Super Nintendo World opens March 18 at Japan’s Universal Studios

Super Nintendo World Japan

Announced in 2015, Japan’s much-anticipated Super Nintendo World is now opening its doors for business on March 18th, 2021.

Now that some COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Osaka Prefecture where Super Nintendo World is located, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) have given the go-ahead for the opening with enhanced sanitation measures.

Japan’s Super Nintendo World in Osaka is just one such attraction opening in Universal Studios theme parks around the world. After USJ’s grand opening, Super Nintendo World attractions will be opening in Orlando, Hollywood, and Singapore Universal Studios.

You can experience the wonderment of your first video game at Super Nintendo World. What can you expect, and when can you expect it? Get all the details you need to plan your Universal Studios Japan vacation.

When will Super Nintendo World open?

At the groundbreaking ceremony in 2017, it was announced that the park would be operational in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Although the Games were pushed one year due to coronavirus safety concerns, Nintendo World will still open in advance of the Olympics. 

The new grand opening date has now been confirmed as March 18th, 2021, coinciding with the start of Universal Japan’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Additionally, Nintendo also installed a Mario-themed café and store at Universal Studio Japan’s Hollywood area, which opened on October 16th, 2020.

Princess Preach Nintendo

What we know so far

On November 30th, 2020, USJ finally unveiled a full look at the parts of the park already constructed and divulged many details of what visitors can expect. In January 2021, they also updated their site with an interactive map providing a virtual walkthrough of the park you can enjoy from home.

Resembling a Mario game come to vivid life, the pastel-colored park is dominated by a huge replica of the castle tower scaled by Mario in many of the games, complete with the iconic goal pole on top and other recognizable features such as statues of Goombas and Piranha plants.

Mario Super Nintendo World

Other notable features include a Toadstool Cafe and the imposing facade of Bowser’s castle, home to a massive statue of Mario’s archenemy and the park’s most exciting attraction, the Mario Kart ride. Costumed characters will also be available for meet and greets.

What about the rides?

Two rides will be available at the time of opening: Koopa’s Challenge and Yoshi’s Adventures, a brightly colored children’s attraction based on everyone’s favorite green dinosaur.

The entrance to Koopa’s Challenge is located within Bowser’s Castle and the ride is a fully immersive rollercoaster based on the Mario Kart games that will delight avid gamers young and old.

Mario Kart - Nintendo

Making use of cutting-edge AR and projection mapping technology, riders will don AR headsets shaped like Mario’s cap to race on multiple rails alongside popular characters from the franchise such as Toad, Luigi, and Princess Peach.

The karts are equipped with a steering wheel and riders are encouraged to collect items and throw shells just like in the video game, as they race through multiple levels including the iconic Rainbow Road.

Additionally, the park is expected to be expanded in the near future with the addition of a large area dedicated to Donkey Kong, including a mine kart ride.

Smart Mario-themed wristbands

Additionally, guests will be able to interact with the park via magnetic bracelets called “Power-Up Bands”. These will allow visitors to collect points as they move through the interactive attraction, s before climaxing in “a dramatic boss battle with Bowser Jr.”

The bands come in six different Mario-themed designs and each bracelet will cost around 3000 yen. The final point count from each visit will be sent to your Nintendo game console, allowing you to build on this score with each successive visit to the park.

Universal Studios Japan has also released a special music video, the official Super Nintendo World theme song, to celebrate the opening of the park. A collaboration between Galantis, Charli XCX, and USJ, the song is called ‘We Are Born to Play’.

Safety measures against covid 19

Universal Studios Japan have implemented several COVID-19 safety measures to safeguard the health of guests and staff alike, including:

  • Enhanced sanitation measures such as use of alcohol-based cleaning solutions in areas if high guest contact
  • Requirement for all guests to wear masks at all times and have their temperature taken at the entrance to the park
  • Placing hand sanitizer at all attractions and encouraging guests to frequently wash and disinfect their hands
  • Asking guests to avoid forming crowds and maintaining good social distance practices in queues.
  • A forbidden entry  policy for anyone who has had close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has displayed any of the main symptoms.

The number of people allowed into the Universal Studios at any given time is also being limited in accordance with park safety protocols.

How to get there

You can easily reach USJ using your Japan Rail Pass. The park is located about 7 kilometers from Osaka. You can therefore take the Osaka Loop Line from Osaka Station City to Nishikujo Station. Then, transfer to the Sakurajima Line to Universal-City Station.

This trip takes about 13 minutes, and trains depart about every 15 minutes. You can walk from the station to the park in under five minutes.

Hours and admission fees

USJ’s hours vary by the season, but opening time is typically between 8:30 and 9:30 am, and closing time between 7 and 9 pm. Extended hours are implemented on some weekends and on public holidays. The park remains open every day of the year.

Tickets typically cost between 2,500 yen and 7,315 yen. Express Passes and VIP wristbands are also available, allowing you to bypass the long lines that are sure to follow this new attraction.

Other USJ attractions

In addition to Super Nintendo World, you’ll likely want to spend time in some of the park’s other themed zones. These include:

  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Hollywood
  • Jurassic Park
  • Minion Park
  • Waterworld
  • Amity Village
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Universal Wonderland

At Universal Studios Japan, your favorite entertainment and childhood dreams come to life to make for an unforgettable vacation.

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