Every Friday I look back at one of the notable roller coasters I have been on in my travels…

Thunder Dolphin is situated within the Tokyo Dome City Attractions. Passing through the LaQua building and a ferris wheel over its course, it packs a visual punch especially as it’s in the middle of the city. The views are pretty spectacular from the top and the traffic passing by really adds to the drama of the ride. Even though Thunder Dolphin may look gimmicky or like a glorified photo op, it’s actually a surprisingly good roller coaster. I would rank it in the top 5 of the coasters I’ve been on in Japan. Standing at 260ft tall it just about makes the top 10 tallest coasters in the world list, photos dwarf it as it stands next to the huge ferris wheel and high buildings of Tokyo.

The first time I went to Japan in the summer of 2013, Thunder Dolphin was still closed after an incident where a loose bolt struck a rider. It had been closed for 3 years, until it reopened in August 2013 (just under month after I left). Luckily, Tokyo drew me back as a last minute birthday getaway in November 2014 and my friend bought my ticket as a birthday gift, so I got to go back and ride this fantastic coaster. Made by my favourite manufacturer, Intamin, I’m not sure why my expectation was low for this coaster. It’s not very highly rated in the community, so I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed it. If the queue wasn’t so incredibly long (the only day we could go was a busy Sunday afternoon/evening) I definitely would have wanted to experience it over and over.

Thunder Dolphin sits in the middle of Tokyo adding to the sense of drama on the ride as you watch cars speed past you
Thunder Dolphin sits in the middle of Tokyo adding to the sense of drama on the ride as you watch cars speed past you
The hubless ferris wheel that Thunder Dolphin sweeps through.
The hubless ferris wheel that Thunder Dolphin sweeps through.
Thunder Dolphin even goes through a building at one point.
Thunder Dolphin even goes through a building at one point.
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