When it comes to mega theme parks, it does not get any bigger or more popular than Tokyo’s Disneyland. Originally opened in 1983, this was the first Disneyland built outside the US. It is such a raging success that it is one of Disney’s most popular parks in the world, in fact in 2017, a whopping 16.6 million people visited. The layout was modelled after its Californian contemporary and features seven sections known as lands, all based around a different theme. The park sits in Chiba, just outside of Tokyo, making it an easy day trip destination.
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan or USJ is one of four Universal Studios theme parks in the world. Opened in 2001, the park is situated in the waterfront of Osaka City, the second largest city in Japan. The park has numbers of attractions themed by famous movies such as Harry Potter, Minions, Jaws, Spider-Man, Jurassic Park and more as well as dynamic live performance shows.
The park invited approx 8 million visitors every year, making it the fourth most visited theme parks in the world. The character goods sold at the park’s official stores are extremely popular among visitors.
Nagashima Spa Land
Do not let the name fool you, this park just outside of Nagoya, in Mie Prefecture, boasts a number of roller coasters, water park, an outlet mall, hotels, hot springs and even a flower park.
The park’s most well-known roller coasters Arashi, Acrobat, and Steel Dragon 2000 are enough to make it worth a visit for any enthusiast. Once the adrenaline wears off, heading to the gorgeous natural hot springs to help take the edge off. Then, spend your hard-earned money at the Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima.
Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura
For those who like a little history lesson with their fun, consider making the trip to Nikko for a day at Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura. Built to look like an Edo-era (17th-century Japanese) city, a visit to this park is probably the closest you will ever get to time travel. Populated by townspeople dressed in authentic Edo-style clothing, the town-theme park hybrid is also home to one of Japan’s most enigmatic figures, the ninja.
Here, you can witness live ninja performances, get a photo up close with a fully decked-out ninja and even get lost inside a ninja maze. Although it may be a little more low-key compared to some of the other blockbuster attractions on this list, it definitely has its own unique charm.
For adrenaline junkies and roller coaster enthusiasts, Fuji-Q Highland in Yamanashi Prefecture belongs on your itinerary. This park opened back in 1968 near Mount Fuji and is home to world record-holding roller coasters.
While the park is not as well themed as Tokyo Disney Resort or Universal Studios Japan, it is the roller coasters and famous haunted house that make it worthy of your time.
Yokohama Cosmo World
For something a little tamer, Cosmo World is the quaint retro-style theme park located on the picturesque harbor of Minato Mirai in Yokohama. The park’s centre-piece is the iconic 112.5 meter-high (370 ft) ferris wheel, which from the top offers arguably the best views in all of Yokohama. Unlike the other parks on the list, this one does not require an entry fee, the park charges per ride.