Japan is home to dozens of theme parks and amusement parks. A visit to a theme or amusement park is a popular activity among both the Japanese as well as the international tourist. In the 80’s and 90’s, during the Economic Bubble, many parks were opened across Japan. However, many were forced to close down, when the bubble bursted. A number of the more popular, bigger operated remained open and are now more popular than ever. From the ultra popular Tokyo Disney Resort to the smaller and unique parks, Japan caters to all taste. Do you like to get your adrenaline pumping, meet your favourite characters, or have a one-of-a-kind experience in a hot spring amusement park? In this article we present our top 10 best and unique theme and/or amusement parks in Japan.
Tokyo Disney Resort
By far the most popular theme park in Japan in the Tokyo Disney Resort, consisting of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Located in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, the Disney parks are the most visited theme parks in Japan (and among the most visited theme parks in the world). On a normal day, Tokyo Disney resort is very crowded and for popular attractions the waiting line can reach over 2 or 3 hours (in high season sometimes over 4 hours).
Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 as the first Disney theme park outside of the US and has seven themed areas. In addition to exciting and fun rides, you can enjoy indoor and outdoor shows and parades performed several times daily (if the weather permits).
Tokyo DisneySea, opened in 2001, is unique to Japan with seven themed ports. The main live performance in the DisneySea is held on the lake, located in the middle of the park, in the evening with sparkling fireworks.
Seasonal decorations are other features that attract many visitors in both parks. Although both Disneyland and DisneySea are quite crowded all year round, Halloween, Christmas, and the New Year are most popular seasons for obvious reasons.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Daily opened from 10am – 9pm
Admission fee starting at ¥8,200
How to get to Tokyo Disney Resort
To Tokyo Disneyland, walk 5 minutes from JR Maihama Station.
To Tokyo DisneySea, take the Disney Resort Monorail to Tokyo Disney Sea Station from JR Maihama Station. You can also walk to the park from Maihama Station (about 20 minutes).
Universal Studio Japan
Universal Studio Japan (USJ), opened in 2001 in Osaka Prefecture, is the most visited theme park in Japan the after Tokyo Disney Parks. USJ consists of nine areas and there are thrilling roller coasters, family friendly rides, and exciting and fun 3D or 4D attractions based on the popular movies such as Jurassic Park, Spiderman, Terminator 2, Minions and Shrek.
USJ also offers a variety of live shows on stages and streets. Universal Spectacle Night Parade – Best of Hollywood – is a highlight of the night at USJ. This parade which is a combination of projection mapping and sparkling floats recreates the worlds of Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Minions, and Transformers.
The parade lasts about an hour and the starting time for each day varies depending on the day and weather, so make sure to check their official website before you visit.
Admission fees vary depending on the day, but here’s an indication of the prices:
1 day Studio Pass
- ¥7,800~ – adults (12 – 65 yrs old)
- ¥7,100~ – senior (65+ yrs old)
- ¥5,400~ – children (4 – 11 yrs old)
(available after 3pm, Jan. 15 – Jun. 30)
- ¥6,600 (adults)
- ¥4,900 (children)
Japan Universal Studios
8.30am – 9pm
Business hours may be changed without notice. Also, there is a possibility of starting admission earlier than the park opening time on that day. For the last information please check USJ website.
How to get to Universal Studio Japan
- 5 minute walk from Universal City Station
- Direct connection from Kansai International Airport (approx. 1.5 hrs, ¥1,550 one way, ¥2,700 round trip)
- Direct connection from Itami Airport (approx. 40 minutes, ¥940 one way)
- There are overnight buses from other cities across Japan.
- Captain Line Ferry connects USJ and Kaiyukan in only 10 minutes. Kaiyukan West Pier is located just behind the aquarium. Universal City Port is about 5 minute walking from the main entrance of USJ. The Captain Line Ferry runs hourly between 9.30am and 8pm.
Costs: ¥800 one way and ¥1,500 for both ways.
Fuji Q Highland
If you are looking for some over-the-top thrilling experiences, Fuji-Q Highland is the place to go. This amusement park, located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, offers roller coasters that have “the fastest acceleration in the world”, “the largest loop in the world”, “the world’s record falling angle” and/or “the world’s greatest number of revolutions”.
The park is also famous for its haunted attraction. The two-story building of the haunted hospital is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In addition, the park also offers family friendly attractions. Inside Fuji Q Highland, there is Thomas Land, another train-themed-park based on the British Thomas & Friends books and TV show. Thomas Land consists of 11 attractions, restaurants, and cafes.
If this hasn’t convinced you yet, there is one more reason to visit Fuji Q Highland: the stunning view of the majestic Mount Fuji in the background of the rollercoasters!
Fuji Q Highland
10am – 6pm
Admission starting from ¥3,900
How to get to Fuji Q Highland
There are several Fuji Kyuko Highway buses which directly take you to the park from major train station in Tokyo such as Shinjuku station (1h40m), Shibuya station (2h30m), and Tokyo station (1h50m). The park can also easily be reached by train. Check their website for combi-tickets.
Sanrio Puroland is an indoor theme park dedicated to Hello Kitty and other world of Sanrio characters. It opened in 1990 in Tama New Town, Tokyo. The park is full of cuteness or kawaii and especially popular for children.
Because this is the indoor park, you can enjoy it every season regardless of the weather. The park offers several live shows, movie shows, parades, ride attractions and houses of main Sanrio characters where you may meet and greet the characters. Even the food served at the Character Food Court and Sanrio Rainbow World Restaurant come with added cuteness such as pasta and curry modelled on the Sanrio characters.
8.30am – 8pm
Admission starting at ¥3,300 (check their website for discount coupons)
How to get to Sanrio Puroland?
From Shinjuku station, take the Keio Line bound for Hashimoto and get off at Keio Tama Center (about 30 min).
Hanayashiki, located in Asakusa, Tokyo, is said to be the oldest amusement park in Japan. The grounds originally hosted a flower garden during the late Edo period (1603-1868) and the park began incorporating additional amusements in 1872. After World War II, local developers decided to rebuild it as a full-scale amusement park.
The park is known for its classic 1950s atmosphere featuring 19 attractions including a roller coaster, space shot, merry-go-round, haunted house, and 3D and 4D theaters. The rollercoaster was opened in 1953 and is still operated today! You can also follow a one-hour ninja training in the park, one of the most popular features of the park.
10am – 6pm
Admission fee ¥1,000 (adult), ¥500 (children) + ride tickets starting at ¥100
How to get to Hanayashiki
5 minute walk from Asakusa station.
Tokyo Dome City
Tokyo Dome City is located next to the Tokyo Dome in central Tokyo. The park was originally called Korakuen when it opened in 1955, and in 2003 the park reopened as a part of Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex consisting of an amusement park, shopping and dining areas, a hot spring spa facility, and the Tokyo Dome Hotel.
The main rides of the park are the Ferris wheel and a roller coaster. You can enjoy 15-minutes ride on a centerless (!) Big-O Ferris wheel with nice views of the city and karaoke inside your gondola. The Thunder Dolphin roller coaster goes through a hall of a building and the center of the Ferris wheel with the top speed of 130 km/h. It runs so close to the buildings that it gives you the sensation of flying between the buildings.
The park often hosts live shows which feature anime characters, popular children TV shows or Japanese idol groups.
Tokyo Dome City
12pm – 7pm weekdays
10am – 8pm weekends
Unlimited ride tickets ¥4,200 (adults), ¥1,800 – ¥3,700 (children)
How to access Tokyo Dome City
Short walk from Suidobashi station (1min) , Korakuen station (5min), or Kasuga station (6min).
Opened in 2017 in Aichi Prefecture, Legoland Japan is one of the newest theme parks in the county. This outdoor amusement park offers more than 40 different rides and attractions primarily aimed at (young) children. Inside the park, you will find 10,000 different Lego models and constructions with 17 million Lego blocks.
Legoland Japan consists of several areas and each offer unique experiences. For example, in the Factory, you can see how Lego bricks are produced. Bricktopia is where you can use your imagination by making robots and cars and testing how they work. Miniland Japan offers 10 locations of landscapes and city skylines from coast to coast across Japan, built with more than 10 million Lego bricks. The park also offers several rides, games, and a rotating observatory tower.
How to get to Legoland Japan
From Nagoya station, take the Aonami Line to Kinjofuto Station (about 25 min). Walk for about 5 min.
Nagashima Spa Land
Located in Mie Prefecture just outside Nagoya, this amusement park is a part of Nagashima Resort which consists of a water park, a hot spring complex, an outlet shopping mall, a flower park, and an amusement park.
Nagashima Spa Land is reputed to be the best amusement park for roller coasters in western Japan. The park features over 40 rides including thrilling roller coasters and relaxing rides for children. You can also find a water park within the Nagashima Spa Land which opens only in summer.
Opening hours vary, see official website
¥6,500 (admission, unlimited rides Spaland and waterpark)
¥5,200 (admission and unlimited rides)
¥3,800 (admission, unlimited rides waterpark)
¥1,600 (admission only)
¥300 – ¥1,000 fee per ride
How to get to Nagashima Spa Land
From the Meitetsu Bus Center next to Nagoya station, take a bus bound for either Nabana no Sato (about 35 min) or Nagashima Onsen (about 50 min).
Huis Ten Bosch
Situated in Nagasaki Prefecture, Huis Ten Bosch is a theme park recreating a Dutch town with canals, iconic windmills, beautiful gardens and architecture. It is named after one of the three official residences of the Dutch royal family. Huis Ten Bosch was built in 1992 to commemorate the long and rich history between Japan and the Netherlands.
The park is divided into the theme park area and the harbor area, and you can enjoy free and paid attractions including a boat tour on canals. At night, the park is beautifully illuminated with lights and you can also watch fireworks.
How to get to Huis ten Bosch
From JR Nagasaki station, take JR Seaside Liner Rapid or Local Train to Huis Ten Bosch station (approx. 1.5 hrs).
Yunessun is an onsen (hot spring) theme park in Hakone which is a famous and popular onsen town in Kanagawa Prefecture. Yunessun features unique onsen pools such as red wine, sake, maple syrup and coffee along with water slides, open-air scenic baths, and private indoor baths. Unlike most hot spring baths in Japan, bathing suits are required in Yunessun.
How to get to Yunessun
From Shinjuku station, take Limited Express Odakyu Romancecar to Hakone-Yumoto station (about 90 min). Or from Tokyo station, take Shinkansen Kodama to Odawara station (about 35 min). From Hakone-Yumoto Station or Odawara station, take Hakone Tozan Bus or Izu Hakone Bus to Kowakien bus stop.
How did you think about our list of theme parks in Japan? There are a variety of theme parks and amusement parks where you can have fun with your family, friends, or partner. Which one is your favourite?
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