Do I Amuse You? Japan’s Best Amusement Parks

ByBert Wishart
Mar 24, 2022

Do I Amuse You? Japan’s Best Amusement Parks

As far back as I remember, I always loved going to amusement parks, and fortunately for me, the Japanese are as crazy for rollercoasters as I am. Japan has some of the best theme parks in the world, and according to Statista, in 2020, some 31 million people visited, which is no mean feat considering the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

This means that no matter where you are in the country, you are probably very close to an exhilarating ride, so why not get out there and visit as many as possible. For me, to live any other way is nuts. Or you can ignore my advice and live the rest of your life like a schnook.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Of course, we should start with the biggie. Disney Resort is separated into two distinct areas. Tokyo Disneyland, the world’s third most visited theme park, is the place to head for the adrenaline junky, with the thrilling indoor Space Mountain and the Star Tours flight simulator. However, it’s also great for little kids due to Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek and Pooh’s Honey Hunt, both exclusive to Disneyland Tokyo. With these rides being so popular, getting the Fast Track tickets makes sense. I like going that way. It’s better than waiting in line.

The second area is Tokyo Disney Sea, which has much more of a grown-up vibe to it, and it is a popular spot for romantic dates. Couples clutch each other tightly as they await the drop in the Tower of Terror, enjoy the atmospheric and dramatic Journey to the Center of the Earth, or clap along with the Broadway-style Big Band Beat show. Oh, and for those who want to share a glass of wine or a beer, Disney Sea is the only area of the Resort in which you can do that.

Where: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba 279-0031 (map)

Universal Studios Japan

Based in Osaka, “USJ,” as it is known locally, was the first of the Universal Studios franchise to open in Asia. There are ten sections at this theme park, catering to all ages, but the most popular is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with its sensation of escaping into a land of magic and wonder. Also, excitingly, you can enjoy the food and drink of Hogsmeade Village, such as taking the Russian roulette of Bertie Bott’s Jelly Beans, but you better make that butterbeer to go, because there are loads more to see.

The new Nintendo World is ace. Until August 28, 2022, USJ celebrates Cool Japan with a swath of attractions, including the Attack on Titan XR Ride, Detective Conan’s World, and a Sailor Moon 4D experience. An extremely popular aspect of USJ is the ability to meet many characters from the Universal Studios world, with Elmo and the Minions perhaps the most popular.

Where: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031 (map)


Based in Nagoya, Legoland Japan is primarily tailored towards families with young children aged two through twelve. A large theme park with more than 40 fun attractions spread across a number of zones, Legoland brings a ‘Ping! Pow! Boom! Bing!’ of fun to the world of Danish bricks.

Have you ever wondered how LEGOs are made? What better way to see the famous building blocks being created than a factory tour and watch the magic occur before your eyes. In the Knights Kingdom area, you can pedal up into the sky with Merlin’s Flying Machines and get in a spin on Merlin’s Challenge carousel, while at Pirate Shores, you can ride a spinning pirate ship, climb about in Castaway Camp and fire water cannons as you make your way through pirate-infested waters.

Where: 2-2-1 Kinjo-futo, Minato-ku, Nagoya, Aichi-ken (map)

Nagashima Spaland

With approaching 6 million visitors a year, Nagashima Spa Land in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, is Japan’s third-biggest attraction and the 19th most attended attraction in the world. Second in size to only the huge Fuji-Q, there are around forty rides and rollercoasters to raise the heartbeats of even the most jaded of daredevils in the amusement park section. The daddy of them all is the Steel Dragon 2000 that held the world record for speed, height, and track length (the so-called ‘triple crown’).

2015 saw the arrival of the Acrobat, a lie-down ride that gives a ‘flying’ sensation, and at 1,021 meters is one of the largest roller coasters of this type in the world. Joyful Water Park is only open in the summertime, an open-air water park that is as chock-a-block with rides as its dry land neighbor, credited as being the densest, with more rides slides, flumes, and chutes per meter – in the world. Sometimes, particularly in the early season, you can find Chunichi Shinbun coupons for discounted tickets for the water park, so it can occasionally help if you get the papers.

Where: 333 Nagashimacho Urayasu, Kuwana, Mie 511-1192 (map)

Fuji-Q Highland

What could be better than hurtling through space on a rollercoaster with Mt Fuji rushing past you? Well, at Fuji-Q Highland is in the Fuji Five Lake region, you can find out. As well as the view, Fuji-Q is best known for its exciting, Guinness World Record-breaking roller coasters and unusual, anime-inspired rides and attractions.

Fuji-Q’s main attraction, Fujiyama, was both the world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster when it opened in 1996, and to this day, it is regularly ranked among the best in the world by coaster enthusiasts; it’s a ride so wild that if it were a person, it’d be the type that rooted for the bad guys in movies. If you are after a “4D” ride, the seats of Eejanaika rotate within the car and have the most inversions of any roller coaster, while Takabisha, another record-breaker, is the steepest roller coaster in the world, dropping at an angle of 121 degrees. Though it’s almost impossible not to scream at that speed, there could be flies in the air in summer, so always keep your mouth shut.

Where: 5 Chome-6-1 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0017 (map)

Image: By Kentaro Ohno via [CC BY 2.0]- Modified
Image: By Tzuhsun Hsu via [CC BY 2.0]- Modified
Image: By S.Brickman via [CC SA 2.0] – Modified
Image: By Tagosaku via [CC BY 2.0]- Modified
Image: By bisoy via [CC BY 2.0]- Modified
Image: By Jordon Cheung via [CC BY 2.0]- Modified

About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

Leave a Reply