The 11 Best Theme and Amusement Parks in Japan

Theme parks in Japan

Japan is home to several dozen theme parks and amusement parks.

Some of these parks are world-famous, such as Disneyland, Legoland, and Universal Studios. Others are uniquely Japanese, reflecting the traditional culture of the land of the rising sun.

With so many parks to choose from, which will you select for your next Japanese vacation? The following is a compilation of the best amusement parks in Japan, complete with instructions on how to get there using the Japan Rail Pass.

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland

The first Disney Park inaugurated outside the United States, Tokyo Disneyland is the king of Tokyo theme parks.

It houses 7 “lands” themed after Disney films and characters.

Main Attractions:

  • Adventureland (Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean)
  • Tomorrowland (attractions based on Star Wars and Big Hero 6)
  • Toontown (Mickey Mouse and his friends)
  • Fantasyland (includes rides based on Cinderella, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast and MORE)
  • Critter Country (features the log-flume ride Splash Mountain)
  • The World Bazaar (the main shopping area)
  • Westernland (based on the American frontier and home to Big Thunder Mountain)

As in other Disney Parks around the world, the Tokyo site also features regular parades and spectacular fireworks shows.

How to get there: Use your JR Pass to travel from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station, on the JR Keiyo line. Travel time is 20 minutes and the park is a mere 5-minute walk from the station.

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

Located in Tokyo Disney Resort, this waterside park contains 7 different “ports of call” themed after locations around the world:

  • The American Waterfront captures the mystique of 20th-century harbor towns and boasts a Titanic-like steamship.
  • Port Discovery is described as “the marina of the future,” with experimental watercraft available for use.
  • The Lost River Delta mirrors ruins in the jungles of Central America, complete with Indiana Jones adventures.
  • The Arabian Coast captures the adventures of heroic characters such as Sinbad and Aladdin.
  • The Mermaid Lagoon, geared toward a younger audience, transports visitors to Ariel’s underwater world.
  • The Mysterious Island brings to life the imagination of Jules Verne with a ride based on Journey to the Center of the Earth.
  • The Mediterranean Harbor is modeled after the canals of Venice, Italy.

What’s more, Tokyo DisneySea is also home to several other iconic attractions such as The Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania!, and the Nemo & Friends SeaRider.

How to get there: DisneySea is a 20-minute walk from Maihama Station, or you can take the Disney Resort Monorail from Maihama to Tokyo Disney Sea Station.

Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

The second-most visited theme park in Japan, Universal Studios Japan welcomes approximately 8 million visitors every year.

The park features a huge number of rides and attractions based on popular films and franchises, including:

  • Despicable Me
  • Jaws
  • Jurassic Park
  • Sing
  • Waterworld
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The park also recently opened a Super Nintendo World area with rides including Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. There’s also a Yoshi’s Adventures attraction aimed at the youngest guests.

How to get there: From Osaka Station, take the Osaka loop line to Universal City Station. From Nishikujo Station, you can also take the JR Sakurajima line (also called Yumesaki line). The park is a 5-minute walk from the station.

Fuji Q Highland

Fuji Q Highland

Whether you’re seeking the rush of a roller coaster or the charm of childhood favorites, Fuji-Q Highland delivers an exhilarating experience.

Nestled at the base of the iconic Mount Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland is a haven for adrenaline junkies and anime enthusiasts alike.

This park is famed for its 6 record-breaking roller coasters and anime-themed attractions.

Main Attractions:

  • Fujiyama: Once the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, it continues to thrill visitors.
  • Eejanaika: A 4D coaster with the most inversions of any roller coaster.
  • Takabisha: Known for its steep 121° drop, it was formerly the steepest roller coaster in the world.
  • Zokkon: Twisting and turning roller coaster with cars designed like motorbikes.
  • The Haunted Hospital: The world’s largest haunted attraction.
  • Thomas Land: A delightful area for younger guests, featuring train rides and shows based on the beloved Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • Anime Attractions: Various rides and attractions themed around popular anime series.

Enjoy the thrills with stunning views of Japan’s most famous mountain and the surrounding Five Lakes Region.

How to get there: From Tokyo, take the Chuo Line-Limited Express to Otsuki Station. Then, take the Fujikyu Railway Line to Fujikyu Highland Station. This second line is not covered by the JR Pass.

Nagashima Resort

Roller coasters? Check.

Water park? Check.

Hot spring spa? Check.

It could only be the Nagashima Resort. Located just outside Nagoya, this expansive leisure destination caters to all. Whether you’re traveling alone or as a family, this resort offers a variety of attractions suitable for all ages.

Main Attractions:

  • Nagashima Spaland: Home to the Steel Dragon 2000, one of the longest roller coasters in the world, and 40+ other thrill rides like the Acrobat and Arashi.
  • Joyful Waterpark: A summer favorite featuring numerous pools and slides, perfect for cooling off in the heat.
  • Yuami no Shima Onsen: This hot spring complex provides a tranquil experience with multiple indoor and outdoor baths, themed around different scenic views of Japan.
  • Nabana no Sato: Renowned for its seasonal flower displays and spectacular winter illuminations, offering a more relaxed pace with breathtaking views.
  • Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima: A large outdoor shopping mall with a wide range of international and local brands — ideal for some retail therapy.

How to get there: Use your JR Pass to travel from Nagoya to Kuwana Station, on the JR Kansai line. You will then need to take a bus to the park itself. Buses run 2-3 times per hour.

Legoland Japan (Nagoya)

Legoland Japan in Nagoya

The Legoland Japan Park opened in April 2017, and features over 40 rides and attractions, as well as 10,000 Lego models constructed from 17 million bricks, inspired by the Danish toy company.

Main Attractions:

  • Bricktopia: Interactive attractions, including Lego robot-building and DUPLO Play.
  • Observation Tower: Get a 360° view of the park from 60 meters in the air.
  • Miniland: Japanese cities and landmarks built from Lego pieces.
  • Ninjago World: An area of the park based on Lego’s “Ninjago” line. It includes rides such as the Flying Ninjago rollercoaster.
  • Knight’s Kingdom: A medieval-themed area with the famous Dragon rollercoaster.
  • The Factory: Souvenirs, shops, restaurants, and a museum telling the story of Lego, with machines that make Lego pieces.

How to get there: Take the Aonami Line (not covered by the JR Pass) from Nagoya Station to Kinjo Futo Station, then take the pedestrian walkway to the park. Travel time is around 30 minutes (10 stops).

Rusutsu Resort (Hokkaido)

The Rusutsu Resort covers 3 mountains on the island of Hokkaido. It’s very well regarded among Japanese tourists.

Enjoy outdoor activities for the entire family, including:

  • Ski slopes
  • Water park
  • Roller coasters
  • Golf courses

How to get there: From Tokyo, use your JR Pass to take the Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. Transfer to the Hokuto limited express to Sapporo. From Sapporo, shuttle buses will take you to the resort.

Meiji Mura

Meiji Mura is an open air village museum which has preserved more than 60 historic buildings from around Japan.

Each building has been moved from its original location and carefully reconstructed here.

The village showcases buildings from 3 major periods of Japanese history:

  • Meiji (1867–1912)
  • Taishō (1912–1926
  • Early Shōwa (1926–1945)

Main Attractions:

  • The main entrance and lobby of Toyko’s old Imperial Hotel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Cabinet Library of Tokyo Imperial Palace
  • “Kikunoyo” Brewery
  • The former Kanazawa Prison
  • The Sapporo Telephone Exchange
  • Mie Prefectural Office
  • St. John’s Church from Kyoto
  • St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
  • Kureha-za Theater

This is a fantastic place if you’re looking for an insight into Japanese history and architecture.

There are also cafés, candy stores, and traditional game stalls.

How to get there: This park is located in Inuyama, about an hour from Nagoya. Take the Meitetsu Inuyama Line from Nagoya Station to Inuyama Station. You will then take a bus. The JR Pass is not valid on this train or bus line.

Toei Kyoto Studio Park (Toei Uzumasa Eigamura)

Japan's Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Also known as “Movie Land” this theme park is also used as a movie set for historical films and television shows. You might even see filming in progress when you visit!

Watch ninja performances, dress as a samurai, ninja, or geisha, and test your skills in a ninja maze.

Main Attractions:

  • Evangelion Kyoto Base: Interactive attraction based on the Evangelion anime.
  • Transformation Experience: Dress up in Edo-period costumes
  • “The Cursed Doll”: Described as “the most terrifying Haunted House in history”
  • Ninja Fort Maze: A 3-storey wooden indoor maze and obstacle course.
  • Ninja Climbing: Colorful and unique climbing walls to ascend with a harness.
  • Ninja Mystery House: Fun interactive walk-through attraction with revolving doors and hidden passages
  • Ninja Shuriken Dojo: Learn how to use throwing stars (shuriken) and hit targets.

See the Toei Kyoto Studio Park site for more details.

How to get there: From Kyoto Station, use your JR Pass to travel to Hanazono Station. The park is a 15-minute walk from the station.

Nikko Edomura (Edo Wonderland)

This popular attraction north of Nikko is a history theme park depicting the Edo Period (1603–1868).

Staff and guests dress in period costume.

Main Attractions:

  • Traditional theater performances: Plays, ninja, and oiran shows
  • Outdoor live shows: Open-air performances and events, including parades and festivals
  • Henshin Costume House: Dress in Edo period costumes
  • Edo Wonderland Studio: Film studios used for historical films and TV dramas

See the Edo Wonderland site for more information.

How to get there: From Tokyo JR Shinjuku, Ikebukuro or Omiya Stations, take the direct express Kingawa-go or Spacia Kinugawa-go to Kinugawa-Onsen Station. Travel time is 2 hours, although these trains are not covered by the JR Pass. Alternatively, from Kinugawa Onsen Station, take the Tobu bus to Edo Wonderland.

Asakusa Hanayashiki

Asakusa Hanayashiki, the oldest theme park in Japan.
Attraction in Asakusa Hanayashiki theme park – Photo by Lewis Tse

Asakusa Hanayashiki holds the title of Japan’s oldest amusement park, delighting visitors since 1853 in the heart of Tokyo.

This compact park blends historic charm and modern excitement, all within a stone’s throw of the famous Sensoji Temple.

The top attractions include:

  • Japan’s oldest roller coaster
  • The iconic Panda Car
  • Haunted House attraction
  • The Disk-O ride
  • Sky Ship
  • Live performances at the Asakusa Hana Gekijyou theater

For a family-friendly day out that captures the essence of historical Tokyo while providing contemporary fun, Asakusa Hanayashiki is a must-visit.

How to get there: Take the Yamanote line to Ueno Station (covered by your JR Pass), then transfer to the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Hanayashiki is just a 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station.

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2 thoughts on “The 11 Best Theme and Amusement Parks in Japan”
  1. I was searching how to get to legoland from Nagoya station by using JR pass, I found on this website this article mentioned ‘Take the JR Kanayama Line from Nagoya Station to Kinjo Futo Station, then take the pedestrian walkway to the park.” But I can not find any Kanayama line information from google. There is only an Aonami line runs by no-JR company. Could you please verify it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Frances,

      You are right, please excuse the mistake. The Aonami line is the one you should take to Legoland.

      Happy travels!

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