Trip Report: Washuzan Highland Amusement Park

I started my trip to Shikoku at Washuzan Highland, an amusement park built on the side of a hill looking out over the Inland Sea toward Shikoku. The park is actually on Honshu, just a short ways from Okayama. The park is Brazilian-themed, mainly in the daily events and some food options found inside.
 Upon entering the park, Ultra Twister is quite visible. It's a standard Ultra Twister model, but I always thought these were pretty fun. The area in front of the coaster is used for shows and several tables are set up for eating at the adjacent food court. Further down to the left is the water park.
 But go right, and you'll head uphill. Very uphill. As you reach different terraces, small groups of rides exist to enjoy. This is the park's standard looping coaster, but it has a twist... I'll get to that later.
 The coasters are okay at best, but the cycle ride sticks out over the mountain and affords a fantastic view of the Inland Sea, the new bridge connecting it to Honshu, and Shikoku on the other side.
 The top of the mountain has a "jet coaster" style roller coaster called Chubi Coaster - very tame and uneventful. There's also a Ferris wheel up here.
 It's easy to see the entire park as you ride the Ferris wheel at the top of the mountain. Here is the looping coaster again. It has two names. Backnanger is the name given to it when the sitting cars are in use; these cars travel backwards along the track so you never really know what's coming. Later in the day, they bring out the standing seats, and it becomes the aptly-named Standing Coaster. I enjoyed the ride better standing, but it's only available during the middle of the day until they switch back to the backward-seating train. It would be nice if they ran both all day, like a couple other parks (like Yomiuriland) do.
 Here's a full view of Ultra Twister, with the water park in the background.
 And Backnanger with the loop in use.
 The water park is fairly simple - a few slides plus a large pool. I noticed they have those big hamster balls in the back of the pool, too, which look like fun. I don't know what all that rubbish is behind the park.
 As I mentioned, Chubi Coaster is at the top of the park, but there really isn't much to it.
 And nearby is Turbo Drop, fun and well-positioned. You get a great view of the area with this shot tower.
 Chubi Coaster is the large track running around the top of the mountain. As you can see, there really isn't much to it as far as hills or turns. The bicycle coaster is just to the right of that; Backnanger barely made it into the picture on the right side. You can see the large shot tower in the center, with the smaller observation tower ride just to the left of it. I'm not sure the observation tower ride (called Sky View) was operating when I was there. Close to the "X" of track, at the center of the photo, is a bungee jump attraction.
 Back at the bottom of the mountain, just below the looping coaster track, is a small park area with some teepees and other things to explore.
 There's also a small path that leads around a pond; hidden back there are some hammocks and seats so park-goers can get away for a little privacy. I was concerned a bit about mosquitoes, snakes, and other critters so I didn't spend a lot of time back there. The green building in the back is just outside the park and is some kind of adventure game called Cavern Quest.
 Ultra Twister, and Standing Coaster.
As you can tell from most of my pictures, the sun stayed hidden for most of the day. But things did clear up late in the afternoon, so I was able to get this shot from the cycle ride of the bridge and Shikoku.

Food offerings at the cafeteria are fairly interesting; there's a samba burger with fried meat, a curry naan hot dog, Brazilian pizza on naan, and fresh juices including coconuts in the shell. At the top of the hill, Baiya Cafe has other interesting offerings including tacos, dry curry, cheese balls, and curry naan dogs again. There's also a buffet with American-style dishes that I didn't visit - it looks like access is from outside the park. Prices are reasonable and the food was good, though it wasn't anything I'd go back for. Actually, if I do find myself with time and interest, I could try the buffet for lunch or dinner.

The park isn't very large, so even with the uphill hike one could do the entire park in just an hour or two. But with rerides, the samba show, and the water park, you could make a half-day or more out of your visit. I stayed until about 3 PM without visiting the water park or watching any of the shows. In August, when I visited, it was hot and humid - you have been warned.

Admission with "free pass" for rides is 2800 yen, and the park is generally open 10:00-5:00 with extended hours most weekends and in the summer. From Okayama, Kojima Station is only about 30 minutes away; the park is just five minutes more than that by bus, though it's a good idea to find a schedule to time your transfer properly.

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