Trip Report: Enakyo Wonderland, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

Ena isn't exactly a bustling area. Located along the Chuo Line, which takes the long way from Tokyo to Nagoya, it's most likely frequented by tourists moving between Nagoya and Matsumoto, which lies a bit north of the Chuo Line's route. There are plenty of smaller towns along the way as you wind through some mountains, and I'm sure there is a good amount to see along the way. My future trip plans include following this route to visit some old post towns - those interested in a few culture stops between Nagano and Nagoya can check out Kiso-Fukushima and Tsumago, fairly close together on the route through Gifu Prefecture.

Ena itself has a few sightseeing locations, namely Ena Gorge (Enakyo) and a modern portion of the Nakasendo trail (a restored version of the trail is accessible from Tsumago to Magome). Across the river from Enakyo is Enakyo Wonderland, an amusement park and garden.
 A bus from Ena (Hirakawa Wada Line - 蛭川和田線) will get you there in about 15-20 minutes, and on weekends seems to run about once an hour. Listen closely for the announcements; you can ring the bell while you're crossing the large river and you can see the Ferris wheel on the left side. Note that you'll see the wheel for quite some time so wait until you cross the large bridge!
 After you get off the bus, follow the road forward just a very short distance to the parking lot and entrance above. This part was a little confusing at first, because the entrance isn't visible from the bus stop and there are no signs.
 And then, you're there!
 You can follow the main path to the left, or cut down the stairs to the right. I went to the right first, toward the park's largest coaster.
 There are a few flat rides in this area, including most of the park's indoor attractions. You'll see most of these later on. First, it's time to get my first credit.
 Camel Coaster is under 100 feet tall, but has a decent bit of forces. It's not a signature ride, but it is a small step above most jet coasters in Japan.
  The height restriction sign was really cool, and then it's on to the ride I went.
 I didn't try any of the run-of-the-mill flat rides. If I was a child, I'd have fun. I liked the old tram that was abandoned in the middle of the park to be used as a seating area.
 Golf Cart: The Ride. I kid you not. Technically it's the "Romance Car" but you just drive around a track on a golf cart.
 The "left" side of the park has the Ferris wheel and a few other attractions; the park gets hilly over here, so there's a coaster on top of the game arcade building.
 Moving uphill a bit there's the Ferris wheel and a carousel.
 Fun House! This is one of those "spinning room" attractions that are much more popular here than in America.
 Jungle Coaster is a mild jet coaster with a chipmunk on front of the train. Popular with children, says the park's website. That's because it's quite tame.

 Every swan boat in Japan is apparently bad luck; I always hear stories that going on these with your girlfriend will cause your relationship to go sour. But the park's third coaster, Cycle Coaster, goes around this small man-made lake. Cycle Coaster is barely a coaster; it has a lift hill and I think the ride might be able to make it all the way around without any effort on the riders' part. But there are pedals to keep you moving above a slow crawl.
 Just after crossing the bridge on the bus, I saw some strange attraction that looked like a tourist trap. It turns out that it is now a second entrance to the park. At some time the two attractions were split, but on my visit you could freely travel between the two. This second area is a garden of sorts with a suspension bridge.
 The Ferris wheel may offer commanding views of the area, but I could see plenty from the suspension bridge and the other side.
 On the left is a view of the gorge and the long vehicular bridge that approaches the park; the right side shows the suspension bridge and Ferris wheel at the park.
 Near the entrance to this area of the park is a windmill. It faces the river.
 I wouldn't come to the garden on its own, but having missed my first bus due to difficulty in finding the park entrance, I enjoyed my stroll around the grounds. Heading back from this area's entrance toward the rides I found the clearing in the right-hand picture designed for children. There are even two basketball nets, though I guess you have to bring your own balls.
 Heading back up the hill involves a quick stop at a small shrine.
 There are two rocks with a narrow crevice in which sits the shrine.
 Back up in the rides area, I strolled past all the attractions lined up opposite Camel Coaster. There's the safari ride (shoot all the animals!) and a haunted house...
 An Egyptian fun house and a sound attraction follow. In the sound attraction, you put on a pair of headphones and they close the door and hit the lights so it's pitch black inside. Then, creepy sounds play through the headphones. If only the attraction did a bit more with other senses.
 It wasn't hot enough for the ice house, but these can be very refreshing on a blazing summer afternoon.
 There's a water park that seems to be much newer and is certainly well-kept, but they were still preparing it for the summer. It seems that Japanese water parks avoid opening until mid-July for some strange reason; it starts getting pretty hot in June, though the rainy season falls during that time of year, and school vacations don't start until July. Some water parks appear to be a complete waste of money on paper, being open only a couple months per year.
 The plaza in the area near the Ferris wheel and two smaller coasters houses a simple restaurant and a gift shop. I grabbed some quick food because I didn't want to miss the next bus back to the train station! The bus stop is on the opposite side of the road; follow the road back toward the bridge (don't cross the bridge!) and look for the bus shelter just after the stone thing you see below.
The park is open from early to July until late November. Hours vary by season though the park is open at least 9:30-17:00; closed Wednesdays except for Golden Week and mid-July through August. Access is via bus (see above) or taxi from Ena Station.

Park admission is 1100 yen (including the garden), pool admission is 1100 yen. Park admission plus a ride pass is 3200 yen, but it appears that this is for only 12 rides, not an all-day pass, Individual rides are 300 yen each.


  1. So do you usually get to the parks as they open? I notice lots of them seem deserted in your photos. Or do you usually go when the kids are still in school?

  2. I tend to arrive at parks when they open because the crowds are much lighter. However, I also try to plan my visits to parks while everyone else is at school and work so I can ride more. Enakyo was visited on a Sunday morning and I was really shocked at how empty it was. But since the water park was opening soon, people might have been waiting to visit until the weather cleared up and that part of the park was also open. Also, it's generally considered rude to take photos of people in Japan, so I try to frame my shots without others in them. My next post has some photos of rides and such that makes the park/zoo look empty even though there were plenty of people there.