Date: 5th May 2015
Yes, I know – it was Golden Week. I will write a separate post on how to actually travel during the so-called “blackout” dates. This post gives you a hint of where “not to go” during Golden Week.
So, this was not planned. I forgot that the people here actually love to queue and got myself on the Fujikyuko Line towards Fuji-Q highland. Looking at the lines – I decided to just go for Fujiyama instead of the other 3 thrilling rides – Takabisha, known for its 120° drop, Eejanaika, a 4D roller-coaster, in which the seat can rotate forward or backward @ 360 degrees, and Dodonpa (which was closed at that time, after the major renovation it is now called Do-Dodonpa) with an acceleration speed of 0-180 km/h in 1.56 seconds.
Well, Fujiyama is still one of the four extreme rides, it used to hold a record for being the tallest roller-coaster in the world back in 1997.
After queuing for 2 hours and a half, I finally got onto the roller-coaster. For someone who has only gone to family rides and Disneyland (Hong Kong), yes, Fujiyama was the scariest ride in my entire life. I was constantly telling myself “Why did you get on this ride?” the whole time.
Would I do it again? Yes!
But, I am not going to spend another 2-3 hours waiting in line. So, until next time.
Yes, I had something else on my mind after seeing the poster on the Fujikyuko Line’s train car. . . Fuji Shibazakura Festival.
Fuji Shibazakura Festival
In case you missed the cherry blossoms season, fret not, Shibazakura (phlox moss) blooms from mid-April to late May. There are over 800,000 shibazakura in Lake Motosuko. In 2019, the festival is held between April 13th to May 26th.
One of the main highlights is the backdrop of Mt.Fuji.
I tried to pick the pictures without obvious signs that this place is crowded. But, it really is. It took a lot of time because everyone was moving so slowly. I can understand, everyone needs to take pictures.
So, yes, come to this place, but not during Golden Week.
Fees & Access:
- Entrance: 1,500 yen (then, each ride is between 400 – 1,000 yen). If you go during peak season, it is best to pick this option.
- Entrance + Unlimited rides: 5,700 yen. Not recommended during peak, to pay-off this ticket you need to ride at least four 1,000 yen rides, which can take up to 10 hours due to the long queues. The amusement park only opens from 9 a.m. and depending on the day, it closes between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. So, no, you do not have the time to pay-off this ticket during peak season. Initially, I wanted to get this ticket, but the ticket counter attendant was nice enough to point out the queue time to me so I ended up buying just the entrance ticket.
There are both train options and bus options to get to Fuji-Q Highland. The nearest train station to Fuji-Q Highland is the Fuji-Q Highland station, which is right in front of the amusement park.
By bus. Most buses heading to Kawaguchiko also stops @ Fuji-Q Highland (from Shinjuku, Shibuya, Narita, Haneda, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Takayama). Check-out this page for the various highway buses options. As an example, from Shinjuku station, the direct buses to the amusement park costs 1,750 yen for just a 2 hours 5 minutes ride.
By train. From Tokyo, it is easiest and fastest to get to Otsuki station via JR Chuo. This could take 1 hour @ 2,770 yen via the limited express train. Taking the local train will take 1 hour 20 minutes but at only 1,320 yen.
From Otsuki Station, take the Fujikyuko Line to Fuji-Q highland station which takes 50 minutes @ 1,080 yen. A JR Narita Express also operates here for 1,480 yen (45 mins).
Below is the view of Mount Fuji along the Fujikyuko Line.
Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Entrance Fee: 600 yen (2,000 yen combined with Shibazakura Liner return ticket)
Basically, you need to get to Kawaguchiko station first. There are various options of getting to Kawaguchiko, by train or by bus. The official site provides the low-down in details. A Google Maps search also gives you these various options. As an example, from Shinjuku station, you can reach Kawaguchiko station by train between 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes. The slowest option would only cost 2,000+ yen, while the fastest option can cost at least 4,000 yen.
Buses are easier travel options as you do not need to change stations and lines. A number of buses from a number of stations can take you all the way to Kawaguchiko station. As an example, buses from Shinjuku only take 1 hours 45 minutes @ less than 2,000 yen.
If you are coming from Fuji-Q Highland Station like me, Kawaguchiko station is just a station away (3 minutes).
From Kawaguchiko station, you need to get on the Shibazakura Liner bus which costs 2,000 yen (this is a return ticket, inclusive of the entrance fee to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival). The bus ride takes 30 minutes and it comes with a postcard of this beautiful place.