Amongst coaster enthusiasts, Osaka is well-known for its Universal theme park. However, there is a second amusement park within this huge city. It only takes a short train ride from the city centre to get to Hirakata Park. This park offers an enormous amount of family rides, some funfair-style carrousels, two water rides and a few rollercoasters. Don’t expect any Universal or Disney level theming, but the overall atmosphere at Hirakata Park is quite enjoyable and staff are friendly. Most of them don’t speak any English, but they really did an effort to help us.
The park’s five rollercoasters are the main reason to visit this place. The biggest one is Red Falcon, a typical Japanese jet coaster with a track length of 1.3 kilometres. Despite its long ride duration, Red Falcon isn’t that thrilling and I’m convinced that those over-the-shoulder-restraints aren’t exactly necessary here. Another popular ride is Elf, a wooden coaster manufactured by Intamin. Elf is just 700 metres long and the top speed (58 km/h) isn’t that spectacular either, but it’s got a very authentic wooden coaster feeling and it’s lots of fun. Also, you shouldn’t miss a ride on Fantastic Coaster Rowdy. This family coaster is pretty lame, but the train is decorated as a pink crocodile. That’s awesome, right?
Hirakata Park is a local family park, so you won’t find any top thrills or dazzling dark rides here. However, it’s a nice place to visit if you have some time to spare in Osaka. The park offers a distinctively Japanese feeling and you’ll add some extra coasters to your counter. Oh right, one more thing… I felt like a celebrity at Hirakata Park. The park attracts a very local crowd and some younger visitors aren’t exactly used to westerners. That’s why I noticed that some of them secretly started to make pictures of us and that feels kind of bizarre.