Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan
It's another edition of our race through various amusement park complexes in Tokyo, which functions as both expanding Westcoaster's theme park content and travel content while providing a glimpse to the interesting attractions that seem to unfold in multiple places around the city. Today is part one of a pair of visits to Tokyo Dome City, an entertainment complex in Bunkyō district that happens to be the home of the massive Tokyo Dome Stadium. The amusement park complex spreads around east and north of the massive home of the Yomiuru Giants baseball team, and today, we look at the north end, to a large mall and amusement park called La Qua
La Qua contains a series of stores and restaurants across several stories, with a Japanese spa (or onsen) to boot. The commercial portion of the complex is housed on the north half of the property, while the amusement rides occupy the outdoor courtyard area bordering the street. The selection is small, but still charming. Big O is the world's first hubless ferris wheel, towering 200 feet in the air. Wonder Drop is a log flume ride cutting through the shopping pathways. Venus Lagoon is a cute carousel. And The Dive is an indoor 4D shooting attraction themed to a pirate ship expedition gone hairy!
The jewel of La Qua, however, is the best-named roller coaster in the world: Thunder Dolphin. Yes, this Intamin hyper coaster is really named Thunder Dolphin, because... Japan? But it's also a thrilling and blazing fast coaster that runs over 80 mph and takes riders on the rooftops of the La Qua complex, through a whole in the building, and through the eye of the Big O ferris wheel as well! In fact, over a decade after it opened, Thunder Dolphin remains in the list of top ten tallest continuous circuit roller coasters in the world!
So that's a look at La Qua, focusing on the amusement park portion. It's another small but fun amusement park area and can be combined with the Tokyo Dome City Attractions across the street for a couple hours of fun (wait times permitting).
This, like the other amusement parks in Tokyo that we've covered, is one of the few tourist attractions open late (observations are another example). Interestingly enough, in Japan, most places of interest, like temples and museums, close around sunset, and the museums open mid to late morning too. But for those who like to maximize vacation efficiency, evening is a good time to dedicate to amusement parks like this. La Qua doesn't require too much time to begin with, and stopping by at night has a positive effect of avoiding crowds as well. Just something to think about if you decide to visit.
LA QUA AT A GLANCE
- Name: La Qua
- Address: 1 Chome-1-1 Kasuga, 文京区 Tokyo 112-0003, Japan
- Web Site: http://www.laqua.jp/pages/en/
- Admission: FREE (separate prices per attraction)
- Hours: 11:00am - 9:00pm daily (for shops, subject to change), 11:00am - 11:00pm daily (for restaurants, subject to change), attractions hours vary
- Metro Stop(s): Kōrakuen Station (serves Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line & Namboku Line) & Suidobashi Station (serves Toei Mita Line & JR Chuo & Chuo-Sobu Lines)
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.