Park reveals project is bigger than Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gives tentative opening date.
When news first came that Universal Studios Japan (commonly called USJ by locals) and Nintendo were partnering to bring the beloved video game company’s characters to the Osaka theme park, many weren’t sure how high they should het their hopes up. Nintendo has never had a major amusement park presence, and many of USJ’s Japanese pop culture-based projects tend to be limited-time or small-scale endeavors.
But then came word that USJ was ready to make a sizeable investment as part of the team-up. Earlier reports said the theme park would be spending 40 billion yen (US$388 million) on its Nintendo attractions, but now the theme park is saying it will pouring 50 billion yen (US$485 million) into the venture.
To give a sense of just how far that much money could go, USJ’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter area, which has been blowing visitors’ socks off (ours included) since it was added to the park in 2014, was only a 40 billion-yen project. Considering that outlay was enough to build a gigantic castle and adjoining village, it seems a safe bet that with an extra 10 billion yen to spend, USJ’s Nintendo area will be no less impressive in terms of polish and size.
USJ executives say the Nintendo area will be home to multiple attractions, dining options, and souvenir shops. The park is aiming to have the new section open by 2020, in order to capitalize on the expected influx of foreign visitors to Japan as it hosts the summer Olympics for that year. It sounds like the making of a dream come true for Nintendo fans, and we can’t wait for USJ to make more details available (including what kind of Pokémon Pokémon GO players can catch there).
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering if parkgoers will have to fight someone every time they cross a walkway in the Nintendo area, Urban Champion-style.