Tokyo is one of Asia’s rollercoaster capitals. You’ll find loads of amusement parks throughout the city. Of course, the theme parks at Tokyo Disney Resort are the most famous, but there are a lot of medium-sized parks as well. And here’s the good news: almost every park in Japan can be reached easily by train. One of those parks is Tobu Zoo, which lies about 50 kilometers north of the city centre. This is (as you may have guessed already) a zoo. Or actually… it’s mostly a zoo. The park is divided in two seperate sections. The first section is dedicated to animals. Unfortunately, this zoo offers a less immersive experience than most European wildlife parks. Tobu Zoo looks old and the exhibits are rather simple. The second part of the park, however, is more interesting. Tobu Zoo also offers a section dedicated to classic amusement park rides. Most of the rides are family-friendly and there’s hardly any theming, but the overall atmosphere is nice.
Lots of coaster enthusiasts plan a trip to Tobu Zoo because of Kawasemi. This is one of those fancy Intamin Mega-Lite coasters. In fact, a Mega-Lite is a small version of the manufacturer’s famous mega coasters. Kawasemi, for example, is only 30 metres high and the track measures 755 metres. That doesn’t sound impressive at all, but the ride has everything you love about a big Intamin coaster: it’s fast, the airtime is great and there are some very intense transitions. Kawasemi is certainly one of the best coasters in Tokyo and there’s hardly any queue during our visit. In other words: we ride it quite a few times today.
Tobu Zoo used to have a looping wild mouse (not kidding!), but it was unfortunately removed in 2009. The remaining coasters are the awesome Kawasemi, a very tiny Japanese kiddie coaster, a medium-sized Zierer Tivoli and Regina. Regina is one of Japan’s most impressive wooden coasters and it does not disappoint. You’d better be prepared for a shaky experience, but it’s got a certain wooden coaster feeling I really enjoy.
If you’re planning a visit to Tobu Zoo, please note that it takes some time to get there. It’s not near the city centre and a train ride from Tokyo Station takes approximately 90 minutes (and some line changes). However, if you don’t mind travelling and if you’ve never ridden a Mega-Lite, then Tobu Zoo is the place to be.