Japan’s theme parks have got you covered; from Americana inspired immersive fantasy lands, to white-knuckle screamers, via retro fun fairs and J-culture cute. They’re all here, they’re all accessible, and most of them are very popular. But how much does it cost to get in and get on some rides? We look a selection of the nation’s classics.
The Big Three
DisneyLand, DisneySea (both Tokyo), and Universal Studios Japan (Osaka) are, without doubt, the three ‘headline acts’ when it come to Japan’s theme parks.
Prices for DisneyLand/Sea are the same …
1-Day Passport: Adult (18 & over) 6,900 yen / Junior (12-17) 6,000 yen / Child (4-11) 4,500 yen
Senior Passport: (65 & over) 6,200 yen
2-Day Passport: 12,400 yen / 10,800 yen / 8,000 yen
Starlight Passport: (from 15:00 Sat/Sun/Nat. Holidays): 5,400 yen / 4,700 yen / 3,500 yen
After 6 Passport: (from 18:00 Mon to Fri exc. Nat. Holidays): Flat rate - 4,200 yen
1 DAY Studio Pass: Adult (12 or over) 7,200 yen / Children (4-11) 4,980 yen / Seniors (65 or over) 6,470 yen
2 DAY Studio Pass: 12,110 yen / 7,797 yen
To shorten waiting times for designated attractions, seek out the Universal Express Pass …
Universal Express Pass 7: 6,600 yen / 9,075 yen
Universal Express Pass 5: 4,815 yen / 6,667 yen
Universal Express Pass 3: 3,300 yen / 4,167 yen
The One With The Best Roller Coasters
Japan’s big three may command the biggest budgets and have the best effects, but when it comes to sheer thrill (or terror) they can’t compete with Fuji-Q Highland (富士急ハイランド). OK, so it’s a bit shabby around the edges, and it is stuck out in the boonies/sticks, but it has Japan’s fastest/tallest/scariest rides and the stellar backdrop of Mt. Fuji. Also, the confidently named Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear (basically, a haunted hospital), will have you soiling your undies quicker than you can say, Where’s the nearest toilet?!.
Entrance ticket (admission only): Adults (over 18) 1,400 yen / School Students (12-18) 1,400 yen / Kids (3-11) 800 yen
Buying the entrance ticket is like buying a bed without a mattress; much cheaper but ultimately not a lot of use. How much does it cost to get in AND get on the rides?
1 day free pass ticket: 5,200 yen / 4,700 yen / 3,800 yen
2 day free pass ticket: 8,300 yen / 7,400 yen / 6,200 yen
For transport from Tokyo, check out the Q Pack, which covers a Fuji-Q Highland pass + a round trip bus ticket from Shinjuku, Tokyo. Adults: 6,700 yen / School Students: 6,500 yen / Kids 4,250 yen
Another place for thrill-seekers to find their kicks, Nagashima Spa Land is best accessed from Nagoya. The theme park is part of the sprawling Nagashima Resort, which includes hot springs, a water park, and flower garden. A massive one.
Entrance Ticket (admission only): Adults 1,000 yen / Elementary school students 1,000 yen / Children over 2 yrs 500 yen
1 day free pass: Adults 4,500 yen / Elementary school students 3,400 yen / Over 2 yrs 2,100 yen / Over 60 yrs 2,600 yen
The Old Skool
Hanayashiki, in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, proudly boasts of being the oldest amusement park in Japan. And it shows!!! Whereas the thrills in Fuji-Q are somewhat superficial (there’s little fear of anything breaking down), Hanayashiki might offer the real deal (this rickety old place has been around since 1853, and looks like a strong gust of wind could put it out of service). Still, it does exude a certain charm. Tickets …
Admission (rides not included): (13-64 yrs) 1,000 yen / (Elementary school students & over 65 ys) 500 yen
Free Ride Pass (admission not included): (13-64 yrs) 2,300 yen / (Elementary school students) 2,000 yen / (Over 65 yrs & kids over 2 yrs) 1,800 yen
Single ride ticket: 100 yen / Coupon (11 tickets): 1,000 yen
The One With Hello Kitty
At Sanrio Puroland (Tokyo) you can get up close and personal with all your favorite Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty. This place place is so pink it’ll make your eyes hurt. It’s also very heavy on the cute, and probably somewhere you’d only go if you have kids. How much does it cost for all this cuteness?
Weekdays passport: Adult (18 years and over) 3,300 yen / Child (3-17 years) 2,500 yen
Holidays passport: Adult (18 years and over) 3,300 yen / Child (3-17 years) 2,700 yen
Use ‘discount coupons’ available online …
Passport Discount Coupon: 100 yen off all the above prices
Afternoon passport: Adult 2,000 yen / Junior & Child 1,700 yen
These coupons are available for limited periods. Check the website for details.
The One Where You Go To Space
Space World in Kitakyushu, near Fukuoka, attempts to do what it says on the can. Take you to space! There are 4 roller coasters here, as well as water rides (in space?), theaters, and a space museum. Given its proximity to the airport in Fukuoka, it’s probably the most internationally accessible of all Japan’s theme parks.
Free Pass (admission and all access): Senior (over 60 yrs) 2,360 yen / Adult (jr high - 59 yrs) 4,630 yen / Elementary school 3,490 yen / Child (4 yrs - Elementary school) 1,230 yen
Let us know about your theme park experiences (and costs) in Japan. Leave your comments below!