Now you’re playing with power; SUPER NINTENDO WORLD POWER!
That same electric buzz from 90s Super Nintendo commercials is still going strong and coming ‘atcha IRL. After its grand opening was postponed, the long-awaited Super Nintendo World theme park finally opened in 2021. While similar parks in Hollywood, Singapore and Orlando are all under consideration, Japan’s is the only one in the world.
Super Nintendo World: What to Expect
The area has been designed in partnership with Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario and a longstanding creative at Nintendo, so you know it’s going to be good. Thanks to the blocky, 2d design reminiscent of the earlier games, stepping through the initial warp pipe is stepping into your actual childhood.
Featuring all your favorite bits of the Mushroom Kingdom, there’s Peach Castle, Bowser Jr.’s lair, plus Mario himself as well as Luigi, Yoshi and Princess Peach. The area is interactive, with punch-able Note blocks, smartwatches and an app that allow you to complete challenges in the park. Basically, you won’t be dissapointed.
The Attractions: Karts, Coins and Golden Eggs
Beloved (and feared) Nintendo characters and landscapes come to life through three main interactive attractions:
Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
A VR Mario Kart ride, this is the star attraction of the area without a doubt. Once you place your Mario Hat on and attach your visor, you’ll be transported into a virtual reality of every 90’s kids dreams. As your vehicle moves along the route, you’ll see enemies appear and dissapear, blending with the real-life surroundings of Bowser’s Castle. It can be quite visually intense, but you do get chances to practice your shell throwing before the real battle ensues. The ride takes five minutes and you can have four people in each vehicle.
Hitch a ride on Yoshi’s back while you follow Captain Toad on a treasure hunt for the Golden Egg. Guests will enjoy a view of the Mushroom Kingdom from Mount Beanpole. The ride lasts five minutes and you can have two people in each vehicle. It is kid-friendly, but fun for adults too and gives you great views of the park.
Power-Up Band Key Challenges
Power-Up Bands are smartwatch-like wristbands with innovative technology that link to your smartphone via the USJ app. The bands help you keep score, collect virtual coins and stamps, and check your rankings. You’ll need one to participate in the Key Challenge, where you work through games around the area helping Peach retrieve the Golden Mushroom stolen by Bowser Jr, but not for other rides.
The Power-up Bands come in different designs and cost ¥3,200 each at the park. They are a bit pricey, but you keep them so they’re worthwhile if you’re re-visiting (or just want to make the most of it).
Donkey Kong Expansion Park: Coming Soon
Set to open in 2024, the Donkey Kong Expansion Park (we see what you did there, USJ) is already under construction. The area will include a rollercoaster, interactive experiences and more food and drink. With some maps released, it’s looking like it will increase the Nintendo area by more than half, so there’s even more reason to go back and explore.
Themed Food and Restaurants in Nintendo World
There are a couple of food spots inside Super Nintendo World, including a cafe and a snack stand.
Kinopio’s Cafe: for Mario-themed meals
The Cafe is run by Chef Toad with plenty of themed dishes like the Mario Bacon Cheeseburger (¥2,000), Yoshi’s Spinach Carbonara (¥1,900, Mushroom Soup (¥800) and Piranha Plant Caprese (¥1,300). The two best looking (and most reasonable) dishes, however, are cute Super Mushroom Pizza Bowl (¥1,500 which is a kind of inverted pizza-crust topped bowl of mushroom, cheese and tomato, but baked to look like a little mushroom. The second is the ? Block Tiramasu, which is simple but fun looking and is ¥700. There are a couple of fun drinks: the Super STar Lemon Squash and the Super Star hot yuzu lemonade, which comes with stars, both ¥600. As always food prices are higher than they should be, but you knew that coming in here, so treat yo’self (or eat your smuggled onigiri behind a plant somehwere, whatever works for you).
Vegetarian, Vegan and Halal food options
There are a few vegetarian options (mushroom soup and salads) while Yoshi’s Favourite Fruit and Veggie Salad is the only vegan option. Halal options include these, but staff should have more details on other dishes in the restaurant. The Red Lobster Restaurant at USJ has a Halal Menu, so hopefully this will be carried over to themed ones soon, but does mean there are guaranteed Halal options available at least somehwere in the park.
For all options, we recommend asking staff as there are often hidden stock and ham elements to meals in Japan (check out our guide to being vegetarian and vegan in Japan).
Pit Stop Popcorn: Come for the Popcorn, stay for the bucket
So like popcorn at Disney there is a trend at USJ of different popcorn stands, and the cup holders are a big deal. The holder options are an impressive Mario Kart with flashing tires or a Super Star which lights up and is actually a pretty cool souvenir. They are quite pricey though, with the star costing ¥3,500 and Mario kart costing ¥4,500, but you can get the popcorn on its own too.
Yoshi’s Snack Island: The Highlight
So if you want to join the fun but don’t want to shell-out the cash, Yoshi’s Snack Island is a good balance. They have a Green Shell Calzone filled which looks like melon-pan but is actually filled with yakisoba (fried noodles) and cheese (¥700. There’s a Melon or Mango Lassi and a hot apple tea (all ¥700, with some cute Mushroom drink bottles available too (¥1,800. You can also get regular soft drinks, costing a more pocket-friendly ¥320—¥380 depending on size.
Getting Tickets to Super Nintendo World
As Super Nintendo World is inside Univeral Studios, it’s included in the general entry ticket, just like any other area. However, due to the park’s popularity, you might need what they so catchily call an ‘Area timed entry ticket’ you get you in. First things first though, see our guide on getting tickets to Universal Studios Japan or simply buy them here from official USJ partner Klook.
Getting Area Timed Entry Tickets
To secure your spot at Super Nintendo World, you’ll need an “Area Timed Entry Ticket”. These are to limit the number of people in the park, partly because of Covid, but partly because the area is interactive, and if it’s rammed it’s no fun for anyone.
Note that these tickets are specific to a time, don’t allow re-entry and don’t guarantee access to the attractions, they’re just to get you into the park.
There are two ways to get a timed-entry ticket: online in advance or on the day using the app and kiosks. Technically, if the park is quiet enough, you can get in without a timed pass, but this is a risky game to play.
Option 1: Online in advance
If you’re buying your ticket online anyway and known you want to go, we reccomend getting yourself a timed slot so you know what you’re doing. It might seem annoying to be tied-down (who wants a schedule for their day at a themepark?) but it’s better than not getting in at all.
There are two options to add your time booking to:
- Area Timed Entry Ticket: Advance Booking
- Universal Express Pass with an Area Timed Entry Ticket: Advance booking
Option 2: On the day
If you didn’t get tickets online or decided last minute you want to see what all the hype is about, you can get an Area Times Ticket using the official app or from one of the park kiosks. If you plan on using the app, it’s a good idea to download the app and register your Studio Pass asap, then you can book your timeslot faster. You can book the tickets for your whole group on one app, just scan the QR codes of each Studio Pass so you can all enter together.
For the kiosks, you simply scan your QR code and select the number of people you wish to book for. It will print you a barcode and you scan that when you’re due to enter. You don’t need the whole group with you to do this, so it’s pretty convenient.
If you don’t get in
If you miss your timeslot or ticket are sold out for that day, you can still enjoy a hit of Nintendo in the main USJ Park. There are a couple of cafes selling themed food and drinks and there are (of course) plenty of opportunities to get yourself some Mario Merchandise in the many shops.
Super Nintendo World: FAQs
Still got as many questions as you have beaten-up Mario games in a drawer somewhere? No problem.
Where is the Super Nintendo World Park?
The park is an area within Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka. It’s in the north corner of USJ and is actually on the other side of the wall to Nintendo’s HQ, which happens to be next to the theme park.
How do I get tickets to Super Nintendo World Park?
The Nintendo area is included in the general Univeral Studio Pass, so you don’t need to pay extra for Nintendo fun. However, while it’s popular, entry is limited using timed entry tickets which are free, but need booking in advance, or on the day. Scroll up to our tickets section for full details.
Do I need a Power-Up Band for Super Nintendo World?
So technically no, these bands are optional and you can explore the area, go on the rides and meet the characters without them. You do need them to take part in the interactive key challanges in the park though, connecting it with the app to track coins and stamps. If you want the full experience (like punching those power-up blocks) then it’s needed, but consider how long you’ll be spending in that area and if it’s worth the ¥3,200 for you.
Is Super Nintendo World child-friendly?
Yes! The park is designed for both actual kids and adult kids, so everyone can enjoy the fun. The rides themselves have height requirements rather than ages, so anyone over 122cm can enjoy the Yoshi ride and over 107cm for the Mario Kart ride. There is a kid’s menu at the Kinopio Cafe, including a hamburger meal (¥1,400) and a curry-rice set (¥1,000), both coming with a small toy.
Are there any Vegetarian or Vegan options in Super Nintendo World?
So there are a handful of vegetarian options at Nintendo World’s Kinopio Cafe. These are the Caprese Salad, the mushroom soup and Yoshi’s vegetable and fruit salad. However, as recipes can change and people’s level of vegetarian varies (check out our guide on that) we suggest you ask the restaurant staff at the time. Things are not customisable as is normal in Japan, and vegans are stuck with salad.
How do I get to Super Nintendo World at USJ?
Super Nintendo World is located inside Universal Studios Japan, which is in Osaka. We have a guide on how to get to the park, including from Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. Once you’re inside the park, Super Nintendo World is to the north of the park and will be clearly signposted. You enter the world through a large green warp pipe, so you can’t miss it!
Note: Super Nintendo World will be operating at reduced capacity for the time being due to anti-COVID measures.