Universal Studios Japan

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Universal Studios Japan
The Universal Globe
Location Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan
Coordinates 34°39′53″N 135°25′59″E / 34.66472°N 135.43306°E / 34.66472; 135.43306Coordinates: 34°39′53″N 135°25′59″E / 34.66472°N 135.43306°E / 34.66472; 135.43306
Theme Show business and Universal entertainment
Owner USJ Co., Ltd. (51% owned by NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast)[1]
Operated by USJ Co., Ltd.
Opened 31 March 2001; 15 years ago (2001-03-31)
Visitors per annum 10,100,000 (2013)[2]
Area 54 ha (108 acres)
Roller coasters 5
Website www.usj.co.jp/e
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 four Universal Studios theme parks, owned and operated by USJ Co., Ltd. which is majority owned by NBCUniversal (as of 2015). 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 March 31, 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 Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. 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.[3] On July 15, 2014, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed area based on the blockbuster Harry Potter film series, opened to the public.[4] 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.[5] 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.[4]

On Monday, October 29, 2012, Universal Studios Japan greeted its 100 millionth visitor since its opening in 2001.[6] 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.[7]


The attractions are arranged in nine areas of the park.[8] A tenth area, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened on July 15, 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.[9] 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.

New York[edit]

Themed after New York City.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction.


Themed to Hollywood.

4-D Theatre
The former E.T. Adventure

San Francisco[edit]

Based on the city of San Francisco.

Jurassic Park[edit]

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

Universal Wonderland[edit]

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

Snoopy Studios[edit]

Based on the Peanuts comic strip.

  • Snoopy's Great Race
  • The Flying Snoopy

Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue[edit]

Themed to Sanrio's Hello Kitty franchise.

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

Sesame Street Fun Zone[edit]

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

Universal Studios Lagoon[edit]

A lake that surrounds the park.

  • Hollywood Magic

The Magical Oceania[edit]

A lake that surrounds the park.

  • Peter Pan's Neverland

Water World[edit]

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

Amity Village[edit]

Inspired by the Jaws trilogy.

Jaws ride at Universal Studios Japan

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter[edit]

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

Upcoming untitled Nintendo-themed area[edit]

Universal Parks & Resorts announced a partnership with Nintendo in May 2015 to build new Nintendo-themed attractions.[12] 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.[13] ¥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.[14]

Former attractions[edit]

  • 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.[15][16] The show closed in 2006 and has since been replaced by Wicked.
  • 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,[17] 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.[2]
  • 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 closed and will be replaced by Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.

Land of Oz (closed in 2011)[edit]

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


  • Animation Celebration
    • 2002 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Attraction[20]
  • Peter Pan's Neverland
    • 2007 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Event Spectacular[21]
  • 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"[22]
  • Magical Starlight Parade
    • 2009 Big E Award (presented by IIAPA): Honorable Mention in the category "Best Overall Production, More Than $2 Million"[23]


2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Worldwide rank
8,300,000[24] 8,000,000[25] 8,160,000[26] 8,500,000[27] 9,700,000[28] 10,100,000[29] 11,800,000 [7] 13,900,000[30] 4[31]

Official hotels[edit]

Hotel Kintetsu Universal City (left) and Hotel Keihan Universal Tower (right)

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[edit]

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.[32]


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.[33]


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.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-28/comcast-to-pay-1-5-billion-for-51-of-japanese-theme-park
  2. ^ a b "Universal Studios Japan: Universal Studios Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. 
  3. ^ "Universal Cool Japan 2016 - Osaka - Japan Travel - Tourism Guide, Japan Map and Trip Planner". JapanTravel. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  4. ^ a b "Universal Studios Japan to Open Wizarding World of Harry Potter in July". Variety Media. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  5. ^ "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Now in 3D". themeparkinsider. Retrieved 2015-05-20. 
  6. ^ "Universal Studios Japan visitors top 100 million". Archived from the original on 2013-01-22. Retrieved 2 Nov 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "GLOBAL ATTRACTIONS ATTENDANCE REPORT" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Universal Studios Japan Attraction/Studio Guide". usj.co.jp. Retrieved 2006-11-19. 
  9. ^ Fritz, Ben (9 May 2012). "Harry Potter heads to Universal Studios Japan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Animation Celebration". www.imdb.com. 
  11. ^ "世界最高フライング・コースター【ザ・フライング・ダイナソー】 - USJ". 世界最高フライング・コースター【ザ・フライング・ダイナソー】 - USJ. 
  12. ^ Villas-Boas, Antonio (May 7, 2015). "Nintendo's huge new deal with Universal shows just how far it'll go to turn the ship around". Business Insider. Retrieved March 6, 2016. 
  13. ^ Ashcraft, Biran (March 5, 2016). "First Details on Nintendo's Universal Studios Collaboration". Kotaku. Retrieved March 5, 2016. 
  14. ^ http://www.gamesring.com/irl/nintendo-land-coming-universal-studios-theme-park/
  15. ^ Strother, Susan G. (12 July 1991). "Universal Kicks Off Western Show". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "USJ theme park has continued to misuse explosives.". Japan Weekly Monitor. 19 August 2002. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Universal Studios Japan - Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. 
  18. ^ "SCREAMSCAPE Presents - The 2001 Ultimate Awards". 2002-09-18. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  19. ^ "The Theme Park Insider Awards". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  20. ^ a b "Thea Recipients". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  21. ^ "14th Annual THEA Awards". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  22. ^ "IAAPA 2009 BIG E AWARDS". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  23. ^ "IAAPA 2009 Big E Awards Recognize Top-Notch Live Entertainment in the Attractions Industry Europe, Japan, and United States Productions Stand Out in 2009". 2009-11-18. Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. 
  24. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  25. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2010 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  27. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  28. ^ "2012 Theme Index-Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 8, 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ "2015 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM. 
  31. ^ "2015 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM. 
  32. ^ "Universal CityWalk Osaka". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  33. ^ "Quick Hits". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  34. ^ "[USJ settles with woman hurt on E.T. attraction]". The Daily Yomiuri. 2000-11-24. Retrieved 2006-12-15. [dead link]

External links[edit]