Twists and Turns of Fuji-Q Highland (Low-budget Edition)

Fuji-Q Highland / 富士急ハイランド  (Fujikyū Hairando)

Takabisha with a Mt. Fuji backdrop

Fuji-Q Highland is thrill-seeker's haven located at the base of Mt. Fuji. This amusement park houses more than 40 different attractions and is a must-include place to visit when you go for a vacation here in Japan.  This activity can be easily be paired with tours around Mt. Fuji or Hakone. That being said, it is recommended that you spend the day before this activity around Fuji area and stay in a hotel for at least 1 night. 
Below are the top attractions that you should try when you go there!

1. Fujiyama (フジヤマ)

Fujiyama is 79 meters (259.2 ft) tall, 130 km/h, and was once the world's tallest roller coaster. As of April 2017, Fujiyama is not on the top 10 highest roller coasters but it is currently the 4th longest roller coaster with a length of 2044.81176 meters (6,708.7 ft).  Ready your throat because you will be screaming for 3 minutes and 36 seconds! (Source: Roller Coaster Database)

2. Dodonpa (ドドンパ)

Since Dodonpa is under construction when I visited, I wasn't able to take a picture of it. So here's a picture from https://www.travelblog.org/Photos/1329908

(As of April 2017, the Dodonpa is under renovation. It will resume operation on July 2017 according to the official site)
Dodonpa is 52 meters (170.6 ft) tall, 172 km/h, and was once the world's fastest roller coaster. As of April 2017, Dodonpa is the 4th faster roller coaster in the world. (Source: Roller Coaster Database)

3. Eejanaika (ええじゃないか)

Say hi to the Eejanaika passengers

Among all the roller coasters, this is my favorite one. Eejanaika is 76 meters (249.3 ft) tall, 126 km/h, and is the second "4th Dimension roller coaster" ever built. It being a 4th dimension roller coaster, the seats can rotate forward or backward. Because of that, the whole ride has a total inversion of 14 times. (Source: Roller Coaster Database)

4. Takabisha (高飛車)

Here, you can see the S-shape drop of the Takabisha.

Takabisha is 43 meters (141.1 ft) tall, 99.94 km/hr, and is currently the world's steepest roller coaster with a 121° free fall. It is also the 4th roller coaster with Most inversion with a total of 7 inversions in a 1000-meter track. (Roller Coaster Database)

5. Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear (戦慄迷宮)

The facade of the Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear (Photo by Kenneth Carpio, https://www.instagram.com/p/BSoFEJUAQtj-242bYwW4feZ63xa4w_IecndNko0/?taken-by=kennethcarpio)

Need I say more? For those who plan to sprint, you should prepare now because you will be sprinting a 900-meter path! The exit of the horror house is located near the queue so you can see the finishers' reactions (Btw, one girl cried after finishing). 
(Free Pass is not applicable, separate ticket should be bought for ¥500/person. Also, you can't go in alone. Minimum of 2 persons and maximum of 6 persons per group)
Budget:  
‎One Day Free Pass (Unlimited Ride) - ¥5,300 per person
Zekkyo Preferred Ticket (Fast Pass) - ¥1,000 per ride

ACCESS

The closest station to Fuji-Q Highland is Kawaguchiko Station. From Tokyo area, there are two options available - by bus or by train.
Kawaguchiko Station with Mt. Fuji in the background

By bus. On all of my Mt. Fuji trips, I used the bus for my transportation because it is very convenient and easy to book. Firstly, reserve your seat online. Then, pay in cash or credit card at the station's ticketing machine with the phone number that you registered with as the reference number (I used my Philippine mobile number and it worked!). The ride will take 2-3 hours depending on the traffic condition (Refer to Tip#2). If you opt not to stay in Fuji area the night before, you can disembark at Fuji-Q Highland.
By train. There are no direct train ride from Tokyo to Kawaguchiko Station. You must go to Otsuki Station and in that station, transfer to Fujikyuko Line going to Kawaguchiko Station. The whole ride will also take around 2 hours. Check the Fujikyuko Line site for more information.
Budget:  
‎Bus Ticket (Round trip) - ¥3,500 per person
Train Ticket (One way)- around ¥2,500  per person
From Kawaguchiko Station, you can go to Fuji-Q Highland by bus or by train. Some of the bus don't accept IC cards so ask before riding. Note that the train ride will take 3-5 minutes and the train station is at Entrance 2 of the park. On the other hand, the bus will take around 10 minutes. There are bus stations at the Entrance 1 and 2 so ask where you can disembark.
Budget:  
‎Bus Ticket (One way) - ¥150 - ¥200 per person
Train Ticket (One way)- ¥170  per person

ACCOMMODATION

Since the capsule hotel industry is booming here in Japan, finding a cheap hotel is easier than how it seems to be. For my case, I used an online booking site called Booking.com. Firstly, I searched for a place and arranged the results according to price. Check the location if it is conveniently located near Kawaguchiko Station. After that, review the cancellation information before finalizing your reservation. For my case, I stayed at K's House Fuji View - Backpackers Hostel for ¥3,200 for a night!
(Make a Booking.com account using my referral code for an extra ¥1800 off!)
Budget:  
‎Hotel booking (One night)- ¥3,000 - ¥4,000 per person

ZEKKYO PREFERRED TICKET

Contrary to what many tourists say about Fuji-Q Highland having long queues, my experience of going there, twice, proved me otherwise. The Zekkyo Preferred Ticket is for those who don't like waiting in line for 2-3 hours. This ticket can only be purchased inside the park and is limited. The reason why I recommend staying at a hotel nearby the night before is to be able to queue as early as possible. Upon entering the park, swallow the urge to queue in the queue-less rides and go to the Zekkyo Preferred Ticket Booth (Running is not allowed but is highly recommended ?).  It is located near the Merry-go-round. A maximum of 9 tickets can be sold to one person at a time. You can buy more than 9 tickets if you have a companion with you, else, you have to fall in line again. Each ticket is sold at ¥1000 per ride.
In buying a ticket, you choose a ride and a time frame (Refer to Tip#6). The time frame is in hourly basis (i.e. 9:000-10:00, 10:00-11:00, etc.). When you have the preferred ticket, the waiting time can be reduced from 2-3 hours to 5-10 minutes. The trick here is after getting your tickets, go to the other attractions you want to ride and ride them. If you came early and bought your preferred tickets early, the waiting time for other attractions can vary from 10-20 minutes. When the queue for the attractions get longer, this is where your preferred ticket comes to play. So, I recommend buying preferred tickets starting on 10:00 or 11:00. Don't hesitate to buy 2-3 tickets with the same time frame if you want to finish early and just stroll around and take pictures. If you do finish early, I recommend having a relaxing Onsen experience after (Refer to Onsen Section of the Elite Edition).

MORE TIPS

1. Many Japanese people don't speak English fluently so you might want to prepare an offline e-dictionary. 
2. Avoid the Cherry Blossom Season, Golden Week, New Year Vacation, and weekends as much as possible if you are not planning to buy the Zekkyo Preferred Ticket.
3. Weather Check. Since most of the rides are outdoors, it is important that you check the weather before booking. There are only around 13 attractions in operation when it is raining. Note that some of the rides also close if the wind is strong.
4. In case of booking through internet, print your vouchers. Showing your voucher through phone won't work.
5. Lockers are available inside and outside the park. However, big lockers (check-in luggage size) are not available. 
6. There are two guide maps available, an English/Chinese one and a Japanese one. Get both copies to easily buy, read, and use your Zekkyo Preferred Ticket which is printed only in Japanese.
7. The Japanese way in saying Fuji-Q Highland is Fujikyu Hayrando.
8. Check out my other guide. [Still under construction :D]
9. Comments, questions, and corrections are welcome!

Additional Information:

Date Visited: March 19 , 2017 and April 2, 2017
Location: 5 Chome-6-1 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture 403-0017
Opening Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (Changes depending on the season)
Closed: No closing dates (Check their site for closed dates)
Admission: *Refer to article*
*Check their site for more information
Special thanks to my very smart friend, Clarice Bernardo, for proofreading my article! 

Ej Uy