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Japan's oldest amusement park is Hirakata Park, which first opened in 1910 in its namesake community located 22kms northeast of Osaka. More than a century later, Hirakata Park continues to attract visitors from across Japan and the rest of the world. This park, often nicknamed Hirapah, boasts an impressive 43 attractions within its relatively small size.
The most thrilling rides at Hirakata Park include two rollercoasters called Elf, a wooden rollercoaster which is nearly 700m long and can travel at a speed approaching 60kms per hour, and the 1300m long Red Falcon rollercoaster whose maximum speed is 70kms per hour. Giant Drop Meteo is a wild freefalling experience.
Hirakata Park also contains more sedate attractions such as a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, and gnome train. Other Hirakata Park attractions, like summer swimming pools and winter ice skating rinks, are seasonal in nature. A special Snow Land area is also set aside for snow play in winter.
Address and contact: 1-1 Hirakatakoencho, Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture 573-0054; tel: (81) 72 844 3475
Opening times and fees: Opening hours 10:00 - 17:00 on most weekdays, weekends, and national holidays, admission fees approximately SG$9.22 for children elementary school age or younger and SG$16.15 for older visitorsWhere to stay
Hotels near Hirakata Park tend to cost less than those located closer to Osaka because Hirakata does not contain a lot of tourist attractions beyond its popular amusement park. Visitors can arrive in Hirakata by the Keihan bus or by train from the Keihan Main Line at Hirakata Koen station.
At least one of the hotels near Hirakata Park is for adults only, but most other Hirakata places to stay welcome guests of all ages. Although hotels near Hirakata Park may not be quite as upscale as their Osaka counterparts, guests can nonetheless expect to stay in rooms with air-conditioning, televisions, and other basic amenities.
Guestrooms at hotels near Hirakata Park also include refrigerators and, in some cases, even fully equipped kitchens. Internet access, either wired or Wi-fi, is also easily available at no extra cost. More luxurious hotels near Hirakata Park feature additional perks like saunas, restaurants, and meeting rooms.