
  34. MGM Grand Adventure
  35. Buffalo Bill’s
  36. Astroland
  37. Dollywood
  38. New York, New York Hotel and Casino
  39. Pacific Park
  40. Knott’s Berry Farm
  41. Disney’s California Adventure
  42. Michigan’s Adventure
  43. Mt. Olympus
  44. Timber Falls Adventure Park
  45. Nickelodeon Universe
  46. Valleyfair
  47. Adventureland (Iowa)
  48. Dutch Wonderland
  49. Conneaut Lake Park

CANADA

  1. Crystsal Beach
  2. Canada’s Wonderland
  3. Marineland
  4. La Ronde

JAPAN

  1. Hanayashiki Amusement Park
  2. Iwayama Park Land
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Tokyo Disneysea
  5. Fujikyu-Highland Park
  6. Yomiori Land
  7. Tobu Zoo
  8. Tokyo Dome City
  9. Rusutsu Resort
  10. Shinagawa Aquarium
  11. Tokyo Joypolis
  12. Lina World
  13. Beny Land
  14. Sendai Highland
  15. Nasu Highland
  16. Toshimaen
  17. Higashiyama Zoo
  18. Lagunasia
  19. Nagashima Spa Land
  20. Hamanako Pal Pal
  21. Japan Monkey Park
  22. Hirakata Park
  23. Himeji Central Park
  24. Parque Espana
  25. Universal Studios Japan
  26. Space World
  27. Mitsui Greenland
  28. New Reoma World
  29. Washuzan Highland
  30. Harmonyland
  31. Kijima Kogen
  32. Sea Paradise

THAILAND

  1. Dream World
  2. Siam Park City

MALAYSIA

  1. Cosmo’s World
  2. Genting Theme Park
  3. Sunway Lagoon

KOREA

  1. Me World
  2. Tongdo Fantasia
  3. Gyeongju World
  4. Woobang Towerland
  5. Kumdori Land
  6. Seoulland
  7. Everland
  8. Lotte World
  9. Children’s Grand Park

AUSTRALIA

  1. Sea World
  2. Warner Brother’s Movie World
  3. Dream World
  4. Luna Park (Melbourne)
  5. Luna Park (Sydney)

TAIWAN

  1. Leofoo Village Theme Park
  2. Discovery World
  3. Janfusan Fancyworld
  4. Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
  5. Window on China Theme Park
  6. E-DA World
  7. Taipei Children’s Amusement Park

HONG KONG

  1. Hong Kong Disneyland
  2. Ocean Park

CHINA

  1. Jin Jiang Action Park
  2. Happy Valley Shanghai
  3. Happy Valley Beijing
  4. Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park

SINGAPORE

  1. Universal Studios Singapore

SPAIN

  1. Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
  2. Parque Warner
  3. Port Aventura

FRANCE

  1. Walt Disney Studios Park
  2. Disneyland Paris

TOTAL: 13 countries / 123 Amusement Parks

What’s your country/park count? There’s no list too small or too big.