Thomas Land at Fuji-Q Highland
For those with a child aged five or under in their family, Thomas Land at Fuji-Q Highland theme park is nothing short of heaven. Nestled under the serene and magnificent Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland is a huge park dominated by roller coasters and rides which snake their way up, down and around the site. But for the under-fives, the sign on the front gate says it all, in English, Japanese and more importantly, pictorially: Thomas Land is ahead.
The park is well maintained and organized. Painted paths direct you to the various sections. Follow the blue path for Thomas Land. It winds its way under many of the larger and louder roller coasters, so beware of the effect of the noise on little ones. After a short walk the magical world of Thomas opens up in front of you. Thankfully the designers of the area have included quite a bit of green space and several water features. We were there on a searingly hot day and these were a real benefit to beating the heat.
Thomas Land has lots of open space for children to run and play. There are carousels and age appropriate rides featuring all the Thomas and Friends characters. Even Sir Toppen Hat makes an appearance. Nearby, a full size replica of Thomas the Tank Engine is extremely popular, with children swarming all over it. Another great factor of the exhibits in Thomas Land is the superb quality of the engines. Colorful and vibrant, they make the perfect backdrop for great photos!
Theme parks in Japan are notorious for crowds and wait times, but Thomas Land has generously spaced the various rides and features so that there is a lot of play room in between and plenty of trees and areas in which to sit. Perhaps the only negative in the plan is that the water features are open and a fleet footed toddler could easily make a break for it and end up wet.
The highlight for our day at Thomas Land was the Thomas and Percy Fun Ride. We had Percy take us on our journey several times through the various locations on mythical Sodor Island. Our toddler loved it and so did we. Once inside Thomas Land there are conveniently located ticket booths. Tickets are ¥200 per ride. The gift shop came in as a close second. Full marks to the marketing team managing to label every conceivable product with a Thomas image. Also full marks to the shop management for supplying a large table with toy trains on it for the children to safely play while their parents shop. The cafeteria is also Thomas themed, as are the meals. This is a very welcome air conditioned haven with free access to iced water and a kid-friendly vibe. It is a good respite for refueling before battling the calls for “just one more ride” as you attempt to leave the park.
Of course the racket from the roller coasters is never far away, and for families with older children and enthusiastic parents they offer lots of high-pitched screaming fun. The roller coasters at this amusement park are rated by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most spins in the world. There is also something very surreal about being twisted upside down at great speed with the iconic Fuji-san towering over you. It is definitely an only-in-Japan moment. A Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear ride, a Haunted house, a four dimension roller coaster and many more should keep the daredevils well and truly amused.
The ticketing is done by section, and there are special prices for seniors, children and day passes. For more details see the park’s official website.
There was plenty of parking on the day we visited, and there is also a railway station at the front gate which would make it very easy to travel by train. Trains leave from Shinjuku station for Otsuki, from where a local train can be taken to Fuji-Q Highland station. There are also buses from Yokohama and Tokyo stations. Please check the website for full access details.
Thomas Land is a great day out for the under-fives and the Fuji-Q roller coasters will keep the rest of the family happy as well.