Miyashiro, Saitama, Japan
“Very mediocre zoo, quite enjoyable amusement park”
Tokyo is one of Asia’s roller coaster 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 easily be reached by train. One of those parks is Tobu Zoo, which lies about 50 kilometers north of the city centre.
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 tall 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 over and over today.
Tobu Zoo used to have a looping wild mouse (not kidding), but it was removed in 2009. The remaining coasters are the awesome Kawasemi, a very tiny Japanese kiddie coaster and a medium-sized Zierer Tivoli. During our visit, we also got to experience Regina. Regina was one of Japan’s most impressive wooden coasters and it did not disappoint. It delivered a shaky experience, but it had a certain wooden coaster feeling I really appreciate. Unfortunately, Regina was closed forever in 2019.
Tobu Zoo is divided in two separate sections. The first area offers classic amusement park rides and roller coasters. Most of the attractions are family-friendly and there’s hardly any theming, but the overall atmosphere is nice. The second part of Tobu Zoo is (as you might expect) dedicated to animals. Unfortunately, this zoo offers a quite poor experience compared to most European wildlife parks. Tobu Zoo looks old and the exhibits are rather simple.
If you’re planning a visit to Tobu Zoo, please note that it takes some time to get there. A train ride from Tokyo Station takes approximately 90 minutes and it requires 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.
Would you travel all the way to Tobu Zoo for Kawasemi? Do you think that the zoo section looks a bit outdated? And are you sad that the park removed Regina and the looping wild mouse? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.