Whoever died of fear of the creatures of ” Spirited Away ” and cried with the simplicity of ” My Friend Totoro ” can already start thinking about visiting Japan. Aimed at fans of its animations, Studio Ghibli opened on the 1st of the last day the Ghibli Park, in Nagakute, near the city of Nagoya.
There are the cat that transforms into a bus (koneko basu), the “faceless” train, and several other references to the cinematographic work of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata – a plate full for aficionados.
Japan is a country that constantly plans and opens parks, including theme parks. There are options for fans of Naruto, Hello Kitty and Mario Bros, for example. You can organize an entire trip with visits to the most famous.
“For some parks it is necessary to buy tickets in advance, as is the case with Universal Studios Japan, where the Super Nintendo World is located. Some parks hold special events, so it is advisable to check the schedule on the websites before buying the ticket”, says Michiaki. Yamada, executive director of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in New York.
Currently, to enter the country it is necessary to apply for a visa at the Japanese consulate from three months before the trip and to present a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 with three doses accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization), or a certificate of negative result for test taken 72 hours before departure.
The Japanese continue to wear masks and like it when tourists do too. In addition to this recommendation, it is also interesting to follow what the local weather reports say —between northern Japan (Hokkaido) and southern Japan (Okinawa) there can be a considerable change in temperature at the same time of year.
“The climate varies between regions of the country, on the same day it can be very cold in one place and in another, milder”, teaches Yamada.
The proposal of the new park is to recreate the scenarios and ambiance of the films produced by the award-winning film studio in a gigantic area, five times larger than Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, in the midst of preserved nature.
Among the areas already opened (a few others will open next year) is Dondoko Forest, which built in real life Satsuki and Mei’s house from “My Friend Totoro”. Tickets are on sale online only for people in Japan, or directly at the box office on a first-come, first-served basis. You must reserve admission to attractions.
Aichi, Nagakute, Ibaragabasama, 1533-1, Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park (Moricoro Park), Japan. Mon., Wed., Thu. and Fri., from 10 am to 5 pm. Sat., Sun. and holidays, from 9 am to 5 pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Tickets for attractions start at 1,000 yen (about R$35).
Opened in 2001, Tokyo Disneyland is Disney’s first park outside the United States, and the world’s second most-visited theme park — its neighbor DisneySea follows closely behind, at fourth in the rankings. Both are located at the Tokyo Disney Resort, a complex that can be called “Disney for adults” given the large number of attractions (and the sale of alcoholic beverages) aimed at this audience.
Throughout the year, fans of the Walt Disney universe fulfill the dream of meeting characters, experiencing adventures like in movies and animations, attending shows and participating in seasonal events such as Halloween and Christmas. As of April 2023, the park’s 40th anniversary celebrations will begin.
1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba 279-0031, Japan. Mon. to Sun, from 9 am to 9 pm (hours may change without notice). Tickets start at 8,400 yen (about R$300).
The Japanese have a term for everything cute and cuddly — it’s “kawaii”, something like “cute” in English. The Sanrio Puroland, by the Sanrio company, is the kawaii world headquarters, where the idea is to involve the tourist in an atmosphere of extreme cuteness with attractions, toys and parades of the Hello Kitty character and all her friends, such as Cinnamoroll, Pompompurin and Monkichi. The Gudetama lazy egg is a guaranteed hit with children.
Be prepared to spend a lot at souvenir shops that sell everything from stationery to plush toys.
1 Chome-31 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 206-8588, Japan. from mon Sun., from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (check the calendar in advance, there are days when the park is closed). Tickets start at 2,200 yen (about R$80).
Here, visitors travel back in time to receive training and become a samurai or a ninja. The Edo Era was a period in Japan’s history between the years 1603 and 1868 – in it, the country overcame centuries of wars and internal conflicts to achieve peace and make room for the arts. The park is the recreation of a typical village of that time: there are characters walking around, traditional delicacies served in the restaurants and presentations.
In ninja training, you learn running techniques, how to go unnoticed, and throw shuriken, traditional pointed weapons. Aspiring samurai learn discipline, swordsmanship and takedown techniques.
470-2 Karakura, Nikko, Tochigi 321-2524, Japan. from mon the gift (except Wed, when the park closes), from 9 am to 4 pm (in summer the park is open until 5 pm). Tickets start at 2,600 yen (about R$90).
Opened in 2017, Legoland is family-friendly, but particularly popular with younger children. 17 million Lego blocks were used to build the park, in addition to 10,000 different Lego models.
In the seven areas, guests enjoy 40 attractions such as The Dragon roller coaster at Knights’ Kingdom or the off-road vehicles and laser weapons at Lost Kingdom Adventure. It is possible to rent strollers and facilitate the ride with the little ones.
2-2-1 Kinjoufutou, Minato-ku Nagoya-shi, Aichi 455-8605, Japan. from mon to Fri., from 10 am to 4 pm. Sat., Sun. and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets from 3,400 (about R$120).
Universal Studios Japan
There are several themed areas, including one on the Super Nintendo. In Minion Park, Minom Mayhem has a huge screen and hyper-realistic projection system in front of which the visitor travels and spins around in his vehicle.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in turn, reproduces many of the stories from the books, and even offers a tempting area with souvenir shops. Finish the day flying in the clutches of an out-of-control pteranodon in the Jurassic Park area.
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan. Mon. to Fri., from 10 am to 7 pm. Sat. and Sun., from 9 am to 9 pm. Tickets start at 5,400 yen (about R$190).
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
In addition to being one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world, it is the most successful aquarium among visitors to Japan. It has 26,000 living creatures from 740 different species. The aquarium was rebuilt in 2002 and received 20 million visitors in 2010. The main tank, called the Kuroshio Sea, is so large that it accommodates a 12-meter-long whale shark, as well as manta rays and several species of rare fish.
In the Deep Sea Experience Room, it is possible to see bioluminescent creatures that live more than 200 meters deep, in tanks that recreate the pressure, light and temperature of the water necessary to survive.
424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan. from mon Sun., from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (the aquarium closes at 8 pm in high season). Tickets start at 1,510 yen (about R$55). Children up to 6 years old do not pay.
Amusement park located near Mount Fuji, which can be seen from some attractions. It is known for its radical-looking roller coasters – there are Fujiyama, the highest in the area with a drop of 79 meters, and Dododonpa, the fastest in Japan. There are also attractions for anime and manga fans.
5 Chome-6-1 Shinnishihara, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi 403-0017, Japan. from mon to Sun, from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets start at 2,200 yen (about R$78).
Nijigen no Mori
Park for manga and anime lovers, especially the “Naruto” series. In 2020, a “life-size” Godzilla, 23 meters tall, was unveiled. Another good attraction is Dragon Quest Island, an outdoor RPG in which the visitor is the protagonist of a story that mixes real and digital elements.
2425-2 Kusumoto, Awaji, Hyogo 656-2301, Japan. from mon to Fri, from 12:00 to 21:00. Sat. and Sun., from 10 am to 9 pm. Tickets for attractions start at R$3,470 (about R$120).
It’s in the Guinness book: the largest number of jellyfish on display is in the Kamo Aquarium. There are more than 60 varieties of the animal. You can also visit crabs, octopus, sharks and sea lions.
Okubo-657-1 Imaizumi, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-1206, Japan. from mon to Sun, from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets start at 500 yen (about R$18).
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