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9 Must-Ride Rollercoasters Of Japan

June 3rd, 2010 by

A combination of engineering superiority with a national need for stress-relieving entertainment has made Japan a center for record-breaking roller coasters. These thrill colossi the centerpiece of any amusement park, and easily the most popular attractions in the area. Japan’s desire to cutting-edge coaster technology has made a Mecca of Asian thrill rides, drawing enthusiasts from all over the country and the rest of the world.

Here are nine  must-experience rollercoasters located in Japan:

Fujiyama - The world’s tallest rollercoaster boasts an initial 230-foot drop, with a 65-degree angle that subjects riders to speeds reaching 80 mph. Being the world’s longest rollercoaster as well means the ride lasts relatively long. Fujiyama is located on Fuji-Q Highland in Yamanashi, near the base of Mount Fuji.


Photo courtesy of scion_cho:

Steel Dragon 2000 - holding the record for the longest and fastest non-launched rollercoaster, this ride in Nagashima Spa Land, Mie Prefecture currently has the longest track length of 8,133 feet, 2 inches. Steel Dragon was once closed for two  seasons when a wheel loss resulted in serious injury; even with additional safety measurements now built in, the ride still impresses with its top speed of 95 mph.

Dodonpa – built in Fuji-Q Highlands, Fujiyoshida, this steel, sit-down coaster has a height of  170 feet and retains the record for the highest acceleration at launch, reaching 106.8 mph in 1.8 seconds. This is due to its compressed air launch system, subjecting passengers to a force of 3.2 G’s. While the passengers are pressed against their seats, the ride dips into a banked curve followed by a 17-story climb and drop to a thrilling zero-g freefall. Dodonpa is the 3rd fastest rollercoaster in the world and has a track length of 3,900 feet.


Photo courtesy of LuxTonerre:

Eejanaika – a holder of the most number of inversions (14), Eejanaika is equipped with seats that rotate passengers backwards or forwards a full 360 degrees. This is due to the 4 rails on the track, with 2 used for running rails while the other 2 are devoted to spin control, which moves up and down relative to the track. This spins the seats using a rack-and-pinion gear mechanism. Passengers are strapped in with their feet dangling once the ride begins. As the cars reach the top, passengers are rotated 90 degrees from a sitting position to face downwards, letting them see the first vertical drop in scary anticipation.

Most of the subsequent inversions are done by the rotating seats, although the coaster itself turns 3 times.

Thunder Dolphin - a steel coaster in La Qua Amusement Park, a part of Tokyo Dome City. Thunder Dolphin is the 5th continuous circuit roller coaster in the world at 262 feet and the 9th fastest with speeds up to 130 kph.. It straddles the side streets of Tokyo and passes through both a hole in a park building as well as the center of a ferris wheel.

Diving Coaster, Vanish – located in Yokohama Cosmoworld, it features a track that seemingly dives into a lake from a 115-foot drop, but actually enters into a tunnel excavated into the lake. A large spray of water accompanies the dive, adding to the effect.

Bandit - located in Yomiuri Land, Bandit was the world’s tallest coaster at 197 feet. It was turned into “Splash Bandit” when super soakers and fire hoses were built at specific parts of the track to dash riders with water at strategic moments.

Momonga – equipped with both a standup and a sit-down train, this roller coaster in Yomiuri Land, Tokyo was one of the first of its kind.

– the world’s greenest roller coaster is a pedal-powered wonder in Washuzan Highland Park, Okayama. Skycycle takes advantage of the area’s natural topography, as opposed to constructing artificial mountains with normal coasters. This creates a scary experience even without loops, as the view looms over the city of Kurashiki. The side-by-side tandem carts have seat belts, and pink baskets for a soothing effect.

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