I had the morbid pleasure of going through this World Record winning haunted attraction on two distinct occasions. But, like most things, the first time is definitely the most memorable. For the uninitiated, this haunt is located in Fujikyu Highland amusement park near, of course, the iconic Mt. Fuji. The forest area surrounding Mt. Fuji happens to have a sinister reputation. Stories abound telling of those who enter the woods and never return. BUT...that's another story for another time perhaps and it doesn't hurt the atmosphere when stepping up to the formidable gates of the “abandoned” hospital. It brought me back to my urban exploration days of searching through an abandoned mental health facility in the dark of night.
The sun was shining, but after standing in line a good deal of time and paying our 500 yen as an added attraction fee, we could walk... well, in my case... run to the dark opening the hospital doors presented. The setting inside was a dilapidated hospital waiting room and various spooky props abound. Once the room filled with apprehensive “patients” we were given instructions about the facility. Being a foreigner, unable to understand Japanese, and with my girl who hates to translate for me, I was fortunate to receive an instruction sheet in English. This service is definitely a welcome surprise and not the rule at most Japanese parks.
After reviewing the Dos and Don'ts we headed to the next waiting area, a la Disney, but what we found inside was a group of rickety chairs and a screen in the front. Nami and I clamored for a close spot and a movie began. As strange images blurred onto the screen it slowly came into my comprehension that what was being shown to us was what awaited us on the other side of the door.
The scene was set, we were issued a flashlight, and then Nami and I found ourselves entering the darkness alone. One of the great things I have found with Japanese Haunted Houses is that they typically have us go in very small groups and quite often with only those we came with. I won't give too much away about the inside of the haunt, but I will tell you some of the scenes were spectacular and they used the darkness very ingeniously, making use of the fact we were carrying a small flashlight to help us traverse the rooms. There are many levels to this haunt and some of the spookiest areas were where we had to climb the stairwells to the next level.
During our adventure our flashlight seemed to be losing power. I kept banging it against my palm to reconnect the battery. My efforts were futile. Our flashlight went dead. And... it was very... very... dark. After considering that this was the most impressive effect I had experienced in a haunted attraction, I would later discover that I must have just received a faulty light and it was not part of the usual experience. It definitely was memorable though and led me to realize that sometimes the best scares are the ones that were not prepared.
Reminding me of Silent Hill, this haunt offered scares with its atmosphere, tension building, and ghosts. More houses could learn something here. Since visiting Fuji-Q I understand the hospital has been updated and now is a 4.0 version. Who knows what freakish fun now awaits its guests.