Japan’s much-anticipated Super Nintendo World opened its doors for business on March 18th, 2021, coinciding with the start of Universal Studios Japan (USJ) ’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.
Located in USJ in Osaka Prefecture, Super Nintendo World allows guests to experience the wonderment of playing their first Mario video game all over again. Get all the details you need to plan your Universal Studios Japan vacation.
Park Design and Layout
Resembling a Mario game come to vivid life, the pastel-colored park is accessed by a green warp pipe that leads to Princess Peach’s Castle and the Mushroom Kingdom familiar to players of the long-running saga.
The area 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.
Other notable features include 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.
The original creator of Super Mario Bros, Shigeru Miyamoto was heavily involved with the design of this attraction, adding to its authenticity. Inside, guests can marvel at a range of faithfully rendered Mario props as they wait to enjoy the ride.
Costumed characters will also be available for meet and greets. Kids will have the chance to get a photo taken with Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach.
On the USJ site, there is an interactive map providing a virtual walkthrough of the park which you can enjoy from home.
Rides and Attractions
Two rides are currently open at Super Nintendo World: 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.
Making use of cutting-edge AR and projection mapping technology, riders 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 will expand in the near future with the addition of a large area dedicated to Donkey Kong, including a mine kart ride. Donkey Kong Land will open in 2024.
Smart Mario-themed wristbands
Guests can interact with many of the park’s attractions via magnetic bracelets called “Power-Up Bands”. These allow visitors to collect points as they move through the interactive attractions before climaxing in “a dramatic boss battle with Bowser Jr.”
They also track your progress through the park, and allow guests to collect stamps through actions such as hitting the ‘power-up blocks’ scattered around the Nintendo World Area.
The bands come in six different Mario-themed designs and each bracelet costs around 3, 200 yen. The final point count from each visit is sent to your Nintendo game console, allowing you to build on this score with each successive visit to the park.
Shops and Restaurants
Super Nintendo World offers guests a range of Mario-themed dining opportunities, including:
- Kinopio’s Cafe – A restaurant inspired by the character Toad, which serves amazing themed food such as Super Mushroom Pizza Bowls and Piranha Plant Caprese Salads
- Pit Stop Popcorn – A stand where fans can pick up Mario and Super Star-themed popcorn buckets
- Yoshi’s Snack Island – Sells Yoshi-themed treats such as a green shell calzone filled with Yakisoba & Cheese and green cantaloupe lassis
There are also 2 stores which sell Mario-themed merchandise, the 1UP Factory and Mario Motors. Here guests can pick up fun souvenirs such as plush hats and toys, T-shirts, and even Nintendo-themed cushions.
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 maintain 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.
Guests who are planning to visit Super Nintendo World from outside of Japan should check COVID-19 restrictions before planning their trip to avoid disappointment.
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
- Jurassic Park
- Minion Park
- 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.
Super Nintendo World US
Japan’s Super Nintendo World in Osaka is just one such attraction opening in Universal Studios theme parks around the world. Super Nintendo World attractions will soon be opening in Orlando, Hollywood, and Singapore Universal Studios.
Super Nintendo World Hollywood is due to open in 2023, to coincide with the release of the new Mario animated film. The Florida site will be included in the new Universal’s Epic Universe area at the Orlando park, planned for a 2025 opening.