One of the things my son really wanted to do on our trip around the world was visit Super Nintendo World. He is a big fan of Nintendo and the Mario games, and so in addition to doing the “real life Mario Kart” in Tokyo, this was at the top of his wish list. When we first started talking about this, Super Nintendo World was only at Universal Studios Japan, though since we started planning this trip, it’s gone to Universal Studios Hollywood. Of course, with miles and points, it’s probably just as easy and cheap to fly to Tokyo as it would be to fly to Los Angeles 🙂
Universal Studios Japan Cost
We decided to book a 2 day ticket at Universal Studios Japan. Originally we were going to buy a 1.5 day ticket (where you can get in at 3pm on one day and then all the next day), but when our flights changed, we ended up with 2 full days at Universal Japan. I did not find anywhere cheaper to book the ticket than directly through the USJ ticketing site, where each of our tickets cost JPY 16,300 (about USD$124).
Universal Studios Japan Review – Where To Stay
There are a variety of different hotels within walking distance to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. We booked the Osaka Hotel Universal Port Vita which was about a 5 minute walk to the front gate of Universal Studios Japan. There are also a few hotels (Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan or the Hotel Kintetsu Universal City) which are inside the Universal Studios Citywalk and a little closer (and more expensive). And of course, Universal Studios Japan is very convenient to the Universal City station on the Osaka Japan Rail line, so you can stay anywhere you want and take the train.
Super Nintendo World Review 2023 –
My family and I have been to Universal Studios Orlando a few times, and there is a lot of similarities between the two parks. We spent most of our time at Super Nintendo World, which is one sub-area of the park. There was a bit of time that we weren’t able to be in Super Nintendo World due to the timed ticket entry (see below), so we did go to the Hogwarts area for awhile.
This was very similar to the Hogwarts area in Universal Studios Orlando. There were the 2 main rides (Escape from Gringott’s and Hagrid’s Motorbike) that were basically the same as their Orlando counterparts. The theming inside Gringott’s was nearly identical, and Hogsmeade was also very similar.
How To Get Into Super Nintendo World (Timed Ticket Required)
Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan requires a separate (free) timed ticket. Supposedly you can reserve times in the app, though I personally was not able to get that to work. Instead, each of our two mornings we would race to the kiosks inside the park where you could get a Super Nintendo World timed entry ticket. You have to scan your park tickets and then you can reserve a time (either “first available” or a later time in the park).
We were there at a fairly not-busy time, so both times we were able to get in with only a 45 minute or so wait. I imagine that on busier days the wait might be longer.
On our second day, we got in even earlier and when we went to the Super Nintendo World entrance, they even let us in a few minutes before our scheduled time.
The theming at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan is amazing, and it starts with the entrance, where you enter a “pipe” to enter into the world.
Are Super Nintendo World Power Bands Worth It?
One of the big features of Super Nintendo world are the Power Bands, which come in six different varieties.
If you’re wondering if Power Bands at Super Nintendo World are worth it, the answer is definitely yes. Most of the attractions require the Power Band, and it won’t be nearly as fun if you don’t have one. If you’re only going to get one Super Nintendo World souvenir, then a power band should be the one to get. There is a station right at the entrance where you can buy one, but a pro tip is that you can just go into the actual area (through the pipe) and buy one at any of the shops inside, and you might have a slightly shorter line. The cost 3800 JPY (about USD$31), which is actually slightly cheaper than the USD$40 cost at Universal Hollywood.
Inside Super Nintendo World, you can use your power band to “hit” coin blocks, battle enemies and do other tasks.
They have a “roulette” section where you hit your power band on each of 4 blocks to get either a mushroom, fire flower, raccoon or star.
There are different “stamps” that you can get by completing different tasks. For instance, you get one stamp for playing the roulette game above, and then one for getting each of the different types of power ups. Similarly, you get stamps by playing the musical notes in six different colored songs as well as a few secret songs. We ended up not doing the secret songs because we couldn’t figure out exactly how to do them.
This is all tracked through the Universal Studios Japan app, where you can compare your progress against others as well as help your “team” win challenges. The overarching theme is that you have to collect 3 “keys” before defeating Bowser Jr. in one final battle (you can see that we already completed that in the top right). There are 5 different key challenges that you can do, and each one has different “levels” that you can do, so the more that you do them, the harder that they get. So if someone ahead of you looks like they are struggling with something you completed easily, keep in mind that they might be on a different level.
Again, it is totally worth it to get a Super Nintendo World Power Up Band – I would say that it is pretty much required to get the most out of your time at Super Nintendo World. One thing I would say is if you have multiple people in your group that maybe not everyone needs one (especially adults). We only got the one for my son and I felt totally fulfilled just playing along with him.
Super Nintendo World Japan Review – Food
There are a few snack shops inside Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, but the big restaurant is Kinopio’s Cafe (Toad’s Cafe). An important thing to keep in mind is that they also use timed tickets / reservations, so you’ll want to get a timed ticket 90 to 120 minutes (or maybe more on busier days) before you actually want to eat.
There is a line even once you get into the cafe, and it takes another 30 minutes or so (at least) before you actually get your food. We went with Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger as well as sharing some of Princess Peach’s Cake.
Also, one thing to note is that apparently it is considered rude in Japan to ask for substitutions on food, which it took us a few times to realize :-). We asked for no mushrooms or pickles on our burgers and they looked at us funny and even had to call a manager over to enter in the customized order. So YMMV on that one.
Getting Absolutely Destroyed By Rain
There are two main rides in Super Nintendo World – Yoshi’s Adventure and Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. Both of them are going to have very long lines. Like I said, we were there on a not very busy day and it was still over an hour for both of those rides. On our second day, it started raining while we were in line for Yoshi’s Adventure. The waiting area is all inside, but the ride itself goes through inside and outside sections, while you’re in a car that slowly moves on a track.
We got on the ride and it just started POURING. Then, right after we came out of a “pipe” (indoor section), the ride stopped. And we were just getting absolutely DESTROYED by the rain. Looking behind us, the car right behind us (maybe 5 feet behind) was still in the pipe and covered from the rain but we were just getting pounded with rain. We weren’t quite sure what was going on or if the ride was stopping. I tried to see if we could get out but we were still locked in by our lap bars. Finally after a few minutes they made an announcement but….. it was in Japanese so I couldn’t tell what was going on.
Eventually they started the ride back up. When we got back to the main area, everybody was apologetic and gave us some towels to dry off with.
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The Bottom Line – Universal Studios Japan / Super Nintendo World Review
We had an amazing time at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. It was great fun, but I definitely recommend making sure that you spend the extra money for a Power Up Band. Without having a Power Up Band, you’ll miss out on a lot of the fun of Super Nintendo World.
Have you been to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan or Universal Hollywood? Leave your experience in the comments below
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