There’s without a doubt an endless number of activities to partake in Japan, and you’ll never have enough time to complete it all. Little known fact: Japan is home to numerous world class amusement parks in the whole world! These places offer exclusive attractions and limited merchandise that you can only get here! Because of that, theme parks in Japan have become one of the most recommended activities to do during your time here.
Whether you’re into thrills and adrenaline-pumping screamer rides or historical experiences, there are all sorts of theme parks and amusement parks that will best fit your needs. Browse through our curated, best 10 amusement parks Add some unique excitement to your trip to Japan!
1. Tokyo Disneyland
At number three of the world’s most visited テーマパーク (theme park or amusement park) is none other than Tokyo DisneyLand. Having hosted more than 170 million people since its opening in 1983, this amusement park is also the first Disney Resort built outside of the United States.
With seven areas in different themes, each with their own attractions, cafes, shops and shows, you’re bound to stay here the whole day! Some attractions are similar to the American Disney parks, like Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Haunted Mansion, but there are also Japan exclusives like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, seasonal parades and special themed food.
Be sure to come early, as the park tends to get really crowded all year round.
2. Tokyo DisneySea
Arguably the best Disney Park in the world, Tokyo DisneySea is an amusement park unique and exclusive to Japan. Opened in 2001 right next to the legendary Tokyo DisneyLand, this park also has seven water themed areas, inspired by ocean tales and legends.
Similar to Tokyo Disneyland, DisneySea offers exclusive merchandise, limited official goods and seasonal water performances. The concept of this amusement park is to appeal to more adults and couples, compared to their counterpart DisneyLand which is more for the youngsters.
Prepared with several fancy dinings, serving sake (酒, alcoholic drinks) in every themed area and the romantic lit-up in the evenings, Tokyo DisneySea is perfect for a couples thrilling day trip, a family event or even just to check off your Disney Resort checklist!
3. Universal Studios Japan
A rival to Disney Resorts is Universal Studios Japan (USJ), which is one out of the four Universal Studios theme parks in the world! Located in Japan’s second largest city Osaka, USJ opened their doors in 2001, introducing various attractions themed after extremely famous movies. If you don’t already know, one of them is Harry Potter! Grab a mug of butterbeer, ride on brooms and flaunt your house robes as you stroll down the streets of Diagon Alley.
Another famous, not-to-miss area is the Minions, which generates a huge crowd each year! Special themed attractions and areas exclusive to Japan include One Piece and Dragon Ball. So if you’re a fan to any of the above mentioned, as well as Spiderman, Jurassic Park, Jaws and Godzilla, what’s stopping you from visiting this amazing amusement park?
4. Fuji Q Highland
A definite must-see for any thrill-seekers and adrenaline-pumping enthusiasts, Fuji Q Highland is an amusement park famously known for homing world record-breaking roller coasters. Located at the foot of Mt Fuji and near the Fuji Five Lakes, there’s no reason to not drop by. Plus, the entrance to the park is free (though tickets must be purchased to ride the rides).
Although not as highly-themed as the Disney Resorts and USJ, Fuji Q Highland’s roller coasters, other thriller rides and お化け屋敷 (obakeyashi, haunted house) are the best! The four screamer rides — Dondonpa, Eejanaika, Fujiyama and Takabisha — as well as the world’s longest and scariest haunted house, The Scary Labyrinth of Fear, are definitely attractions not to be missed. Enjoy the view while you toss and turn in the seat of the roller coasters!
5. Huis Ten Bosch
Recreating the streets of medieval Europe and creating a wonderful space for an amusement park, Huis Ten Bosch is located in Nagasaki and is loaded with seasonal flower bloomings, events, attractions and light illuminations (イルミネーション).
Also home to the world’s biggest horror attraction, and presenting an illumination show with the largest number of bulbs used ever in an event, the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park also has museums and theatres scattered around the park. It is said that as the years go by, the events and shows get bigger and bigger by the year, so you’ll never be disappointed!
6. Hakkejima Sea Paradise
The Hakkejima Sea Paradise is found at Yokohama, a port city facing the ocean and also one of the most popular cities visited by foreign tourists. Fully equipped as an aquarium-amusement park hybrid, as well as reserving an area for visitors to play with the sea animals, what’s not to like about this uniquely conceptualised park?
From bijutsukan (美術館, museums), water shows and fishing, to thrilling jetto kosuta (ジェットコスタ, roller coasters) and adventurous water rides, this park has it all! For the adrenaline junkies, don’t miss out on the Blue Fall, which is a free-fall thriller ride that falls from 107 meters above, the tallest drop in Japan!
7. Tokyo Joypolis
Here’s one for the tech geeks and game lovers. Located conveniently in Tokyo, in the Odaiba area, the SEGA Tokyo Joypolis is an indoor amusement park not to be missed by anyone! Featuring some of the most latest and cutting-edge technology service and entertainment facilities such as Zero Latency VR.
There are even themed attractions based on famous animes and movies like Resident Evil, SONIC and Transformers. Located on the third to the fifth floor of the Decks Tokyo Beach shopping mall, the three-storey indoor amusement park is definitely the park to go if you’re into amazing graphics, or when it’s raining outside and you’re not in the mood to waste a day of fun.
8. Nagashima Spa Land
Located just outside of Nagoya City in Kuwana City lies the Nagashima Spa Land. Come here for the roller coasters and stay overnight at the Nagashima Resort for the spa! Combining the thrill of roller coasters with the relaxation of spa in one spot, this whole area is a gem find, and it’s still mostly unknown by the majority of foreign tourists.
With four main areas on top of the spa land and amusement park, a water park, their own outlet mall, museum, another amusement park dedicated to a childhood anime Anpanman and a flower park (hana kōen, 花公園), there’s too many things to do here to just go for a day trip.
What’s more, this whole place transforms into a Nagashima Zombie Island in the month of October, where you can dance with zombies at the dance party all day and night long!
9. Shima Spain Village
A resort complex complete with an amusement theme park, hotel and hot spring facility, Shima Spain Village can be found in Shima City. A recreation of Spanish townscapes filled with attractions, entertainment and parades, this one is definitely not to be missed if you’re in the area as one of the biggest attractions of the city.
Get on rides such as the roller coasters, cruises and train rides, take a stroll through their museum and exhibition facilities, and watch the parades and shows on the streets of the park that features traditional Spanish dances like the flamenco. You may even want to consider a stay at the elegant Hotel Shima Spain Mura, which perfectly encompasses the ambience and mood of Southern Spain.
10. Legoland Japan
Quite recently opened in 2017 and located in Nagoya City, Legoland Japan is Japan’s first Lego-themed amusement park. Consisting of seven different areas themed for the different Lego worlds, you’ll be amazed at the fine work and consistency of Legos throughout the entire park!
There is also Miniland, which is a miniature town made with over ten million Lego blocks to display some of the most iconic landmarks in Japan, which includes Tokyo Station, Kiyomizu Temple and Osaka Castle. Packed with rides and attractions, exclusive merchandise and limited edition goods that you can only get here, as well as a factory tour that brings you through the process of manufacturing these Lego blocks, you’re in for a whole treat at Legoland Japan!
Japan might as well be known as the hot spot for amusement parks, each having its own unique take and feature that cannot be compared to the next. The country itself has so many things to offer, see and do, one might think that they cannot possibly spend their days at amusement parks.
Yet after this list, it’ll prove them otherwise.