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JAPAN HAS REOPENED! Here are 5 cool new attractions to explore.

5th October 2022


Welcome back to Japan!


The atmosphere changed when Japan announced it was reopening its borders to visa-free travellers in October. There was a collective breath of relief and exhilaration – we’ve been waiting years for this news.

Now, wide-eyed and hopeful travellers are finally getting the chance to visit this distinctively paradoxical country. From deeply traditional historical sites of Kyoto, to the hypermodern and futuristic metropolis of Tokyo, there’s something for every traveller.

And luckily for you, there are several new attractions to explore post-pandemic.

#1. Ghibli Park | Opens November 1, 2022

Ghibli Park Concept. Image by Studio Ghibli.


From playful My Neighbour Totoro, to heavily environmental Princess Mononoke, to Oscar Award-winning Spirited Away, every Ghibli film tugs on the heartstrings and inspires hope and wonder, joy and astonishment, and a deep empathy for the world and all beings within it.

As of November 1st 2022, you can step into the magical world of Studio Ghibli in a brand new way!

Welcome to the world’s first Ghibli Park.

Here, you can visit Satsuki and Mei’s house from Totoro, see the whimsical antique shop in Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns, as well as explore some of the scenery from Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle.

In 2023, there’s more to be revealed, with plans to open Mononoke Village: a recreation of Irontown with a life-size statue of Okkoto (the ancient Boar God), as well as Valley of Witches, where you can see and buy pastries from the bakery in Kiki’s Delivery Service and her gorgeous childhood home, as well as explore a 16 metre replica of the titular Howl’s Moving Castle.

Located in Aichi Prefecture, just outside of Nagoya.

Tickets are released on the 10th of every month, and you’ll need to prepurchase (there are no tickets at the door). To find out more, read our blog.

#2. Super Nintendo World | Reopened June 2021

Super Nintendo World. Image by Nintendo.


For the first time since its on-again, off-again, pandemic-postponed launch, Super Nintendo World will finally be able to open its doors to international visitors!

I don’t know about you, but especially for those of us who grew up with 2000s video games, it’s a huge deal.

I still have fond memories of playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64, and the emotional scars of being hunted down in the battle arena, absolutely terrified, with one lonely balloon keeping me afloat. I still have my (definitely legal, don’t worry about it) copy of Yoshi’s Island (you know, on one of those R4 microSD cards the techy kids at school would download multiple random games on) for my original ice-blue DS, as well my Super Mario Galaxy games for Wii.

Well, Super Nintendo World is like stepping into Super Paper Mario when you switch to 3D view for the first time. The whole park is immersive, with special interactive Power-Up Bands that let you collect coins, scores and stamps (which can be synced to your smartphone) – including punching the iconic question blocks! You have to collect three keys on your Power-Up Band to tackle Bowser’s Castle Challenge. You can also hop on a family-friendly Yoshi themed ride; meet and greet with Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi and Toad; or race around a Mario Kart circuit with AR headsets.

PS: don’t forget to check out the quirky snacks like Question Block tiramisu, Koopa Shell calzones, and Toad’s mushroom flavoured popcorn!

Universal Studios, Osaka.

Priced in Japanese Yen (JPY).

Super Nintendo World is part of Universal Studios, so to enter you’ll need a Studio Pass (¥8,200 for adults ¥5,400 for children aged 4-11 to enter Universal Studios (which is super worthwhile anyhow, being that Universal Studios has been voted the best theme park in Japan for four years in a row! In 2023 there will be also be a new Pokémon Parade).

On top of that, you can book in for free timed entry tickets via the app or at one of the designated machines in the park. If you want to beat the queues, you can get a Universal Express Pass Premium (from ¥18,700), Universal Express Pass 7 (from ¥10,800) or Universal Express Pass 4 (from ¥7,800).

Get tickets via the official Universal Studios website.

#3. Moominvalley Park | Opened March, 2019

Moominvalley Park. Image by Japan Travel.

Have you heard of Moomins? They’re a family of sweet, hippopotamus-looking white trolls with large snouts and human-like hands, created by Swedish-speaking, Finnish artist and author Tove Jansson. The Moomins love adventure, and they live in the idyllic Moominvalley in harmony with nature, as depicted by several novels, comics, picture books… as well as Japanese anime.

The Moomins are beloved in Japan (shoutout to my mum who also loves Moomin!) and since 2019 you can step into the delightful world of Moomins with the new Moominvalley Park!

Moominvalley Park isn’t for adrenaline junkies or the amusement parks you might be familiar with. It’s peaceful and wholesome, to bask in pleasantness and sweet contentment as the Moomins do. You can pay a visit to the bright blue three-story Moomin House, and explore a three-story exhibition at Kokemus with human-sized figures and dioramas. There are some shows to see at the outdoor theatre, or you can see the Ocean Orchestra – a theatrical and immersive experience. At Lonely Mountain, you can climb the large treehouse and fly on the Hobgoblin’s Zipline Adventure.

Moominvalley Park is part of Metsä, a Nordic-themed village just outside Tokyo in Saitama. Here, you can also find lots of Norden dining and shopping options.

Priced in Japanese Yen (JPY).
Admission is ¥7,800, and there are additional paid attractions inside the park, including entry fees to Moomin House and the zipline adventure. Also, don’t forget money for some adorable souvenirs!

Get tickets via the official Metsä website.

#4. The Making of Harry Potter - Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo | Opening in 2023!

Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour. Image by Warner Bros.


Toshimaen was a Tokyo amusement park which, sadly, closed its doors after 94 years in August 2020. However, reborn from its ashes like Fawkes the phoenix, arises Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter.

And if you also still dream of receiving an owl-delivered invitation to study the magical arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it’s a new fix of Harry Potter sorcery for you.

But… you might have a couple of questions.

Like“Is it different to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios?”

The short answer is yes.
And if you love Harry Potter, you should visit both.

“Well, what’s the difference?”

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of Universal Studios.
Here, you can explore Olivander’s wand shop (with interactive wands to bring the magic to life!), ride the Hippogriff rollercoaster, enjoy 4D experiences, and head to The Three Brooms restaurant for some Butterbeer. It’s a truly magical time, and if you go to see the new Super Nintendo World, you should definitely tack on a trip to Hogwarts on your Universal Studios journey.

The Studio Tour is a little different. It’s not going to be a theme park with rollercoasters and attractions like Universal Studios. Instead, it’s a walking tour through the sets and props that brought Harry Potter to life in film. You can tour Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, indulge in some behind-the-scenes experiences, see authentic display film sets and sound stages, costumes, props and potions. The tour is about the size of four Quidditch fields (30,000 square metres) and takes about half a day to explore. Set to open for Warner Bros’ 100th anniversary, you should also expect some celebrations! Rumour has it that the two nearby train stations will also undergo a transfiguration spell, with Toshimaen Station’s renovations planned to resemble Hogsmeade train station, and Ikeburuko Station to be inspired by Kings Cross train station in London, so you might even depart from Platform 9 and ¾ by Spring 2023!

Near Toshimaen Station in Nerima, Tokyo.

Priced in Japanese Yen (JPY).
The ticket prices are yet to be announced, but if it’s anything like London’s Studio Tour, it will most likely be priced around ¥8,140.

#5. New Disney Expansions | Opening in 2023!

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Photo by Tokyo Disney Resort.

Disneyland? Very cool. DisneySea? Even cooler. In 2020 it got cooler still with new attractions that had been launched for the Olympics. And now, it’s about to get even more frosty and fantastical with a myriad of new attractions to explore with the expansion of Fantasyland (including Elsa’s Ice Palace)!

New to Tokyo Disney you can see this year…

There’s the new Toy Story Hotel (technically not inside the parks but part of Tokyo Disney Resort) which will shrink you down to a toy’s size for your night’s accommodation.

For everyone who loves Beauty and the Beast, you can now visit Belle’s Village, which houses a trio of shops including La Belle Librairie, as well as la Taverne de Gaston. You can also venture into Beast’s Castle to experience the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast – the flagship attraction of the expansion.

For Big Hero 6 lovers, there’s a new ride – Happy Ride with Baymax. And for classic Micky and Minnie Mouse fans, you’ll be pleased to know Minnie now has her own fashion studio to see.

Finally, opening on November 11th is the new half-hour night-time spectacular! Make sure to catch Believe! Sea of Dreams next time you visit Tokyo DisneySea.

What’s to come in 2023…

Disney’s 40th Anniversary begins! The major attraction will be the Dream-Go-Round Celebration, which will run from April 15, 2023 until March 31, 2024.

Then of course, the long-awaited Fantasy Springs.

Fantasy Springs will be the world’s biggest Disney construction project. It will feature Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan attractions with four new rides, brand new restaurants and a bunch of new shops too. Tokyo Disney Fantasy Springs is set to open in the second half of 2023.

Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are located in Chiba, Tokyo.

Priced in Japanese Yen (JPY).
Since the pandemic, you have to purchase tickets online, choosing your date in advance, as there’s an upper visitor admission limit. If you stay in the official Disney hotels, you can grab tickets for any day during your stay regardless of the daily admission limit. The cost changes depending on weekends, national holidays, and vacation periods.

A 1-Day Passport costs between ¥7,900 - ¥9,400. Purchase via the official Disney Resort website.

To visit any of these attractions, you’ll of course need some Japanese Yen (JPY).


Japan is primarily a cash country, so you’ll want to take cash for all your day-to-day transactions (food, market stalls, public transport, temple and shrine offerings etc).

For bigger purchases and hotel reservations, pay with your Travel Money Oz Currency Pass

There are also heaps of ATMs found in Japanese convenience stores (affectionately known as コンビニ konbini), but be savvy about fees.

For more info on planning travel money for your Japanese holiday, see our Japan Destination Currency Guide and How Much Money Do I Need To Travel Japan blog.

For more inspo for your Japanese holiday, read our Japan: Broke vs Baller blog, Japan: Your Guide to Japanese Festivals blog, Japan: 8 Best Things to Do on a Budget blog, and Japan: Everything you need to know about the new Studio Ghibli Park blog.




Ghibli Park


Nintendo World


Moominvalley Park

Harry Potter


DisneyLand and DisneySea