Trip Report: Kijima Kogen Amusement Park in Beppu, Kyushu

 About 45 minutes by bus from Beppu Station, up in the hills, is a pleasant little amusement park with a few good rides. The main midway near the entrance is lined with nicely designed shops, though the park doesn't have any themes.
 There are a lot of children's rides here, including the slowly spinning airplanes. I wanted the curved tree in the shot. I swear. Otherwise I would have cropped it out, now wouldn't I?
 The first coaster I came to was a children's powered Dragon Coaster. It was as expected - not much going on. But I'm glad I rode it pretty early on, as the line soon got unbearably long.
 My next ride was on the green corkscrew coaster Super LS Coaster. I just missed getting on the ride before it dispatched, but from the queue, I caught it and the Dragon coaster in motion.
 The track twists along the edge of a hill. But it isn't really a terrain coaster. For a corkscrew coaster it wasn't terribly rough, although I know how to brace myself for these now.
 They have a Wave Swinger too. This one looks pretty big.
 Yes, again it was raining. Early May in Kyushu means wet weather.
 Next for me was the Roller Skater. It's fun for a family coaster. Moving along...
 There are a couple indoor attractions next to the Roller Skater. This is some kind of haunted house or something, but it looked closed.
 Shooting Pirates is another shooting dark ride - at least you know what you're getting into before you go in the building here! I had a lot of fun with this one, but again the line got long before I could ride again.
 So I headed off to another corner of the park where Gold Rush is themed as a mine train coaster.
 Inside the station, the theming is pretty nice, though the ride could use a bit more.
 Let's ride the go karts to see the back side of the ride! It's the only way. Thankfully the go karts line was pretty short.
 I don't remember why there was netting over this portion of the track. I don't think anything went over it. Maybe they're hoping for vines to grow over it and make a nice tunnel.
 Ah, here's the back of the mine coaster. Not exactly mine-like.
 Okay, let's head down the hill to see what's on the back side of the park. On the way, I saw this Lego-like castle. Nearby there's a building with a bunch of Lego blocks (or something similar) for children to play with.
 As you head down the hill, you can get a better look at how the corkscrew coaster travels down the hill. The loop goes underground just a little.
 I think that's pretty cool! I had to shoot through a fence to get this, and the coaster runs fairly infrequently so I couldn't get a picture with the train in it. Again, as soon as I finished riding the line got quite long.
 What's that I see in the distance? A Ferris wheel!
 But first, the wooden coaster Jupiter. This is the park's signature attraction and one of only a few wooden coasters in Japan. This coaster is pretty large and a lot of fun. It has a bit of action even before the lift.
 The view from the station is really nice - the back end of the coaster, the Ferris wheel, a water ride where you don't get wet, and a drop tower.
 It's about time to head to the Ferris wheel. First, notice the water ride on the right - the vehicle has a glass roof, keeping the riders inside dry.
 The Ferris wheel offers a nice view of Jupiter's massive structure. This is the first drop.
 The train then heads toward the first real drop, and a 270-degree helix.
 There's sunshine off in the distance, and the mountains make for a beautiful backdrop in this park. Unfortunately the park got really crowded very quickly, since it was true Golden Week vacation time for almost everyone in Japan. Plus, I had to move on and go to the Hells.
 Kersploosh! The water ride sends up a good bit of spray, but the riders are safe in their capsule. There's a long line at the bottom of the photo to walk under the wooden coaster to some sort of show that would happen on the other side.
 The top of the water ride, a UFO observation tower (I never had a chance to ride it), and the upper portion of the park. You can see all of Super LS Coaster and the upper portion of the park. Also, employee parking is down here too.
 Another group of dry water riders head up the lift, and the line is getting longer.
 There's a small train (I think it seats a total of 12 riders) that loops around the water ride.
The park was packed and I had ridden all the coasters, so it was time to call it a day. But first, lunch. This is a Kyushu-style curry that was absolutely delicious. That's cheese on the top, and there's rice at the bottom. The whole thing is baked and thus this is called yaki-curry. On this cold, wet morning, it was a perfect early lunch!

I had to wait a while for the bus to take me back down the mountain and back to Beppu. I timed lunch properly and got to the bus stop a few minutes before it was due, but due to massive amounts of traffic caused by Golden Week tourists (mostly going into the park) I sat in the cold for 30 minutes. I should note the bus only runs about once an hour, so check the schedule!

As I mentioned earlier, Kijima Kogen is located in the hills of Beppu, and is easily reached by bus from Beppu Station. Ask at the tourist information desk in the station for which bus to take and a schedule with return times. The park has a limited English website here. Admission right now is 1500 yen, with per-ride charges of up to 1000 yen (for Jupiter) - a free pass with admission is 3800 yen, and is your best bet if you're planning on riding all the coasters. The park also has a hotel and golf course!

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