The Tokyo Dome City around the baseball stadium Tokyo Dome is an inner-city entertainment area. It consists of the stadium (home of the Yomiuri Giants), a hotel, three event halls, the generous wellness temple LaQua, a space museum, many restaurants and shopping facilities, as well as the amusement park Tokyo Dome City Attractions.
Many theme park fans are familiar with the park because of its Thunder Dolphin roller coaster, which has shaped the skyline of the park since the year 2003 and in particular the building complex in the LaQua area. The fact that the track leads through a building and the significant Big-O Giant Ferris Wheel also ensured a fast international reputation outside the fan community. Even though Facebook no longer plays a role, at some point everyone got a message with a reference to this roller coaster.
The amusement park itself is much older and dates back to 1955. Created as a supplement to the Korakuen Stadium built in 1937, the park quickly developed into one of the most important in the country. In fact, it was so important that Kijima Kogen Park in distant Beppu used to be called Kijima Korakuen Yuenchi for many years. The Korakuen Yuenchi or Korakuen Amusement Park was an important brand.
In the course of time, a lot was offered to the visitors on the grounds of the amusement park: whether it was the Jet Coaster built in 1955, as one of the first roller coasters in the country, the prototype of the Impulse Coaster by Intamin or a Togo Ultra Twister, as well as an Arrow Shuttle Loop. Unfortunately, none of the rides has survived the time and thus the park presents itself very modern and always state-of-the-art.
The park is divided into several areas: the LaQua Zone, the Viking Zone, the Parachute Zone, the Geopolis Zone and the Splash Garden Zone. Coming from the train station Suidōbashi you first encounter the Parachute Zone with its outstanding Parachute Tower Sky Flower. On the same level you will also find the park’s very snazzy teacups and music express.
Directly below is the Geopolis Zone, home of the Theatre G-Rosso and the dark ride Tokyo Panic Cruise. Several times a day (on weekends and during school holidays), the theatre hosts a Hero Action Show, which is very popular, at least according to the website. Right next door, the dark ride Tokyo Panic Cruise impresses with its ride system, which is similar to the Spiderman dark rides of the Universal Studios Parks.
Adjacent to it is the Viking Zone with its giant boat swing and a quite interesting car ride. There is also a small collection of children’s rides.
From here you can change to the LaQua zone via an underpass or a bridge. On the lowest level of the complex is the station of the O.D. Hopkins Wonder Drop log flume, which is supposed to get pretty wet, according to the Achterbahnreisenden (a highly recommended podcast that has thoroughly tested all the attractions of the park). Also on this level you can find the very interesting interactive dark ride The Dive.
The main reason for our visit to the Tokyo Dome City can be found several levels up. For 1030 Yen (about 7,70€) we bought a ticket for the Thunder Dolphin and immediately queued. The line moved quite fast, so it shouldn’t take long until we were sitting in the train. However, when it was our turn it started to rain. Everything stopped, rien ne va plus. Too bad. Nicolas explained to the personal, that we would like to get our money back.
In the end we were allowed to wait in the station of the roller coaster and after half an hour the regular operation continued. We locked our belongings in the lockers for a second time – this time not for places somewhere in the middle, but in the back of the train.
The cable lift takes you up to a height of 80m very quickly. With a breathtaking view of the city, you descend 66.5m in a spectacular descent. Then you rush through the adjacent valley at 130 km/h before the train turns to the roof of the spa building. In a nicely banked curve, you climb to the top of the spa building, where there is a small gradient and a camelback. The train plunges to the ground one more time through a hole in the wall. Just above the track of the log flume, we cross another valley before turning towards the Big-O Ferris wheel. We cross this hubless and 60m high Ferris wheel of the company Intamin where other Ferris wheels would have their hub. A short moment later and (thanks to the constant lateral slope and the massive supports of the wheel) one knowledge richer, we start the second round. Parallel to the first descent, we now race over a speed bump before we climb the roof of the facility once more. Quite leisurely we follow the waves of the roof construction and lean to the right and to the left. Although very dynamic, this section is a bit quirky. After some time the edge of the roof is reached and we jump down from about 30m for the last time. After a short straight the braking track of the ride follows and soon we arrive at the station.
The Thunder Dolphin is actually a really, really, really awesome roller coaster. The First Drop is outstanding and the distance up to the second rooftop visit is really incredibly good. Unfortunately the fun decreases significantly towards the end, where a grand finale should have been waiting for the passengers, but couldn’t be solved otherwise due to the existing boundary conditions. Nevertheless, I can’t imagine a better roller coaster as my 500th ridden coaster, especially since I rode a similar roller coaster alot during my visit at Tobu Zoo Park in the morning. The coaster impresses quite a lot and the 80m high ride (although only 66,5m of it are used efficiently) is a lot of fun and therefore should not be missed.
The Tokyo Dome City Attraction amusement park is an exceptionally nice amusement park in the middle of a metropolis of millions. The choice of amusement rides is quite impressive and with the Thunder Dolphin and the Big-O you have two very significant attractions in the park. Especially in connection with a visit to the onsen and a dinner I can imagine another visit to the Tokyo Dome City. But then, I will visit the Tokyo Dome City Attractions with a Free Pass, as I can would like to ride the Parachute Tower Sky Flower, their dark rides and their novelties.
Originally a visit to the Yokohama Cosmo World was planned for the day, but due to a change in our schedule we were now drawn towards the indoor amusement park Tokyo Joypolis. However, we reached it a few minutes after the final admission. Actually, it was even worse, as we now went to visit the Cosmo World amusement park on a day of rest. But hey, there will be future visits to Japan. Stuff like this can happen. At least, I can definitely recommend the Hawaiian restaurant with live music in the mall next door.
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