Nagashima Spaland: My Favorite Amusement Park in Japan

 Tokyo has Fuji Q, with the biggest, latest, most unique rides in the country. But if you want the best amusement park in the country, skip Disney and skip the Fuji queues, and head to Nagoya. Nagashima Spaland is located nearby, and is ready to offer a full day's fun!
 I've already been twice, and I want to go again. Sure, I've conquered all the roller coasters, including this corkscrew, but it's a park with enough rides to truly entertain me for a full day.
 There haven't been many new rides built in Japan lately, and Nagashima Spaland also shows its age with a lack of really new thrill rides. But there are two drop rides: an old Freefall model and the somewhat-newer air-powered shot/drop tower.
 There are so many coasters at this park, it took me two visits to get them all in. The biggest is Steel Dragon 2000, which I believe still holds the record for the world's longest coaster. And it is really long; it spans the entire park.
 From the biggest to the smallest; the park has a large selection of rides for the reall little ones.
 Ride a train with Peter Rabbit! That storybook is pretty popular here; I've seen Beatrix Potter story-based capsule toys, stuffed toys, and more all over the place.
 Ride the long dog!
 Ride the tug boat!
 Shoot the targets!
 There are a whole bunch of flats, too. I kind of liked this inverted flying carpet, and it was pretty popular with younger thrill seekers too. The selection of flat rides at the park, none of which give me headaches or make me nauseous, is a key reason I like this park so much. There's a fun Top Spin, and one of those rides that go in a circle and you can rock to make it spin over and over again.
 There are two old coasters that I wasn't able to ride on my first visit, the Looping Star and a shuttle loop. Both were open on my return, and were pretty fun. It seems that shuttle loops in Japan aren't as thrilling as the ones I remember in America, formerly at Great America in Santa Clara and at Six Flags Over Georgia.
I think one of the staples of every Japanese park is the teacups or a similar, but differently-themed ride.
 And of course, every park in Japan has a Ferris wheel. This, too, was closed on my first visit, but I was able to ride and take pictures my second time around. Note the Looping Starship. I love these things and many others similar to it (Huss Ranger at Darien Lake, Hammerhead at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, etc).

This Ferris wheel is huge. It doesn't look so big in the picture above, but when you see my photo below you can see how far away the Starship ride was from the Ferris wheel, to put its size into perspective.
 Directly in front of the Ferris wheel is the Space Shuttle and a Giant Frisbee. The giant dual pirate ship is behind that, as is the shot/drop tower and some of Steel Dragon 2000.
 Looking to one side of the Ferris wheel, a water ride, the Freefall ride, and a normal-sized Frisbee can be seen. Yes, the park has two Frisbees, two freefall-based rides, and three pirate ships, two large and one small.
 Behind the Frisbee is a dual wild mouse. When it needs to, Nagashima Spaland can handle a lot of capacity!
 Looping Star is next to Freefall, a flying ride and the corkscrew roller coaster behind that, and Steel Dragon almost bringing up the rear. But on the right side, behind the wild mouse and the bottom of Steel Dragon, is an Ultra Twister. I know of three in Japan; the other two are in Kyushu and Hokkaido.
 The back corner of the park has the massive wooden roller coaster, White Cyclone. It's pretty fast and intense!
 Here's a closeup of the dual pirate ship. The tiny normal-sized ship can just be seen behind it; the kids' rides are spread around the pirate ships, and two smaller coasters are nestled in the trees at the bottom of the picture.
 The small powered kids coaster and some of the kids rides can be seen here.
 Here's a better view of the mine train style coaster and the yellow-tracked Sky Liner, which isn't actually a coaster.
 Another view of White Cyclone. Nagashima means "long island" and the park sits at the water's end. The property is surrounded on three sides by water.
 Going down!
 Noted. I like the dual flags at the top! And the English signage is above the Japanese signage - are foreigners that much more stupid? (Probably.) But this picture is even more awesome because there's a man walking on the tidal flats behind the sign!
 Looking at some more of Steel Dragon 2000 and the shot/drop tower. The loop for the shuttle loop is just visible at the bottom of the drop tower.
One last shot of White Cyclone's lift and a helix!

I've never had serious problems with crowds on my two weekday visits, although one of them was on a smaller holiday and some of the lines were a bit long for the most popular rides. Steel Dragon and White Cyclone had decent lines most of the day on both of my visits, and you should ride the shuttle loop and Looping Star if they're open, because they didn't seem to be too reliable and you might not have a chance later.

It really is my favorite park because of its selection of flat rides. I wish they would get something new, though - for example, a motocoaster or 4D coaster, or a new-generation stand up coaster (all of Japan's stand up coasters are old and very similar). Or some more unique thrilling flat rides that aren't really found anywhere else, at least not in Japan.With a really super stand-out attraction, I'd be willing to travel to Nagoya monthly (or possibly even relocate) just to get some rides in!

Both times I visited, I took a bus from the Meitetsu Bus Center at Nagoya Station. It takes about 45 minutes and costs 1000 yen. A 500-yen bus from Kuwana Station departs every 20-30 minutes or so as well. The park generally opens at 9:30, staying open until 17:00 (19:30 during peak season). Admission with a free pass on rides is 4100 yen; adding in the water park, which I've never seen, adds 1200 yen.

Nagashima Spaland lives up to its name with a large hot spring complex as well (9:30-23:00, 2100 yen), plus an outlet mall and a somewhat-nearby flower park (9:00-21:00, 1000-2000 yen depending on the season).

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