Fuji-Q Highland 富士急ハイランド
Fuji-Q Highland is known for its roller coaster rides some of which have made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Fujiyama was once the fastest and highest roller coaster in the world when it first opened in 1996 and it still ranks high at a height of 79 meters with the cars reaching speeds of 130 kph.
Dodonpa reaches speeds of over 170 kph and has incredibly quick acceleration at launch.
Takabisha covers a kilometer of track and has a 121° free fall with a drop of 43 metres.
Eejanaika is a so-called "4th dimension" roller coaster with seats that rotate 360 degrees forward or backward.
At busy periods you can be waiting hours to ride the roller coasters.
As well as the high-tech roller coasters, Fuji-Q Highland has a range of traditional fair ground staples such as carousels, a large Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and other rides. The Ultimate Fort is a labyrinth/maze set up as a prison break experience.
The scary, horror rides at Fuji-Q Highland are the Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear which is a one-hour tour of a haunted hospital and Gegege Kitaro's Monster House.
Experiences based on popular animation series include Evangelion World based on Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Aimed more at kids is Thomas Land, which recreates the world of the British children's classic Thomas the Tank Engine, Hide & Seek in the Forest and Kaiketsu Zorori Adventure Land based on the popular Japanese children's books by Yutaka Hara.
There are, of course, lots of places to eat and shop for merchandize connected with the rides and experiences.
Fuji-Q Highland (Chinese, English, Korean & Japanese)
5-6-1, Shin-Nishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi
Tel: 0555 23 2111
Access - Getting to Fuji Five Lakes
Bus from Shinjuku Station bus terminal is the quickest and most direct way to access the Fuji Five Lakes region and Fuji-Q Highland from Tokyo.
The are frequent buses operated by Fujikyu and Keio bus companies from the west exit of Shinjuku Station. Depending on traffic the journey takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Buses stop at Fujisan Station (previously Fuji-Yoshida Station), Fuji-Q Highland, Kawaguchiko Station. Some buses continue on to Lake Yamanaka.
There are less frequent buses to Fuji-Q Highland and Kawaguchiko Station from Shibuya Station (Mark City) operated by Fujikyu bus company.
One or two buses a day, operated by Fujikyu and JR Kanto, leave the Yaesu Exit of Tokyo Station for Fuji-Q Highland and Kawaguchiko Station.
There are also highway buses from Yokohama Station to Fuji-Q Highland and Gotemba.
Book highway buses to Fuji-Q Highland from Narita Airport Terminals 1, 2 & 3 to Fuji-Q Highland, Fujisan Station and Kawaguchi-ko Station. Book highway buses from Fuji-Q Highland to Narita Airport (Fuji-Q Highland, Fujisan Station and Kawaguchi-ko Station to Narita Airport Terminals 1, 2 & 3).
Ride a JR Chuo Line train from Shinjuku Station to Otsuki. The fastest limited express takes 1 hour and 10 minutes. Change here for the Fujikyu Railway Line to Fujikyu Highland Station. From Otsuki to Fujikyu Highland takes 49 minutes and costs just over 1,000 yen.
The Japan Rail Pass is valid for the Shinjuku Station to Otsuki leg only. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is valid for the whole journey.
The Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket (check East Japan Railway Company for further details) offers discounted round-trip tickets for train and bus travel between Tokyo and Mt. Fuji and is aimed at people hoping to climb Mt. Fuji and return the next day to Tokyo.
Accommodation at Fuji Five Lakes
If you want to stay right at Fuji-Q Highland, the Highland Resort Hotel and Spa boats a huge wooden onsen bath and great views of Mt. Fuji. Guests get preferential treatment such as early entry to the theme park and free entry to the Fujiyama Museum and Fujiyama Onsen.
There are many other places to stay in the area to suit all budgets mostly centered around Kawaguchiko. Some recommended hotels and ryokan include the five-star Fuji Onsenji Yumedono, the four-star Fuji View Hotel, the three-star hot spring hotel Kasuitei Ooya and the two-star budget Minshuku Nukaya.
All images by Eddie Smolyansky