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Washuzan Highland was once home to the Guinness World Record for the longest rollercoaster ride, an uninterrupted 1,050 laps on the Star Jet Line lasting just over 35 hours (the record was surpassed in 2007). The park continues to offer thrills, though the erosion of time and a lack of maintenance has made for a slightly dystopian scene. But that’s not the main draw.
The vaguely Brazilian-themed park’s main attraction is its stunning view of the Seto Inland Sea, the Seto Ohashi Bridge, connecting Honshu to Shikoku, and many small islands. One of the rides, the Turbo Drop, boasts the most spectacular view of all. It’s about 200 feet off the ground, and the hill it stands on is over 400 feet above sea level. It’s a dizzying sight to behold.
The SkyCycle offers a less frightening view and one from which you can actually photograph the bridge and surrounding islands. It’s a fixed bicycle track about four stories high, and visitors can ride at their own pace and are welcome to stop at any point to take photos. If you’re scared of heights (let’s be honest, everyone except Alex Honnold is scared of heights), this may or may not be for you!
The park opened in 1971 and most of its rides were installed by the late ‘80s. Though the park continues to be operational, its rides are discoloured from rust, and many seem to be permanently closed for maintenance. If you are looking for a state-of-the-art amusement park, this is not it. But the view, at the right time of the day, is worth the entry fee alone, and the pervasive strangeness of the run-down park is an added bonus.
Add a visit to Washuzan Highland if you're planning to visit Okayama, Kurashiki or Naoshima. The park is easily accessible from Kurashiki or Okayama station. Ride the train to Kojima station then transfer to a bus. Then it's only a 10-minute ride to the park.
Adult tickets are ¥2,800. The park is open every day from 10:00 to 17:00.