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The Haunted House of Fujikya Highland Park

By: Jack and Ann McCombs

FujikyaWe were told that the Japanese love haunted houses. Judging by our visit to Fujikyu Highland Park in April 2000, this is certainly true! This medium-sized amusement park located at the foot of Mt. Fujiyama features four attractions that could be loosely described as being of the darkride/walkthrough persuasion. We chose to skip the "Ge-Ge-Ge Haunted House," a 3D film also called "Kitaro's Ghost Railway," but we made a point of checking out the rest of the goodies.
"Zora" was our first experience on a shooting coaster. This darkride consists of an indoor, gentle roller coaster with 2-seat (side-by-side) cars carrying light guns and in-car scoring. The goal is for the two riders to compete at shooting pop-up aliens, a skill at which both of us proved to be singularly inept. Imagine Kennywood's late, lamented "Le Cachot" with guns and you've got the idea.
Adjacent to Zora was a tiny building, smaller than the average amusement park restroom that the map described simply as "Haunted House." Bewildered, we entered, to find ourselves in a dimly-lit central hail flanked by small, barred "cells," each containing four plain wooden seats and a rack holding headphones?!? We took our seats, donned the headphones, and waited. Soon, the lights dropped to pitch-black, and a sound track in vivid stereo began, featuring clanking chains, unevenly dragging footsteps, a deep voice breathing threats that would have undoubtedly terrified us if we had understood sufficient Japanese, and a chainsaw. The stereo effect gave the convincing illusion that the homicidal maniac was lurking, unseen, RIGHT behind you! We left delighted with this ingeniously low-budget approach to the genre.
The highlight of the collection, costing each of us an additional 500 Yen (about $5), was the superb walkthrough "Isolation Hospital." This large, apparently decrepit building was claimed to hold the honors in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest haunted house, and we can easily believe it.
Upon entry, each visitor is issued a flashlight, and then the group is shown a film, purportedly a documentary made by a TV news crew that meets an unsavory end, "Blair Witch" style. Then visitors walk, mostly single-file, through the "hospital", consisting of a maze of rooms filled with blood-spattered laundry, heaps of filthy mattresses, overturned lab equipment, shattered drug vials, and the like. Interestingly, there were several places where we had a choice of routes, which made the layout even more confusing. Now and then, actors portraying insane knife-wielding surgeons would leap out from their hiding places. I had tremendous admiration for the mutilated "patient" at the end who, seeing that we were Americans, had the presence of mind to stagger toward us moaning "Help me, help me ..." in English!
Sign from Guinness Book OF World Records says it is the longest/biggest haunted house attraction in the world. Reminiscent of the Six Flags America (NJ) haunted attraction during their Halloween event in 1999. (Apr. 2000)



This article ©2002 Jack and Anne McCombs.
Photos ©2001 Jack and Anne McCombs, and used with permission.