Destination: Nasu Highland Amusement Park

It's freezing cold. One day ago, it snowed. What do you do? If you're me, you head to Nasu Highland!
 Yes, there might be a frostbite-inducing wind ripping through the air, and there could be a small blanket of snow on the ground, but if the sun is out and the park is open, I'm going coastering!
 Nasu Highland is located in the Nasu area, near the tall Nasu mountain peaks. It's a couple hours outside of Tokyo by train, plus about a one-hour bus ride from the station to the park gates. But it's worth the trip.
 The park is beautiful, with nice theming and gorgeous scenery throughout. Each area has a different theme.
 Of course, every Japanese theme park has to have a Ferris Wheel. I think it's a law.
 Near the Ferris Wheel is the space/futuristic 1950s theme. Welcome to the Food Station. They sell ice cream. There were snow flurries in the morning.
 Just down the hill from the 1950s futuristic themed area is the 1950s retro themed area. Here is where you will find all the main coasters for the park.
 There's a red one, a green one, a yellow one, and a blue one. And they all intertwine together. The red one is behind me, by the way, in this photo.
 From the Ferris Wheel, you can see the blue-heavy futuristic area, with the 1950s USA themed roller coaster world behind it.
 I was really looking forward to trying this ride out. You sit in a seat which can swing freely from side to side most of the time, but occasionally the seats will lock and you end up upside down. Well, it wasn't perfect and while it was fun I was a bit disappointed. I think this would have been cooler with flying-style cars instead of seats.
 The park has several dark rides, including two themed to fairy tales. Here's a Pinocchio display.
 There was also a toy museum. This was a lot of fun to look at and they had some cool retro toys as well as a bunch of more-recent properties.
 The really cold temperatures and (more importantly) high winds kept the coasters closed for most of the morning, but eventually they opened up. There goes the blue one!
 And there goes the yellow one! I had no favorite at this park. All the coasters are fun, but nothing really stands out. The park needs a signature ride. I wish I had a reason to visit again.
 But instead, let's go back to the fairy tale ride. Seven dwarfs and... where's Snow White?
 Hey, Wizard of Oz!
 Eh? This was on a safari shooting ride, in the loading station. If this was in the US people would pitch a fit, but here in Japan it's okay to be a little racist.
 Too bad it was so cold. It would have been fun to sit in the car and eat lunch while watching coasters go by.
 And maybe do some dancing?
 Instead, I ate in the indoor food court. I had the curry, but the Itarian Courner intrigues me.
 How about the mountain? There it is, off in the distance! Once the clouds surrounding the mountain burned off (or blew away) in the afternoon, it was a beautiful sight.
So here's another Ferris Wheel shot of the coaster plaza area to finish us off.

I had a decent time at Nasu Highland, but it is a long, relatively expensive day trip. Between admission and transportation, it cost about a 10,000-yen bill. However, visiting on a cold weekday, I had the park mostly to myself most of the time, and with something like seven or eight coasters it was worth the trip. I do wish the park had something really unique - a nice new coaster that isn't seen elsewhere in Japan, for example, or some thrilling flat rides. But overall it's a fun visit and kids will enjoy the theming and rides too. The park's website is in Japanese only.

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