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. In 2005 Goldman Sachs became the largest shareholder in Universal Studios Japan. The park opened on March 31, 2001. Visitors to the park the opening year reached 11 million guests, becoming the world’s fastest amusement park to achieve 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 of 2011 to celebrate their tenth anniversary, resulting in the growth of attendance to 88 million. Annual passport holders marked 700,000 in June 2012, and fiscal year 2012 almost reached the 10 million mark achieving 9.75 million guests. For fiscal year 2013, Universal Studios Japan achieved the milestone of 10 million guests for the second time since the opening year on March 19, marking 10.5 million guests. Various factors contributed to this growth in 2013, including the opening of the thrilling, 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 the new 4KHD technology, and they proved to be popular amongst 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 “Bio Hazard - 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, providing attractions based on entertainment worldwide and not only Hollywood movies. On April 18, 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy were at the park to announce the opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” scheduled for July 15, 2014, an attraction based on the blockbuster movie series “Harry Potter.”
With a total investment of 45 billion yen, this big project is estimated to have an economic riffle effect of 5 trillion 60 million yen over the next 10 years in Japan nationwide, and anticipates many visitors from both Japan and overseas.
Universal Studios Japan greeted its 100 millionth visitor on Monday, October 29, 2012, since its opening in 2001.
According to 2013 Theme Index Global Attraction Attendance Report, Universal Studios Japan is ranked ninth among the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide, attracting 10.1 million visitors in 2013, which is 4.1% larger 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 last 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.
- Snoopy's Great Race
- The Flying Snoopy
- Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream
- Hello Kitty's Ribbon Collection
- Elmo's Bubble Bubble
- Abby's Magical Party
- Moppy's Lucky Dance Party
- Big Bird's Big Nest
- Grover's Construction Company
- Bert and Ernie's Wonder-The Sea
- Sesame's Big Drive
- Big Bird's Climbing Nest
- Abby's Magical Tree
- Abby's Magical Garden
- Water Garden
- Cookie Monster Slide
- Ernie's Rubber Duckie Race
- Elmo's Little Drive
- Big Bird's Big Top Circus
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- 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.
- The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was a live stunt show based upon a wide variety of Universal's Western films. Opening on 31 March 2001, in the Western Town section of the park, the show featured several cowboy-themed actors surviving death-defying stunts, shootings and explosions. The show closed in 2006 and has since been replaced by Wicked.
- Motion Picture Magic - When the park first opened in 2001, the attraction 'Motion Picture Magic,' hosted by noted director, Steven Spielberg, occupied the building that currently houses the attraction Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic. The attraction, designed originally by award winning experience designer Bob Rogers (designer) and the design team BRC Imagination Arts, 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.
- E.T. Adventure has been replaced by Space Fantasy: The Ride.
- Monster Make-Up has been closed.
Land of Oz (closed in 2011)
- Wicked - This was an abbreviated one-act version of the Musical, presented in Japanese.
- Toto & Friends - This was an animal trick show, featuring dogs, birds and other trained animals.
- Magical Oz-Go-Round
- Animation Celebration
- 2002 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Attraction,
- Peter Pan's Neverland
- 2007 THEA Award (presented by TEA) WINNER in Event Spectacular,
- The Gift of Angels
- 2009 Big E Award, Best Overall Production, (presented by IIAPA) WINNER in Best Overall Production more than $2 million,
- Magical Starlight Parade
- 2009 Big E Award, Best Overall Production, (presented by IIAPA) Honorary Mention in Best Overall Production more than $2 million,
|| Worldwide rank
There are five official hotels at or near the park.
- Hotel Keihan Universal City.
- Hotel Kintetsu Universal City.
- Hotel Keihan Universal Tower.
- Hotel Universal Port.
- Hotel Seagull Tempozan Osaka. (10 minute boat ride away at Osaka Bay.)
Universal CityWalk Osaka
Universal CityWalk Osaka links Universal City Station with the park entrance. It is a 3 floors shopping mall filled with numerous shops and restaurants, 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.
- ^ a b "Universal Studios Japan: Universal Studios Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts.
- ^ a b "Universal Studios Japan to Open Wizarding World of Harry Potter in July". Variety Media. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
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- ^ "Universal Studios Japan Attraction/Studio Guide". usj.co.jp. Retrieved 2006-11-19.
- ^ Fritz, Ben (9 May 2012). "Harry Potter heads to Universal Studios Japan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- ^ "Animation Celebration" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts.
- ^ Strother, Susan G. (12 July 1991). "Universal Kicks Off Western Show". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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- ^ "Universal Studios Japan - Motion Picture Magic" (PDF). BRC Imagination Arts.
- ^ "SCREAMSCAPE Presents - The 2001 Ultimate Awards". 2002-09-18. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ "The Theme Park Insider Awards". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ a b "Thea Recipients". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ "14th Annual THEA Awards". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ "IAAPA 2009 BIG E AWARDS". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ "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. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- ^ "TEA/AECOM 2010 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- ^ "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- ^ (PDF) http://www.aecom.com/deployedfiles/Internet/Capabilities/Economics/_documents/2012%20Theme%20Index%20Combined_1-1_online.pdf. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Universal Studios Japan Official hotels". Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- ^ "Universal CityWalk Osaka". Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- ^ "Quick Hits". Retrieved 2012-06-11.
- ^ "USJ settles with woman hurt on E.T. attraction". The Daily Yomiuri. 2000-11-24. Retrieved 2006-12-15.