Japan Theme Parks – Your Ultimate Guide
What better way to add excitement to your Japan trip than with theme parks? Pick your favorites below, and let the adventures begin.
For many, the first thing to come to mind when thinking of Japanese theme parks is Disneyland, or maybe the Universal Studios. Now obviously, these two parks are great fun indeed, but they are actually only the tip of the iceberg. Japanese theme parks have much more to offer, from thrilling roller coasters and splashingly exciting water parks to kawaii (Japanese for cute) pop culture worlds and reenactment parks.
There’s something for every taste, sprinkled all over the Japanese islands, and we’re here to steer you through it all. Get ready for that adrenaline rush, as we list the best theme parks in Japan.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios’ parks never fail to deliver, and neither does the one in Japan. Find out all you need to know about the first-class theme park in Osaka, in our complete guide.
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031 Access: Universal-city Station (Yumesaki Line) Website: Universal Studios Japan Hours: 9:00 - 20:00 (irregular, check website for changes)
Tokyo’s own Disneyland is, in fact, the third-most visited theme park in the world (as of 2017). And this is for good reason – not only will you find many attractions from the original American Disneyland, but also enjoy unique rides that are found nowhere else but in Tokyo, like Pooh’s Hunney Hunt or the Monsters Inc. ride. Lucky for us, Tokyo Disneyland tries to bring even more distinct Japanese characteristics to the park in the future.
As you can imagine, there tend to be huge crowds, especially on the weekends. The free Fast-Pass system lets you make reservations for some rides beforehand, so you don’t have to stand in line just as much. This is highly recommended doing first thing you enter the park.
If one day is not enough for your Disney-craving soul, check out the excellent on-site hotels.
Address: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu-shi, Chiba-ken 279-0031 Access: Maihama (Keiyo JR Line, Joban JR Line) Website: Tokyo Disneyland Hours: 8:00 - 22:00
Lauded again and again by theme park lovers for its perfect maintenance and attention for detail, Disneyland’s sister park DisneySea just next to it is sure to shine out with its overall nautical theme.
Some say, if you have only time for one of the two parks, you should pick DisneySea, as all attractions here are unique. Though, if you’ve never been to a Disneyland anywhere in the world, it will probably not matter that much, and you should just pick the one that appeals to you more. They’re both about the same size and offer similar amounts of attractions, although DisneySea does seem to be more adult, and if you’re with small children you might want to go to Disneyland instead for the classic experience.
Some of the best rides at DisneySea include the Indiana Jones Adventure and Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Around Christmas time, both DisneySea and Disneyland go all out with extensive decorations and special shows – not something to be missed by any Disney-fan!
Address: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu-shi, Chiba-ken 279-0031 Access: Maihama (Keiyo JR Line, Joban JR Line) Website: Tokyo DisneySea Hours: 8:30 - 22:00
Famous Japanese Roller Coasters
The world’s steepest roller coaster is in Japan! At Fuji-Q Highland on the foot of Mount Fuji, to be exact. The drop angle of 121 degrees is guaranteed to shake up even the bravest. And that’s not the only world record this incredible amusement park holds. One roller coaster has the most spins, another the highest acceleration at launch time. Experience all of this while enjoying a stunning view of Mount Fuji – what more could you wish for.
Apart from the main four roller coasters, there is a high altitude swing ride, a 52-meter drop tower and many slightly smaller rides. Anime-themed attractions and a large haunted house don’t miss either, meaning you can easily spend an extensive day here. Another option is to stay at the in-park hotel, which enthralls with an onsen (Japanese hot spring) to relax.
Overall, let’s just say, if you’re a proper roller coaster fan and had to choose only one park in all of Japan, it would have to be Fuji-Q Highland.
Address: 5 Chome-6-1 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi-ken 403-0017 Access: Fujikyu Highland Station (JR Narita Express, Fujikyuko Line) Website: Fuji-Q Highland Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (until 18:00 on holidays and weekends)
The biggest roller coaster of Yomiuriland has a top speed of 110km/h and trails through the trees of an impressive forest. An unusual twist to a great coaster. Many other thrill rides and some kids-friendly attractions make this an unforgettable trip. In summer, there are five large swimming pools to cool off. The best part? It’s only 30 minutes by train from central Tokyo.
Address: 〒206-8725 東京都稲城市Tama-ku, 矢野口4015−1 Access: Keio-Yomiuri-Land Station (Keio Sagamihara Line) Website: Yomiuriland Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (until 20:00 on weekends)
Tokyo Dome City Attractions
Any roller coaster lover who stays in Tokyo and doesn’t want to travel far is in luck, thanks to Tokyo Dome City. Conveniently located in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, it not only houses the Yomiuri Giants’ baseball field but also an amusement park with gripping rides.
The 1000-meters-long roller coaster “Thunder Dolphin” passes through a hole in the LaQua building, and later through a giant Ferries wheel. This is, in fact, the world’s first centerless Ferris wheel, and offers not a bad view of Tokyo.
Address: 〒112-0004 Tokyo, 文京区Koraku, 1 Chome-3-61 東京ドームシティ Access: Suidobashi Station (Chuo, Chuo-Sobu, Mita Lines) Website: Tokyo Dome City Attractions Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Located just between Osaka and Kyoto, Hirakata is one of the oldest amusement parks in Japan, having opened its doors in 1910. Not as big as Fuji-Q Highland, yet a fun place to go if you’re around the area. The wooden coaster is a guaranteed highlight at the park.
If you’re here in summer, don’t forget to bring your swimsuit for the cooling pool area. Many parts of the park are suitable for children as well, so it won’t be any problem to come here as a family with kids.
Adress: 1-1 Hirakatakōenchō, 枚方公園町 Hirakata-shi, Ōsaka-fu 573-0054 Access: Hirakatakoen Station (Keihan Line) Website: Hirakata Park Hours: 10:00 - 17:00
Kijima Kogen Park
Located just off Beppu, Kijima Kogen Park is a major amusement park on the island of Kyushu. One of the park’s best attractions is called “Jupiter”, a breathtaking wooden roller coaster with a few bumps, but a lot of charm. Usually, there are no queues of more than 30 minutes, not even on “Jupiter”.
Additionally to the amusement park, you can stay for an 18-hole golf course on site if you’re a golfer.
Address: 〒874-8666 大分県別府市Higashiyama, 城島高原123 Access: Jojimakogen Bus Stop Website: Kijimakogen Park Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (9:00 - 17:00 on weekends)
The Lagunasia amusement park belongs to a larger complex of entertainment and relaxing facilities. The water-theme that is kept throughout the park was inspired by the site’s coastline location; you’ll find swimming pools, as well as a replica of One Piece’s “Thousand Sunny” ship.
The three main roller coasters may not be as big or steep as the ones mentioned in the parks above, but they still offer fairly exciting rides. What really sets Lagunasia apart is an interesting extra: on one of the roller coasters, you’re handed a virtual reality headgear which will simulate different surroundings during the ride. Of course, this is optional, and you can aslo experience the coaster as it is in real life.
Address: 〒443-0014 Aichi-ken, Gamagōri-shi, 海陽町Kaiyōchō, 2 Chome−2−3−1 Access: Mikawa-Otsuka Station (Tokaido Main Line) Website: Lagunasia Hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Nagashima Spa Land
Nagashima Spa Land is a major amusement park very close to Nagoya. Upon entering the park, you will immediately notice the famous “Steel Dragon 2000” roller coaster, which spans the entire length of the park. Compared to many other roller coasters that tend be over quickly, after you’ve queued for too long, the “Steel Dragon” really does feel lengthy, while remaining exciting throughout.
In total, there are over 40 different rides here, including a 90-meter Ferris wheel. For a theme park this size, it’s often surprisingly uncrowded – which means more time on the coasters for you!
Address: 333 Nagashimachō Urayasu, 桑名市長島町 Mie-ken 511-1135 Access: Nagashima Hot Spring Bus Stop Website: Nagashima Resort Hours: 9:30 - 17:00
Japan Water Parks
Joyful Waterpark (at Nagashima Spa Land)
Each Summer, a separate waterpark opens at Nagashima Spa Land. It features very long tunnels, rafting and regular waterslides, as well as huge pools and an onsen (Japanese hot spring).
There is really not much missing here for a perfect day trip in summer.
Address: 333 Nagashimachō Urayasu, 桑名市長島町 Mie-ken 511-1135 Access: Nagashima Hot Spring Bus Stop Website: Nagashima Resort Hours: 9:30 - 18:00
The lazy floating river is huge, providing a perfect getaway from sweaty downtown Tokyo in summer. On top of that, you’ll find 25 slides spread across the various pools. Toshimaen certainly earns itself a spot on the list of Japan’s best water parks.
The admission is a bit pricey, but it’ll guarantee a day of never ending fun. On a side note, if you have a big tattoo, be prepared to be held back at the entrance; you might have to cover it up to get in.
Address: 3 Chome-25-1 Kōyama, Nerima-ku, Tōkyō-to 176-0022 Access: Toshimaen Station (Oedo Line) Website: Toshimaen Hours: 10:00 - 20:00
Spa Resort Hawaiians
This Hawaiian-themed water park in the Fukushima prefecture has had a turbulent history since its opening in the 1960s. After the disastrous earthquake of 2011, it was badly damaged but is now open again, and operating in full glory. Hula dance shows are part of the daily program, starring hula girls who have become somewhat famous after touring the country to raise donations for rebuilding Fukushima – and awareness for the water park.
The giant pool hall houses several slides and rafts. For some variety in between just head over to the fantastic onsen (Japanese hot spring).
Address: 〒972-8326 Fukushima-ken, Iwaki-shi, 常磐藤原町蕨平50 Access: Yumoto Station (Hitachi-Tokiwa, Joban JR Lines) Website: Spa Resort Hawaiians Hours: 9:00 - 22:15
Osaka Spa World
This huge spa complex in the middle of Osaka city has quite some things to offer, especially so considering the low price. To be clear, this is mainly a hot bath place, and the water slide area is small. Nonetheless, it’s a sure hit for water fun fans.
Highlights from the amusement pool area are a waterslide bowl and a steep reverse drop slide. The hot baths on the other floors have different themes, such as Ancient Rome, traditional Japanese or Finnish sauna. Be aware that men and women are separated upon entering those.
Address: 3 Chome-4-24 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 556-0002 Access: Shin-Imamiya Station (Nankai Line, Kuroshio JR Line, Osaka JR Loop Line) Website: Osaka Spa World Hours: Open 24 Hours
Family-friendly Parks in Japan
Children’s World (Kodomo no Kuni)
Designed with a lot of love, Kodomo no Kuni (Children’s World in Japanese) makes for a wonderful day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama, if not from further. With a petting zoo, various small coasters and widespread water play areas, this park is simply ideal for kids.
Admission is low, but you have to pay for the attractions separately, so make sure to bring enough cash. Furthermore, the park is quite large, so consider taking the in-park train to get from one attraction to the next.
Address: 〒227-0036 Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Aoba-ku, Narachō, 青葉区奈良町700 Access: Kodomonokuni (Kodomonokuni Line, via JR Yokohama Line) Website: Kodomo no Kuni Hours: 9:30 - 16:30 (Wednesdays closed)
You might be familiar with this chain of educational entertainment parks, and there’s a branch in Tokyo. For those who aren’t, KidZania is basically a kids-sized version of a fully-functioning city. Children get to experience a day in the life of adults, by taking on one of nearly 100 different jobs, earning money and then spending it on things like food. All of this in a safe and sound environment.
If big-brand sponsorship doesn’t bother you, your kids will be in good hands for an educational, yet playful day at KidZania. During the 5-hour tour, you’ll never lose sight of them, while food stands keep your belly happy.
Any kid between the ages of 2 and 12 is encouraged to take part, even if it doesn’t know any Japanese, as the staff is mostly English-speaking. Apart from that, interacting with Japanese kids can already be a unique cultural gain.
Address: 〒135-0061 Tōkyō-to, Kōtō-ku, Toyosu, 2 Chome−4−9, Urban Dock LaLaport TOYOSU Access: Toyosu Station (Yurakucho Line) Website: KidZania Tokyo Hours: 1st shift: 9:00 - 15:00, 2nd shift: 16:00 - 21:00 (make a reservation first)
Hanayashiki in Asakusa, Tokyo, claims to be the oldest amusement park in Japan, having opened in 1853. This may show in terms of style, but the attractions are all perfectly maintained or renovated to be safe. The panda bear cars, which have become a mascot for the park, prove to be a highlight for any kid. Overall, what characterizes this cozy park is, simply put, its great deal of charm.
You can either buy an all-you-can-ride admission for 3300 yen (2500 yen for kids under 13) or pay for each ride separately (100 yen each, admission to the park not included).
Address: 2 Chome-28-1 Asakusa, 台東区 Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032 Access: Asakusa Station (Tsukuba Express) Website: Hanayashiki Hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Parque Espana (Shima Spain Village)
Parque Espana is a colorful theme park dedicated to Spanish history and culture, but also offers fun rides for small children. There’s just one ride that’s unsuitable for children: an inverted roller coaster with a looping – perhaps something a parent in search of a quick thrill wants to try.
Beautiful performances and parades liven up the atmosphere between rides and sightseeing, while delicious Spanish food keeps the kids going.
Address: 〒517-0212 Mie Prefecture, Shima, 磯部町坂崎 Access: Shima Spain Mura Bus Stop (from Ugata) Website: Parque Espana Hours: 9:30 - 17:00 (9:30 - 18:00 on weekends)
An animal train, a petting zoo and a regular zoo are the attractions all kids will love at Misaki Park. Small rides round up the trip to the southern Osaka Bay.
There are two seasonal side effects: Enjoy a huge swimming pool with water slides in summer; witness hundreds of blooming cherry trees in spring.
Address: 3990 Tannowa, Misaki-chō, Sennan-gun, Ōsaka-fu 599-0301 Access: Misakikoen (Nankai Line) Website: Misaki Park Hours: 9:30 - 17:00
Thomas Land (at Fuji-Q Highland)
Inside Fuji-Q Highland park, there’s a separate kids’ world in the theme of Thomas & Friends. Any kid is guaranteed a blast here, even if it isn’t familiar with the British tv show. Find 11 different attractions here.
To get to Thomas Land, you have to pay the entrance fee to Fuji-Q Highland, which is 1500 yen for adults and teens, and 900 yen for children under 12. Once you’re at Thomas Land, you can choose between a pass for all rides and separate tickets for each ride.
Address: 4 Chome-15-5 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi-ken 403-0017 Access: Fujikyu Highland (Fujikyuko Line, JR Narita Express) Website: Thomas Land Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Yokohama Cosmo World
Fun for the whole family is guaranteed at Cosmo World in Yokohama. There are many kids-friendly rides, but not too few for adults either. A breath-taking highlight is the 112-meter Ferris wheel when it’s illuminated in the dark.
Rides are paid for individually, and there’s no entrance fee to the park.
Address: 〒231-0001 Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Naka-ku, Shinkō, 2 Chome−8−8番１号 Access: Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai Line) Website: Cosmo World Hours: 11:00 - 21:00 (11:00 - 22:00 on weekends)
Japan Reenactment Parks
Edo Wonderland (Nikko Edomura)
Dive into 17th century Japan at Edo Wonderland, a park dedicated to replicate the culture of a small village during the Edo period. The site is occasionally used as a movie set for historical documentaries. If you like, you can dress up in style with traditional clothes, and put the kids in ninja costumes. Things to do include samurai sword fighting lessons, wandering through a ninja maze and various sightseeing spots and performances.
Summing up, Edo Wonderland is an open-air museum you get to take part in yourself. It’s an interesting visit on its own, but can also be a perfect opportunity to top off a trip to beautiful Nikko.
Address: 〒321-2524 Tochigi-ken, Nikkō-shi, Karakura, 470−2 Access: Kosagoe Station (Nikko-Kinugawa Line, Shimotsuke-Kirifuri Line) Website: Edo Wonderland Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (Wednesdays closed)
Huis Ten Bosch
Impressive replica of a prototypical Dutch village, including royal buildings, windmills and canals. Find an owl room with live owls, flower shows and some smaller carnival attractions.
At times, it might seem a bit weird to see a fairly loose setup of European clichés, when British and Italian elements are mixed in for no apparent reason. But then again, the Dutch buildings are actually replicated with an accuracy to every last detail.
Now, Huis Ten Bosch should perhaps not be the first priority on a Western tourist’s agenda when coming to Japan for a shorter period of time, but if you’re around the area, why not give it a shot.
Address: 1-1 Huis Ten Bosch Machi, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki-ken 859-3292 Access: Hui Ten Bosch Station (JR Omura Line) Website: Huis Ten Bosch Hours: 9:00 - 22:00
Tobu World Square
Located close to Nikko, Tobu World Square showcases over 100 miniature versions of famous buildings from all over the world. From the Taj Mahal to the Tokyo Skytree, every single replica stuns with impressive details.
Whether you’re a fan of world famous buildings or not, Tobu World Square is always a breathtaking sight.
Address: 209-1 Kinugawaonsen Ōhara, Nikkō-shi, Tochigi-ken 321-2593 Access: Kosagoe Station (Nikko-Kinugawa Line, Shimotsuke-Kirifuri Line) Website: Tobu World Square Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (9:30 - 16:00 from Dec to Mar)
Arita Porcelain Park
Arita’s Porcelain Park was originally designed as a German themed park, but went bankrupt eventually. Lucky for you, because today, visitors can enter the site for free, and marvel at perfectly constructed German-style buildings. Do this while sipping on a cup of sake, as the area is now owned by a Japanese sake company.
Make sure to check out the ceramics shops for low priced porcelain dishes, and learn about traditional pottery techniques from Arita.
Address: 〒844-0014 Saga-ken, Nishimatsuura-gun, Arita-chō, 有田町戸矢乙340−28 Access: Narita Station (Matsuura Tetsudo Line, Sasebo JR Line, Midori-Huis Ten Bosch JR Line) Website: Arita Porcelain Park Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Anime and Gaming Parks
Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty World)
A must-visit for any Hello Kitty fan, regardless of your age. Though many attractions are in Japanese only, this won’t stop you from having a great time here. An instant classic is the Sanrio version of Disneyland’s “Small World” on the boat ride.
The best part: it’s only 50 minutes away from Tokyo. If possible, consider going on a weekday, as it can get very crowded on weekends.
Address: 〒206-8588 Tōkyō-to, Tama-shi, Ochiai, 1 Chome−1−31 Access: Tama Center Station (Keio-Sagamihara Line, Odakyu-Tama Line) Website: Sanrio Puroland Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (10:00 - 20:00 Saturdays)
Sega-operated Joypolis in Tokyo’s south is one of the largest indoor fun parks in Japan. One of the best attractions is perhaps the virtual reality zombie game, which can be played by up to six players. Moreover, arcade games and many entertaining rides add some diversity.
Address: 〒135-0091 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Daiba, 1 Chome−6−1, DECKS Tokyo Beach 3F～5F DECKS Tokyo Beach Access: Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line) Website: Tokyo Joypolis Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Namco Namja Town
Small, but nice carnival-style indoor park in Tokyo, focussing on themes and characters from Japanese gaming company Namco. If you don’t mind that nothing is in English, it will be an entertaining experience. Delicious Ice cream and gyozas keep you going.
Address: 〒170-0013 Tōkyō-to, Toshima-ku, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−1−3, Sunshine City Convention Center Access: Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Yurakucho Line) Website: Namco Namja Town Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Anime fans will feel very much at home at J-World, Tokyo’s other indoor theme park in the Sunshine City Convention Center next to Namco Namja Town. It’s centered around Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball and more. Dive right into the anime world while playing various games which conveniently offer an English option. There are many sceneries to pose for fantastic photographs, too.
Address: 〒170-0013 Tōkyō-to, Toshima-ku, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−1, Sunshine City Convention Center Access: Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Yurakucho Line) Website: Namco J-World Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Abandoned Theme Parks in Japan
Up for an adventurous trip off the beaten path near Nara? Since the closure of Disneyland-inspired Nara Dreamland in 2006, it’s been abandoned and left to be absorbed by nature. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still visit for a mysterious experience. Urban explorers have been hearing strange noises in the park, and to this day it’s not clear where they come from.
But hurry, after an Osakan housing company bought the abandoned area in 2016, it’s now clear that in early 2018 they will have torn down all remains.
Address: 〒630-8108 Nara-ken, Nara-shi, Hōrensahoyama, 二丁目1番1号 Access: Nara Station (Nara, Sakurai, Yamatoji JR Lines)