Magical Illuminations at Toshimaen

(See page 2 for the German version)

Even though there are so many buildings in Tokyo that one might assume that there is no space for other things any more, you can find indeed more than just a few amusement parks here. Some of the popular ones are probably Tokyo Dome, Joypolis in Odaiba, and of course Tokyo Disneyland or Disney Sea (although the latter is actually in Chiba and not in Tokyo). Much less well-known and also older is the Toshimaen amusement park in the west of Tokyo, whose construction already began in 1926.

When arriving there, we immediately noticed that the park had certainly seen better days once, as at around 5PM only one lonely ticket booth was opened, no other visitors being seen. Even after entering the park, the rush of visitors was almost non-existent, with hardly any queues at all in front of the rides. Since I am rather one of those people who prefer to look at rollercoasters from far instead of actually riding them, and as I am much more interested in the atmosphere and get more excited about photo opportunities in amusement parks, this however hardly bothered me. The ‚Magical Illuminations‘ were not as sensational as their title promised, but still quite nice, and every weekend there are cosplay days there, so you could see many young people in costumes who were posing for more or less professional photo shoots.

Perhaps it is thanks to these cosplayers, that the amusement park has not shut down yet, besides the small number of visitors. The amusement rides and attractions such as Mirror House, several rollercoasters, carousels and Break Dance, at least, were rather like the things you can find at funfairs and had little in common with the ultra-modern (scary) rollercoasters at FujiQ amusement park. The newest big ride had been constructed in 2005.

Still, for an entrance fee of 1,000 yen (including a flat rate for the rides it would be as much as 4200 yen, though) we were satisfied with spending a relaxing evening at Toshimaen, which was precisely due to the fact that there were so few people there – especially considering this is Tokyo. Japan-tourists and rollercoaster fans will probably not get their money`s worth at this amusement park, but for a nice evening with friends or a good location for a photo shoot, it is definitely worth a recommendation.

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