After months of pandemic delays, the first ever Super Nintendo World theme park has finally opened its doors at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka - much to the delight of fans!
Photo Credit: Japan Rail Pass
Location: Super Nintendo World, Universal Studios Japan
Opening Hours: Varies by the seasons, but opening time is typically between 8.30am to 9.30am, and closing time between 7pm to 9pm. Extended hours are implemented on some weekends and on public holidays. The park remains open every day of the year.
Fee: Between 2,500 yen and 7,315 yen. Express Passes and VIP wristbands are also available.
The grand opening of Super Nintendo World on 18 March 2021 also coincided with the start of USJ's 20th Anniversary Celebration. Additionally, Nintendo also installed a Mario-themed café and store at USJ’s Hollywood area in October 2020.
The attraction, whose bright, block-like surroundings are straight out of the classic "Super Mario" games, is part of the existing USJ amusement park. The park also features the iconic goal pole on top, elements of the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser’s Castle, Peach’s Castle, and Toadstool Cafe, as well as some of Nintendo’s most recognizable life-sized creatures and characters, such as Goombas and Piranha plants.
Music from the popular Mario games will also play throughout the park.
Here's what you can expect at Super Nintendo World:
1. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
Photo Credit: Lonely Planet
One of the park's main attractions is the "Mario Kart" ride, which promises to bring the racing game to life. Making use of cutting-edge AR and projection mapping technology, riders will don AR headsets shaped like Mario’s cap to experience a five-minute fully-immersive rollercoaster ride based on the Mario Kart games that will delight avid gamers young and old.
The ride follows a track around the foreboding castle home of Mario's archenemy, the evil giant turtle Bowser. The ride will also take riders through multiple racing tracks (such as, the renowned Rainbow Road), alongside popular characters from the franchise such as Toad, Luigi, and Princess Peach. The karts are equipped with a steering wheel and riders will also be able to collect items and throw shells just like in the video game.
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.
2. Yoshi’s Adventures
Photo Credit: Geek Culture
A brightly colored children’s attraction featuring vehicles shaped like the all-time favourite and cute dinosaur, Yoshi, in various colours (not just the green). Visitors can hop onto this ride along a part-indoor-part-outdoor looped track as they search for Captain Toad during a treasure hunt. Its leisurely pace is good for children and families looking to kick back and enjoy the weird and wonderful scenery, complete with green warp pipes and red mushrooms.
3. Smart Mario-Themed Wristbands
Park visitors will be encouraged to download an app on their smartphones or tablets and link the app to a "Power-Up Band" that can be purchased inside Super Nintendo World.
These magnetic bracelets will allow visitors to collect points, digital keys and character stamps by participating in challenges and cooperative gaming opportunities such as boss battles at the theme park.
These wristbands come in six different Mario-themed designs and each bracelet will cost around 3000 yen. The final scores from each visit will be tallied, and sent to your Nintendo game console, allowing you to build on this score with each successive visit to the park.
4. Giant Question Blocks
While wearing the "Power-Up Band", visitors can also punch question blocks to gain virtual coins, which are expected to be tracked both in the app and on a leaderboard on display in Super Nintendo World.
5. Gaming-Based Restaurants And Shops
Photo Credit: Geek Culture
Don't forget to check out Super Nintendo World's many and quirky eateries , where the food items are just as zany as you might imagine!
Located inside a mushroom-shaped house is Kinopio's Cafe, which serves bacon cheeseburgers topped with Mario hat toothpicks, caprese salads shaped like piranha plants, and a question block tiramisu.
Over at Yoshi’s Snack Island, you can order calzones, which are designed to look like the green turtle shells you shoot at other players in Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge.
Interesting delicacies, such as mushroom-flavoured popcorn are also available at Pit Stop Popcorn.
Enhanced Safety Measures
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.
You may also check out the theme park's website for a virtual tour of the attractions.