A quick change of plans...5th September 2011
We had intended to begin our day with the stand-up coaster at Washuzan Highland, the only stand-up coaster worldwide that we've not ridden. Unfortunately, it was obvious from outside the park that the ride was not open; two engineers were doing something with a blowtorch near the top of the lift hill. The ticket office confirmed that the closure would last all day, so rather than waste time we decided to change plans on the fly.
Omocha Oukoku5th September 2011
It is possible to get to Omocha Oukoku by public transport, but the journey is complicated as it involves travelling to a nearby hotel and walking from there. In the interests of time optimisation we went for the easy option; a twenty minute taxi ride from JR Kojima. We asked the driver to wait forty-five minutes to bring us back to the station, which he was happy to do at no additional charge. Apparently this type of arrangement is fairly standard in Japan.
The park itself turned out to be a junior version of Toy Kingdom; another bright colourful park, though in this case geared at smaller children. As its name suggests, Tivoli Coaster (#1679) was a medium-sized ride from Zierer, and possibly the only version of this design to feature an emergency walkway next to the lift hill. One can only assume that this is a requirement enforced by local building regulations, as a tyre-drive coaster with no anti-rollbacks is only ever going to end up back in the station in the event of a failure!
Miroku no Sato5th September 2011
There is a direct bus from JR Fukuyama to Miroku no Sato which leaves from stand number fourteen. One of them pulled away in the few minutes we spent trying to figure out where to go, so rather than wait an hour for the next one we decided to use another taxi for the twenty minute journey. On arrival, we made a note of the two possible return bus times and planned accordingly.
The smaller of the two coasters can be found just inside the park gate. Imomushi-Kun (#1680) is an family ride that looks like a gentle coaster aimed at children. However, appearances can be deceptive; it features a surprisingly intense upward helix that is forceful enough to throw passengers into the side of the car (or alternatively the sharp end of the neighbouring lap bar); future visitors should beware.
The Himalaya Coaster (#1681) is located at the far end of the park next to a ferris wheel that is large even by Japanese standards. It is a good sized coaster with a steep drop, a head-chopper effect provided by a convenient tree, and a 900° descending helix. The ride uses a row of tires to slow the train at the end of the course, giving a smooth stop albeit one accompanied by the faint smell of burning rubber. A certain amount of contortion was required in order to fit in the train, but it was well worth the effort for what turned out to be a great ride.