Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン, Yunibāsaru Sutajio Japan), located in Osaka, is one of six Universal Studios theme parks, owned and operated by USJ Co., Ltd., which is wholly owned by NBCUniversal (as of 2017). The park is similar to the Universal Orlando Resort since it also contains selected attractions from Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

The park opened on 31 March 2001. Over 11 million guests visited the park in its opening year, making it the world's fastest amusement park to have achieved the 10 million milestone at the time. Since then, Universal Studios Japan has had approximately 8 million visitors every year. Most visitors are Japanese tourists and tourists from other Asian countries such as South Korea and China. It is also very popular among Western tourists and expatriates. In 2005, Goldman Sachs became the largest shareholder in Universal Studios Japan.

Various events were held in the year 2011 to celebrate the park's tenth anniversary, by which time a total of 88 million guests had cumulatively attended the park. There were 700,000 annual passport holders in June 2012 and in the 2012 fiscal year, 9.75 million guests visited the park. During the 2013 fiscal year, Universal Studios Japan received 10.5 million guests. Various factors contributed to this growth in 2013, including the opening of the backwards roller coaster "Hollywood Dream – The Ride: Backdrop" in March, and the "New Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3D" in July, which installed new 4KHD technology, which proved to be popular among the younger generation. The family area "Universal Wonderland" which opened in March 2012 also attracted many families.

Recent installments include limited-time attractions such as "Biohazard - The Real" and "Monster Hunter - The Real", both based on popular video game franchises, and "One Piece Premier Show", which is based on the popular anime series, providing attractions based on entertainment worldwide. On 15 July 2014, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed area based on the blockbuster Harry Potter film series, opened to the public. The popular ride The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was revamped to play in 3D only 10 months after its opening as the first ride of its kind in the world. With a total investment of 45 billion yen, the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the park is projected to have an economic ripple effect of 5 trillion 60 million yen over the next 10 years in Japan, and anticipates many visitors from both Japan and overseas.

On Monday, 29 October 2012, Universal Studios Japan greeted its 100 millionth visitor since its opening in 2001. According to the 2014 Theme Index Global Attraction Attendance Report, Universal Studios Japan is ranked fifth among the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide, attracting 11.8 million visitors in 2014, 16.8% more than in the previous year.

Studio Ticket Prices

Studio one day passes start at ¥6,852 (¥7,400 with tax) for adults and ¥4,723 (¥5,100 with tax) for children. Seniors (65 years or over) start at ¥6,204 (¥6,700 with tax).

Studio two day passes start at ¥13,612 (¥14,700 with tax) for adults and ¥9,260 (¥10,000 with tax) for children.

Licensed properties included at Universal Studios Japan

Like other Universal parks, Universal Studios Japan does not limit itself to attractions based on Universal's owned-library. It has licensed other franchises from different studios for some attractions. Some examples include:

  • Spider-Man (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • Peanuts (Peanuts Worldwide, LLC.)
  • Hello Kitty (Sanrio)
  • Sesame Street (Sesame Workshop)
  • Terminator (The Halcyon Company)
  • Nintendo properties
  • Beetlejuice and Harry Potter (Warner Bros.)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (Square Enix, Bones)
  • Yo-kai Watch (Level-5)
  • One Piece and Dragon Ball (Shueisha, Toei Animation)
  • Resident Evil and Monster Hunter (Capcom)
  • Detective Conan (Shogakukan, TMS Entertainment)
  • Attack on Titan (Kodansha, Wit Studio)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (Khara)
  • Final Fantasy (Square Enix)
  • Godzilla (Toho)
  • Sailor Moon (Kodansha, Toei Animation)
  • Death Note (Shueisha, Madhouse)
  • Gin Tama (Shueisha, Sunrise)
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Shueisha, David Production)
  • My Hero Academia (Shueisha, Bones)
  • Lupin the Third (Futabasha, TMS Entertainment)

Lands and attractions

The park is 54 hectares (130 acres) large.

The attractions are arranged in nine areas of the park. A tenth area, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened on 15 July 2014 with its flagship attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The area was modeled on the areas of the same names at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. There are also attractions that are not in the U.S. and are unique to Universal Studios Japan, such as Black Lake and Hogwarts Express Photo Op.

Hollywood

Themed to Hollywood.

  • Shrek 4-D
  • Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic
  • Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll Show
  • Playing with Curious George
  • Hollywood Dream – The Ride
  • Space Fantasy – The Ride

New York City

Based on the city of New York City, New York.

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
  • T2-3D: Battle Across Time

San Francisco

Based on the city of San Francisco, California.

  • Backdraft

Jurassic Park

Inspired by Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film franchise of the same name.

  • Jurassic Park: The Ride
  • The Flying Dinosaur

Minion Park

Inspired by Illumination's Despicable Me franchise.

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • Freeze Ray Sliders

Universal Wonderland

Universal Wonderland is a section aimed at children and families. Opened in March 2012, it contains three themed sub-zones including Snoopy Studios, Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue, and Sesame Street Fun Zone.

Snoopy Studio

Based on the Peanuts comic strip.

  • Snoopy's Great Race
  • The Flying Snoopy

Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue

Themed to Sanrio's Hello Kitty franchise.

  • Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream
  • Hello Kitty's Ribbon Collection

Sesame Street Fun Zone

Based on children's television series Sesame Street.

  • Elmo's Bubble Bubble
  • Abby's Magical Party
  • Moppy's Lucky Dance Party
  • Big Bird's Big Nest
  • Grover's Construction Company
  • Bert and Ernie's Wonder-The Sea
  • Sesame's Big Drive
  • Big Bird's Climbing Nest
  • Abby's Magical Tree
  • Abby's Magical Garden
  • Water Garden
  • Cookie Monster Slide
  • Ernie's Rubber Duckie Race
  • Elmo's Little Drive
  • Big Bird's Big Top Circus
  • Moppy's Balloon Trip
  • Elmo's Go Go Skateboard

WaterWorld

Based on Universal's 1995 film of the same name.

  • Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular

Amity Island

Inspired by the Jaws series.

  • Jaws

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Based on J.K. Rowling's original Harry Potter books and as well as Warner Bros.' hit film franchise.

  • Flight of the Hippogriff
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Ollivanders

Super Nintendo World

Universal Parks & Resorts announced a partnership with Nintendo in May 2015 to build new Nintendo-themed attractions. In March 2016, Universal Studios Japan and Nintendo announced that a new Nintendo-themed area is coming to the park in 2020, in time for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. ¥40 billion is being invested for the project (funded by Universal) and the area will feature many attractions themed on Mario, as well as other Nintendo characters. An eastern area of the park currently used for events was confirmed as being the new development's location.

Former attractions

  • Motion Picture Magic - When the park first opened in 2001, the attraction 'Motion Picture Magic,' hosted by director Steven Spielberg, occupied the building that currently houses the attraction Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic. The attraction, originally designed by experience designer Bob Rogers and the design team BRC Imagination Arts, provided a tribute to the Universal Studios brand of motion pictures. During the show, the theater transformed into a multi-screen presentation and when the show ended, the main screen raised to present a real motion picture set in which the audience would cross through as they continued through the attraction show building.
  • E.T. Adventure has been replaced by Space Fantasy – The Ride.
  • Monster Make-Up has been closed.
  • Back to the Future - The Ride has been replaced by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
  • Animation Celebration has been closed to make way for Playing with Curious George.

Western

The Western Area, and with it The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show and the Animal Actors show, were revamped to become Land of Oz in 2006. This involved completely re-theming two live shows, one restaurant and a number of retail facilities.

  • The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was a live stunt show based upon a wide variety of Universal's Western films. Opening on 31 March 2001, in the Western Town section of the park, the show featured several cowboy-themed actors surviving death-defying stunts, shootings and explosions. The show closed in 2006 and has since been replaced by Wicked.

Land of Oz (closed in 2011)

A former section at Universal Studios Japan, which was based on L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz book series. It was later replaced by Universal Wonderland section.

  • Wicked - This was an abbreviated one-act version of the musical, presented in Japanese.
  • Toto & Friends - This was an animal trick show, featuring dogs, birds and other trained animals.
  • Magical Oz-Go-Round

Characters

Much like with the previous Universal parks, USJ has characters both from Universal and third party companies. USJ has the Japanese license to use the Sesame Street, Peanuts and Sanrio characters, and alongside many others.

Current Characters

Peanuts

  • Snoopy
  • Charlie Brown
  • Linus van Pelt
  • Lucy van Pelt
  • Schroeder
  • Sally Brown

Sesame Street

  • Elmo
  • Zoe
  • Cookie Monster
  • Bert
  • Ernie
  • Grover (Rare)
  • Big Bird (Rare)
  • Count von Count
  • Abby Cadabby
  • Moppy (A Sesame Street character especially created for USJ)

Sanrio

  • Hello Kitty, Mimmy, her Family and Dear Daniel

Other

  • Woody and Winnie Woodpecker
  • Fievel from An American Tail
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Pink Panther
  • Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona
  • Minions
  • Gru, Dru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and Vector from Despicable Me
  • Spider-Man
  • Emmett "Doc" Brown and Marty McFly

Former Characters

  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Pinocchio, Gingy, Three Blind Mice and The Big Bad Wolf

Awards

In 2011, USJ's Christmas tree was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most illuminated Christmas tree in the world having 260,498 lights.

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride
    • 2001 Screamscape Ultimate No.1 Favorite Overall Non-Coaster Thrill Ride
    • 2002 Theme Park Insider World Best Theme Park Attraction
  • Animation Celebration
    • 2002 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Attraction
  • Peter Pan's Neverland
    • 2007 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Event Spectacular
  • The Gift of Angels
    • 2009 Big E Award, Best Overall Production, (presented by IIAPA) WINNER in the category "Best Overall Production, More Than $2 Million"
  • Magical Starlight Parade
    • 2009 Big E Award (presented by IIAPA): Honorable Mention in the category "Best Overall Production, More Than $2 Million"
  • Space Fantasy – The Ride
    • 2011 THEA Award (presented by TEA) winner in Outstanding Achievement

Attendance

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Worldwide rank
8,300,000 8,000,000 8,160,000 8,500,000 9,700,000 10,100,000 11,800,000 13,900,000 14,500,000 14,935,000 14,300,000 5

Official hotels

There are five official hotels at or near the park:

  • Hotel Keihan Universal City
  • Hotel Kintetsu Universal City
  • Hotel Keihan Universal Tower
  • Hotel Universal Port
  • Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan

Universal CityWalk Osaka

Universal CityWalk Osaka links Universal City Station with the park entrance. It is a 3-floor shopping mall filled with numerous shops and restaurants and a 10-Screen Movie Theater Cinema Complex, including a takoyaki museum.

Incidents

In November 2004, a 35-year-old woman from Osaka Prefecture suffered nerve damage in her right wrist, affecting the use of two of her fingers. This occurred when her hand got stuck in a safety bar of the E.T. attraction as an employee pulled it down to secure it.

See also

  • Incidents at Universal parks
  • Tourism in Japan
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Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
Chai Latte
9 January 2017
An exciting theme park for people who are a fan of roller coasters. Better come early to get in line for those popular rides. You can also get the app to know the waiting time of the rides. That helps
Rajeev Chugani
25 August 2015
Royal Pass is the best to purchase for visiting the park. Slightly expensive and only accessible through the Japanese website. Can get the tickets delivered to the hotel. All access, with Harry Potter
Trent Hope
27 January 2014
Went during winter and was quite nice compared to hot Universal Orlando in Florida. Mixture between both FL parks. Relaxing. Worth it with new Potter World.
A Hazet
21 November 2019
Nice theme park no wonder always packed with people, to avoid long queue you can buy EXPRESS PASS or come in working day, don’t missed the best part of the park, HARRY POTTER section #TravelingOsaka
Hong Chun
12 December 2018
Amazing theme park with a lots of fun ride! Be sure to come early (or even before gate open) and take advantage of the single lane queue which save almost 3-4 times of normal lane.
Adnan Alsadah
18 April 2016
The park and rides are very good to spend a whole day. But without express pass you will wait long for queues. tickets can't be purchased online neither the express which is limited in number per day
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foursquare.com
8.9/10
冷た~いホット, Georgiy Mostolovitsa and 1,795,563 more people have been here
Map
0.1km from 2 Chome-1 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan Get directions
Mon-Sun 9:00 AM–8:30 PM

Universal Studios Japan on Foursquare

Universal Studios Japan on Facebook

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Comfort self hotel Kitahama (Licensed)

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ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka

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The Rise Osaka Kitashinchi

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Center Hotel Osaka

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AZ Hostel

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