Super Mario Theme Park to Open in Japan
A new Super Nintendo World is set to open at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in time for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
Super Nintendo World will be made up of large, multi-level environments packed with brand new, state-of-the-art rides, interactive areas, shops and restaurants, all featuring Nintendo’s most popular characters and games. The world will feature characters and themes from the Super Mario series, beloved by many generations of fans all around the world, as well as many other Nintendo characters with global popularity and appeal.
While Nintendo-themed areas are also in the pipeline (no pun intended!) for Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood, the one in USJ will reportedly be the first such Nintendo-themed theme park area in the world, and is sure to have dedicated Nintendo fans jumping in excitement at the chance to meet their favourite Nintendo characters, such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Boo, Bowser, and of course, cute green dinosaur Yoshi.
The Nintendo characters and the worlds they inhabit will be painstakingly recreated through a strong partnership between top designers from both Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts. On the USJ side will be Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative, Universal Parks & Resorts’ design and development group. And from Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto, Creative Fellow at Nintendo, will be on board.
Both designers are renowned for their creative and technical excellence; Miyamoto (or “Shigsy”, as many fans will know him) has designed and produced some of the best-known, best-loved and best-selling Nintendo video game franchises of all time, including Donkey Kong, Mario, and the Legend of Zelda, so die-hard Nintendo fans will be able to rest assured that their beloved characters and worlds are in the safest of hands.
The new Nintendo world will be developed mainly on land that is currently used for car parking, but also partially on land set aside for further expansion. Development costs are estimated to be over 5 billion Yen. However, the opening is expected to bring huge economic benefits for both the region and the country as a whole.
Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Professor Emeritus at Kansai University, estimates that within a decade of opening it will have created approximately 1.1 million new jobs and generated economic benefits of approximately 6.2 trillion Yen for the Kansai region and 11.7 trillion Yen for Japan.
Nintendo fans now have three years to spend dreaming of taking their first steps into a fantasy world of warp pipes, super mushrooms, coin boxes, and piranha plants (ouch!) as they await the opening of the world’s first Nintendo theme park area.
Universal Studios Japan is in Osaka, Japan’s second largest city after Tokyo, within easy reaching distance of central Osaka. It takes just 10-15 minutes by train from central Osaka, and 65 minutes from Osaka International Airport (KIX).
Osaka is located in the middle of Japan, making it easy to get to and from just about anywhere else on the Japanese archipelago. Must-see cultural cities such as Kobe, Kyoto and Nara are all under an hour away by train, while Hiroshima and Tokyo are under three hours away by bullet train.