Built on a whim by a downsizing steel company in the 1990s, Space World has quickly become one of Kitakyushu's major attractions. The park features about 30 rides and experiences that cater to adults and children of various ages. It helps if visitors are space enthusiasts, but if you aren't, don't worry; you will be by the end of the day.
Thrill-seekers should head straight to Space World's flagship ride, Venus GP. This roller coaster features a loop-the-loop which circles a huge replica space shuttle. Next, ride Zaturn, which bills itself as a “rocket” coaster, propelling people at speeds of 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour.
Once you're able to stand again, line up for Titan MAX, a ride that plummets 196 feet (60 meters) and reaches a speed of 71 miles (115 kilometers) per hour. Families with younger children will find plenty to do at Lucky Land. This section of Space World is full of accessible attractions, such as spinning tea cups and a merry-go-round. Kids will also get to rub shoulders with Space Park's furry mascots. Board the Clipper, a roller coaster that's suitable for children aged 3 and up. Stop at the skating rink in winter and water park in summer for more lower-adrenaline thrills.
Dine at one of the park's many restaurants, filling up on ramen and udon noodles, ice cream and crêpes. In the afternoon, go to the Space Museum to see parts of real spacecraft and genuine moon rock. Then stock up on Space World candy and character-based merchandise at one of the five gift shops.
Check ahead to see which seasonal events are happening at Space World. Depending on the time of the year you visit, you may catch the Happy Spring Party (a colorful spring festival), Galaxy Summer Party (nighttime illuminations), Blue Sky Party (festivities for the fall) or Hot Hot Party (Space World's Christmas celebrations).
Space World is open daily, although times vary depending on the season. Check the website before you visit. Reach Space World by traveling to the JR Space World station on the JR Kagoshima line.