It seems likely that Yomiuriland has never had a group of one hundred and seventeen gaijin arrive at their gate for park opening before. The staff were evidently startled when they saw just about all, including myself, making a beeline to Bandit as the tallest coaster in the park. Unfortunately it was closed for its daily inspection. The fact that this hadn't been done before the gates opened didn't make for a particularly good first impression. Fortunately, things improved rapidly when we approached Bowwow Coaster (#613), a kiddie coaster from Hoei Sangyo. The ride was less than two months old for our visit, and had probably never run with a train full of adults before, let alone several consecutive trains full of adults. This made for a lot of entertainment for all; our group, the general public, and most of all the ride operators.
The Standing and Loop Coaster (#614) quickly became a favourite of the group, not least because it has a feature found on only a handful of roller coasters worldwide; one of its two trains is a stand-up model and one is a standard sit-down version. TOGO-built stand up coasters are not known for their comfort factor to say the least, and the sit down models are scarcely better. Nevertheless, I enjoyed both versions of this ride. The stand-up train suffered from a little more vibration than the sit-down model, but it wasn't enough to hurt the overall experience.
I would probably have come away with a better overall impression of the park had I not made the mistake of riding in the back seat of White Canyon (#615). The train was ready to dispatch other than those two seats when we arrived at the station. It seemed odd to me that nobody would have gone for the back row, but on riding it I quickly found out why. The painful restraint system and extremely rough tracking in places conspired to make a coaster which I found impossible to enjoy. It certainly had an out of control feeling, but not in a good way; it felt like the ride was going to injure me. Fortunately, it failed to do so.
We were walking back across the park when we noticed that Bandit (#616) was now open. It was with considerable trepidation that I boarded the ride. This would be my second experience of a TOGO coaster with a two hundred foot lift hill, and my memories of the positively awful Manhattan Express were not far from my mind. Fortunately, I need not have worried. The ride did have a few rough spots, predominantly when turning corners, but for the most part it was a smooth and fun experience.
Nobody seemed to have any idea what the SL stood for in SL Coaster (#617). The ride was unusual from the perspective that the lift hill was at the end, the terrain being used to great effect. The journey began with a brief drop into a brake, which stopped the train altogether. Bearing in mind that this was only about five seconds out of the station, it seemed odd to say the least. Why not use the speed for something instead of burning it off? The reason became clear later on, however; after two helixes, all the riders on the right hand side of the train got walloped in the torso by a tree branch hanging right over the track. Consequentially, we decided the SL must refer to smacked liders!
The Mystery World dark ride felt like the sort of attraction normally found at a travelling fair, and was utterly missable other than for one special effect at the end of the ride. The car was shaken very violently for about five seconds, leaving me with a category one headache for a few minutes after disembarking (though to be fair, the heat was as much of the problem as anything else). The Haunted House walkthrough was largely missable too, although I elected to make it more interesting myself by scaring another trip member who had been talking loudly a few corners behind me. He jumped out of his skin. I was highly amused. The House of Terror walkthrough was probably the best of the three dark attractions, but still weak in comparison to those experienced at Tokyo Dome City.
Though I could see from a distance that the Ferris Wheel did not have air conditioning I chose to do it anyway, as there were clearly some good photo opportunities available. There were plastic fans on board for passengers to utilise, but these were only of limited utility; the sun shining through the windows was pretty effective at roasting the occupants. Even as I write this, on the coach heading towards the next park, I am still melting due to the air conditioning here being no match for the climate. Plastic fans don't stand a chance.
Though much of the park is on a flat area of land, it does feature two side by side tower rides, placed for maximum effect on the top of a small hill. The power had been turned down on the Crazy Hyuuuu shot tower, so the ride itself was nothing special. However, the view it provided of the park, with the Tokyo skyline in the background, was close to magical. I only wish that I had had my camera on board for photography, but a no loose articles policy was (understandably) in effect. It is considerably harder to turn the power down on a drop ride, and for this reason Crazy Stooon was considerably better.
As I disembarked, I noticed someone up on the nearby bungee jump attraction, so I decided to watch him ride. This turned out to be a time consuming decision; he was clearly having second thoughts, while a small crowd of Japanese onlookers, presumably his friends, stood in the shade to watch. The general consensus among the other club members in the area was that the operator should just push him off, but this did not happen. In the end, another person went up the tower to ride, and the first person made his jump. He seemed pretty happy when his bungee cord was disconnected. I guess he was just glad to be alive. As such attractions go this one looked particularly safe, with a large air mattress at ground level. One could probably have jumped safely enough without a bungee cord, though I wouldn't suggest anyone try.