Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan (ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン, Yunibāsaru Sutajio Japan), located in Osaka, is one of four Universal Studios theme parks, owned and operated by USJ Co., Ltd. with a license from NBCUniversal. The park is similar to the Universal Orlando Resort since it also contains selected attractions from Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. Most visitors are Japanese tourists and tourists from other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. It is also very popular among Western tourists and expatriates. In 2005, Goldman Sachs became the largest shareholder in Universal Studios Japan. The park opened on March 31, 2001. Over 11 million guests visited the park in its opening year, making it the world's fastest amusement park to have achieved the 10 million milestone at the time. Since then, Universal Studios Japan has had approximately 8 million visitors every year.
Various events were held in the year 2011 to celebrate the park's tenth anniversary, by which time a total of 88 million guests had cumulatively attended the park. There were 700,000 annual passport holders in June 2012, and in the 2012 fiscal year, 9.75 million guests visited the park. During the 2013 fiscal year, Universal Studios Japan received 10.5 million guests. Various factors contributed to this growth in 2013, including the opening of the backwards roller coaster "Hollywood Dream – The Ride: Backdrop" in March, and the "New Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3D" in July, which installed new 4KHD technology, which proved to be popular among the younger generation. The family area "Universal Wonderland" which opened in March 2012 also attracted many families.
Recent installments include limited-time attractions such as "Biohazard - The Real" and "Monster Hunter - The Real", both based on popular video game franchises, and "One Piece Premier Show", which is based on the popular anime series, providing attractions based on entertainment worldwide. On July 15, 2014, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a themed area based on the blockbuster Harry Potter film series, opened to the public. The popular ride The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was revamped to play in 3D only 10 months after its opening as the first ride of its kind in the world. With a total investment of 45 billion yen, the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the park is projected to have an economic ripple effect of 5 trillion 60 million yen over the next 10 years in Japan, and anticipates many visitors from both Japan and overseas.
On Monday, October 29, 2012, Universal Studios Japan greeted its 100 millionth visitor since its opening in 2001. According to the 2014 Theme Index Global Attraction Attendance Report, Universal Studios Japan is ranked fifth among the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide, attracting 11.8 million visitors in 2014, 16.8% more than in the previous year.
The attractions are arranged in nine areas of the park. A tenth area, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened on July 15, 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. There are also attractions that are not in the U.S. and are unique to Universal Studios Japan, such as Black Lake and Hogwarts Express Photo Op.
Themed after New York City.
Themed to Hollywood.
Based on the city of San Francisco.
Inspired by Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film franchise of the same name.
Universal Wonderland is a section aimed at children and families. Opened in March 2012, it contains three themed zones including Snoopy Studios, Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue, and Sesame Street Fun Zone.
Based on the Peanuts comic strip.
Themed to Sanrio's Hello Kitty franchise.
Based on children's television series Sesame Street.
A lake that surrounds the park.
A lake that surrounds the park.
Based on Universal's 1995 film of the same name.
Inspired by the Jaws trilogy.
Based on J.K. Rowling's original Harry Potter books and as well as Warner Bros.' hit film franchise.
Universal Parks & Resorts announced a partnership with Nintendo in May 2015 to build new Nintendo-themed attractions. In March 2016, Universal Studios Japan and Nintendo announced that a new Nintendo-themed area is coming to the park in 2020, in time for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. ¥40,000,000,000 is being invested for the project (funded by Universal), and the area will feature many attractions themed on Mario, as well as other Nintendo characters. An eastern area of the park currently used for events was confirmed as being the new development's location.
A former section at Universal Studios Japan, which was based on L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz book series. It was later replaced by Universal Wonderland section.
There are five official hotels at or near the park.
Universal CityWalk Osaka links Universal City Station with the park entrance. It is a 3 floors shopping mall filled with numerous shops and restaurants and a 10-Screen Movie Theater Cinema Complex, including a takoyaki museum.
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.
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. attraction as an employee pulled it down to secure it.