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Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan Logo (2017).png
USJ 5years.JPG
Universal Studios Japan entrance
LocationKonohana-ku, Osaka, Japan
Coordinates34°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
StatusOperating
Opened31 March 2001; 21 years ago (2001-03-31)
OwnerUSJ LLC
(Universal Parks & Resorts)
(wholly owned by NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast)[1]
Operated byUSJ LLC
Universal Parks & Resorts
ThemeShow business and Universal entertainment
Attendance14.9 million (2017)[2]
Area54 ha (108 acres)
Attractions
Roller coasters5
Websitewww.usj.co.jp/e/

Universal Studios Japan (ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン, Yunibāsaru Sutajio Japan) is a theme park located in Osaka, Japan. Opened on March 31, 2001, it is one of six Universal Studios theme parks worldwide and was the first to open outside the United States. The park is owned and operated by USJ LLC[3], a wholly owned subsidiary of NBCUniversal.[4] The park is similar in layout to Universal Studios Florida and contains selected attractions from both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, in addition to a small number of unique attractions.

Over 11 million guests visited the park in its opening year, making it the fastest theme park to reach the 10 million guest milestone at the time. As of 2019, USJ is the fifth-most visited theme park in the world and the third-most visited in Japan behind Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.[5]

Licensed properties included at Universal Studios Japan

Like other Universal parks, Universal Studios Japan does not limit itself to attractions based on Universal's owned-library. It has licensed other franchises from different studios for some attractions. Some examples include:

Lands and attractions

The park covers 54 hectares (130 acres).[6]

The attractions are spread across nine different areas of the park.[7] A tenth area, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened on 15 July 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.[8] There are also attractions that are not in the United States and are unique to Universal Studios Japan, such as Black Lake and Hogwarts Express Photo Op. An eleventh area, Super Nintendo World, opened on 18 March 2021.[9]

Hollywood

Themed to Hollywood.

Cinema 4-D Theater
Cinema 4-D Theater
The former E.T. Adventure
The former E.T. Adventure
Name Opened Description
Cinema 4-D Theater 2003 a 4D theater attraction that currently shows Shrek's 4-D Adventure (opening until 1:00pm) or Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic (1:00pm until close).
Illumination Theater 2019 A stage theater that shows live performances based on properties from Illumination. The theater currently shows Sing on Tour.
Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll Show 2001 A live musical revue stage show based on the Universal Monsters.
Playing with Curious George 2018 A show attraction based on Curious George.
Hollywood Dream – The Ride 2007 A steel Roller Coaster that features a sound system that allows the riders to choose what ride music they wish to listen to.
Space Fantasy – The Ride 2010 An indoor spinning roller coaster with a space theme, containing many special effects.

New York City

Based on the city of New York City, New York.

Name Opened Description
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: The Ride 2004 A 3D dark ride based on Marvel's Spider-Man.
T2-3D: Battle Across Time 2001 A 3D/live-action show based on Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

San Francisco

Based on the city of San Francisco, California.

Name Opened Description
Backdraft 2001 A special effects attraction based on the Universal film of the same name.

Minion Park

An area inspired by Despicable Me. It opened in March 2017.

Name Opened Description
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 2017 A computer-animated simulator ride featuring the characters from Despicable Me movie franchise.
Freeze Ray Sliders 2018 A flat ride featuring spinning cars, centering on the Minions cooling off the Minion Park Fountain with Gru's freeze ray.

Jurassic Park

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

Name Opened Description
Jurassic Park: The Ride 2001 A water-based amusement ride based on Steven Spielberg's 1993 film Jurassic Park and Michael Crichton's novel of the same name.
The Flying Dinosaur 2018 A Steel Flying roller coaster.

Amity Village

Inspired by Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

Name Opened Description
Jaws 2001 A boat ride.

Universal Wonderland

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

Snoopy Studio

Based on the Peanuts comic strip. Snoopy Studios was originally its own standalone area, opening with the park in March 2001 before becoming part of Universal Wonderland.

Name Opened Description
The Flying Snoopy 2012 An aerial carousel ride with Snoopy-themed cars.
Snoopy's Sound Stage Adventure 2001 An indoor playground attraction themed to a film set.

Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue

Themed to Sanrio's Hello Kitty franchise.

Name Opened Description
Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream 2012 a Balloon Race ride with cars themed to different cupcakes.
Hello Kitty's Ribbon Collection 2012 A themed indoor attraction.

Sesame Street Fun Zone

Based on the children's television series Sesame Street. it is split into three areas - "Sesame Street Plaza", "Sesame Central Park" and "Elmo's Imagination Playland".

Name Opened Description
Abby's Magical Party 2012 An indoor play area.
Abby's Magical Tree 2012 An indoor treehouse.
Bert and Ernie's Wonder: The Sea 2012 An indoor ball pit based on a bathtub.
Big Bird's Big Top Circus 2012 A Carousel ride with Sesame Street themed animals and characters. Formerly the "Magical Oz Go-Round", it was the only attraction from the "Land of Oz" area to be repurposed for Universal Wonderland.
Big Bird's Big Nest 2012 A large climbing rope attraction.
Cookie Monster Slide 2012 A slide with Cookie Monster's tongue as the slide.
Elmo's Bubble Bubble 2012 A small Log Flume-like ride for children.
Elmo's Go Go Skateboard 2015 A Rockin' Tug ride.
Elmo's Little Drive 2012 A Driving School attraction with Elmo-themed cars, aimed for young children.
Ernie's Rubber Duckie Race 2012 Guests can race Rubber Duckies (like Ernie's) down a small river of water. Originally known as "Central Park Duckie Race".
Grover's Construction Company 2012 An indoor play area.
Moppy's Balloon Trip 2015 A high tower ride that affords a view of the area.
Moppy's Lucky Dance Party 2012 Live interactive show.
Sesame's Big Drive 2012 A driving school attraction.
Water Garden 2012 A water fountain play area. Originally known as "Central Park Springs".

WaterWorld

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

Name Opened Description
Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular 2001 (original Version)
2018 (current version)
A live water stunt show showcasing many special effects.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Main article: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Japan)

Based on the Wizarding World.

Name Opened Description
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 2014 A motion-based dark ride that takes guests through scenes inspired by the based on the Harry Potter books and films.
Flight of the Hippogriff 2014 A junior roller coaster based on the creature featured in the books.

Super Nintendo World

Main article: Super Nintendo World

Based on Nintendo, mainly on Super Mario.

Name Opened Description
Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge 2021 A augmented reality-type dark ride attraction based on the Mario Kart series.
Yoshi's Adventure 2021 An omnimover attraction where guests board a Yoshi and ride around Super Nintendo World.

Former attractions

Name Opened Closed Description
Back to the Future - The Ride 2001 2016 A simulator ride based on the franchise of the same name. It closed to make way for Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.
Abby's Magical Garden 2012 2014 Outdoor play area. It was removed to make way for Moppy's Balloon Trip.
Animation Celebration 2001 2017 A show attraction.[10] It was closed to make way for another show - Playing with Curious George.
Big Bird's Climbing Nest 2012 2014 Outdoor Jungle Gym. It was removed to make way for Elmo's Go Go Skateboard.
E.T. Adventure 2001 2009 An indoor dark ride attraction based on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It closed to make way for Space Fantasy – The Ride.
Monster Make-Up 2001 Unknown Live show attraction.
Linus' Green Department 2001 2001 Maze attraction. Removed to expand Peppermint Patty's Stunt Slide.
Motion Picture Magic 2001 2002 A live show attraction. It was hosted by director Steven Spielberg, and was originally designed by experience designer Bob Rogers and the design team BRC Imagination Arts,[11] 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.[12] After closure, the building was turned into the 4D Theater, and plays Shrek 4-D and Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic.
Peppermint Patty's Stunt Slide 2001 2013 A water slide complex located within the Snoopy Studios area. It originally was a two-slide complex before expanding to four slides in 2002. It was closed in 2013 and demolished to make way for attractions in "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter".[13]
Pig-Pen's Prop Plaza 2001 2011 A sub-section of the Snoopy Playland area. Removed to make way for new attractions in the Universal Wonderland expansion.
Snoopy's Great Race 2001 2020 An indoor Roller Coaster. It did not reopen after the initial COVID-19 closure in February 2020, and was removed from the park's website in March 2021.

Western

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.

Name Opened Closed Description
The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show 2001 2006 A stunt show based upon a wide variety of Universal's Western films. Located in the Western Town section of the park, the show featured several cowboy-themed actors surviving death-defying stunts, shootings and explosions.[14][15] The show closed in 2006 and has since been replaced by Wicked.

Land of Oz

The Western Area was replaced for 2006 with an area based on L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz book series.

The land closed in February 2011 to make way for Universal Wonderland.

Name Opened Closed Description
Wicked 2006 2011 An abbreviated one-act version of the musical, presented in Japanese. It closed in January 2011, a month prior to the land's closure.
Toto & Friends 2006 2011 An animal trick show, featuring dogs, birds and other trained animals.
Magical Oz-Go-Round 2006 2011 A Oz-themed Carousel. This ride was retained during the Universal Wonderland transformation and was rethemed as Big Bird's Big Top Circus.

Awards

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.[16]

Attendance

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Worldwide rank
8,000,000 [23] 8,160,000 [24] 8,500,000 [25] 9,700,000 [26] 10,100,000 [27] 11,800,000 [28] 13,900,000 [29] 14,500,000 [30] 14,935,000 [31] 14,300,000 [32] 14,500,000 [33] 5[33]

Official hotels

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

There are five official hotels at or near the park:

Incidents

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. Adventure attraction as an employee pulled it down to secure it.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Comcast to Buy Rest of Universal Studios Japan for $2.3 Billion". Bloomberg.com. 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2006 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  3. ^ 合同会社ユー・エス・ジェイ, Gōdō gaisha Yū Esu Jei, formerly the USJ Co., Ltd. until 2018
  4. ^ "Comcast Purchases Universal Studios Japan as Wholly Owned Subsidiary". March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  5. ^ https://aecom.com/wp-content/uploads/documents/reports/AECOM-Theme-Index-2020.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ Saeki, Shizuka (January 2002). "Osaka Feels the "Power of Hollywood"". Look Japan. Archived from the original on 2002-02-10. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  7. ^ "Universal Studios Japan Attraction/Studio Guide". usj.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2006-11-18. Retrieved 2006-11-19.
  8. ^ Fritz, Ben (9 May 2012). "Harry Potter heads to Universal Studios Japan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  9. ^ Steen, Emma. "Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Japan today". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  10. ^ "Animation Celebration". www.imdb.com.
  11. ^ "Universal Studios Japan - Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-24.
  12. ^ "Universal Studios Japan: Universal Studios Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-24.
  13. ^ "Snoopy Studio". Universal Studios Japan. Archived from the original on April 22, 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  14. ^ Strother, Susan G. (12 July 1991). "Universal Kicks Off Western Show". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  15. ^ "USJ theme park has continued to misuse explosives". Japan Weekly Monitor. 19 August 2002. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  16. ^ "Quick Hits". Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  17. ^ "SCREAMSCAPE Presents - The 2001 Ultimate Awards". 2002-09-18. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  18. ^ "The Theme Park Insider Awards". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  19. ^ a b "Thea Recipients". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  20. ^ "14th Annual THEA Awards". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  21. ^ "IAAPA 2009 BIG E AWARDS". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  24. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2010 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  25. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  26. ^ "2012 Theme Index-Global Attractions Attendance Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 8, 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  27. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  28. ^ "GLOBAL ATTRACTIONS ATTENDANCE REPORT" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  29. ^ "2015 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM.
  30. ^ "2016 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM.
  31. ^ "2017 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-02.
  32. ^ "2018 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-05-23.
  33. ^ a b "2019 AECOM and TEA Theme and Museum Index Report" (PDF). AECOM. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-07-17.
  34. ^ "USJ settles with woman hurt on E.T. attraction". The Daily Yomiuri. 2000-11-24. Retrieved 2006-12-15.[dead link]