Universal Japan Theme Park

Universal Studios Japan Timing $350 Million Nintendo Attraction To Open With 2020 Olympics

As reported last year, an epic Nintendo land is coming to Universal Studios Japan, and the first details about how large the attraction area will be, how much it will cost, and when it should be completed have now been made public. Kotaku reports that 40 billion yen ($351 million USD) is being invested in this project, a deal similar to the investment Universal Studios made in the Harry Potter franchise. Nintendo is the world’s largest video game company by revenue, and is known for creating some of the most iconic video game franchises, including Mario, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda.

“Universal theme parks offer incredibly popular, innovative, themed family entertainment experiences based on compelling stories and characters—using powerful storytelling and innovative technology,” the companies said in a joint statement last year. “Nintendo has created remarkable and imaginative worlds filled with captivating stories and beloved characters. Now, for the first time, those stories and characters will be brought to life in entirely new ways—only at Universal theme parks.”

Universal Studios Japan has marked a large section of the park to house the Mario and co. themed area. Currently, the area is being used as an event space, located near the left side of the main entrance.

The attractions at Universal Japan are arranged in ten areas of the park, with the latest being “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” It opened in 2014 with its flagship attraction, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” The area was modeled after the same thrilling ride adventure at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood, which gives riders the feeling that they are flying with Harry as they avoid dragons and spiders. There are also unique attractions in Japan that are not in the U.S., such as “Black Lake” and “Hogwarts Express Photo Op.”

A bunch of ride testers for the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” have reported how the ride cast a retching spell on them. The new attraction doesn’t open until April 7, and engineers are trying to solve why the 3D ride is making people vomit. LA Times reports that the “ride consists of “magic benches,” which “lift and sway, synchronized to the high-definition 3D images that are projected on wrap-around screens.”

“It moves people around in a way unlike any other ride in Orlando,” said Seth Kubersky, author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. The original ride at Universal Orlando also has a reputation for inducing motion sickness, and has reported 10 cases of motion sickness suffered on the “Forbidden Journey.”

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter park at Universal Hollywood includes other attractions, such as a rollercoaster called the “Flight of the Hippogriff,” “The Hogwarts Castle,” “The Hogsmeade Village” and the “Three Broomsticks Pub.”

What can enthusiasts expect from Nintendo land in Japan?

“The immersive experiences will include major attractions at Universal’s theme parks and will feature Nintendo’s most famous characters and games,” an official release stated last year. It added that Universal theme parks will create “spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.”

Universal Studios Japan aims to have the Nintendo section completed by 2020, when the Olympics will be held in Tokyo. The hope is that visitors will also want to visit the theme park in Osaka.

[Image courtesy Junko Kimura/Getty Images for Nintendo/Kotaku]