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Top 10 new attractions in Japan
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Top 10 new attractions in Japan

Since you’ve been away, Japan has been busy creating a host of amazing new attractions just in time for the country reopening to tourists. Let’s take a look.

Table of contents:

Japan newest attractions
Ten New Attractions To Enjoy Now Japan Has Reopened
Travel tips for Japan 

Japan newest attractions

What’s new in Japan? While the world has been away, Japan has been very busy. Last month, the country officially reopened its doors to international travellers, and those lucky enough to be visiting now and in the future are in for a treat. Japan already had an amazing amount to offer as a destination, and it now has even more mind-bendingly brilliant attractions. In this special guide, we’ll take a look at ten of the best new attractions to have opened in Japan ahead of the country reopening to tourists (as well as one or two attractions that are coming in the future). As always, we’ll also have travel tips for making the most of Japan’s domestic rail network - the best and most affordable way to travel across this beautiful and unique country, especially with the JR Pass. Ready to start planning a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Japan’s biggest and best new attractions? Let’s get started. 

Ten New Attractions To Enjoy Now Japan Has Reopened

Although Japan was temporarily closed to international visitors, the country has been hard at work behind the scenes creating a number of incredible new attractions for residents and visitors alike. Japan already boasts some of the world’s leading attractions, from serene temples, beautiful pagodas, and historic castles, to dazzling theme parks, futuristic computer arcades, museums, art galleries, aquariums, and more. And that’s not to mention the amazing food - arguably the best in the world - and the stunning, diverse, magical landscape. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our top ten new attractions for 2022/23 and beyond. 

1. Ghibli Park

Japanese animators, Studio Ghibli, have become one of the country’s most famous and most loved exports over the last 30-something years. Opening in November 2022, Ghibli Park is set to become one of Japan’s most exciting and in-demand visitor attractions. At the same time, Ghibli Park is far from a traditional theme park. There are no roller-coasters or traditional funfair rides. Located in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, Ghibli Park is much more of an experience - a unique, interactive, magical experience and adventure - like stepping into your favourite animated films. 

From visiting the life-size home of Satsuki and Mei from My Neighbour Totoro to sitting in a real-life and very soft-looking cat bus, to eating food inspired by scenes from the films, such as dining in the yatai from Spirited Away, or sitting on the train next to the iconic No Face from the same film, the list of incredible experiences goes on and on. Ghibli Park is the world (or worlds to be exact) of these magical animated films brought to life, as only Studio Ghibli could, for you to explore and enjoy. Overall, the new park will feature five areas spread over an impressive 7.1 hectares, each inspired by and bringing to life one of Studio Ghibli’s films. These areas are: The Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Mononoke’s Village, Valley of Witches and Dondoko Forest.

You can read our comprehensive overview of the new Ghibli Park in our recent guide, Ghibli Park: The Ultimate Guide. For more on Studio Ghibli, read our articles about the Ghibli Museum, and the various beautiful locations across Japan which were the real-life inspiration for several of their most successful films, from Tomonoura - Japan’s real-life ‘Ponyo’ town to Yakushima: the Real-Life Forest from Princess Mononoke..

2. The World’s Biggest Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant

Japan is world-famous for its food and arguably its most famous food of all is sushi. If you love food, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Japan - it’s a literal paradise for food lovers - and Japan has a tendency to go BIG on things it loves. It should come as no surprise then that the world’s newest and biggest sushi conveyor belt restaurant has recently opened in Japan. Located in front of Oshiage Station, Tokyo, Kura Sushi’s biggest restaurant can seat up to 277 people around its epic conveyor belt! 

For more on sushi specifically read our guide to Japan for Sushi Lovers, while for more on Japan’s love of food and most famous dishes, be sure to read our Beginners Guide to Japanese Food and Regional Favourites, for a great starting point. 

3. Atoa Aquarium

Japan - quite famously - has some of the world’s biggest and best aquariums (such as Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan for example). Read our full, comprehensive guide, Splash! Japan’s Best Aquariums, to find out more. And the newest on the list might just be one of the most unique and most interesting. Atoa Aquarium is an interactive museum, art exhibition, and aquarium, all in one. Located in Kobe, Japan, and is a 15-minute walk from Hanshin Motomachi Station. 

4. Super Nintendo World

Located within Universal Studios Theme Park in Osaka, Super Nintendo World opened in 2021 and is a theme park dedicated to one of Japan’s most popular and famous exports - Nintendo. In particular, the park is modelled after Super Mario - arguably Nintendo’s most famous character alongside Link from the Legend of Zelda series. Super Nintendo World’s Mario-related attractions include real-life sized Mario Kart in the Mushroom Kingdom, Yoshi’s Adventure, Koopa’s Challenge and much more. Japan’s Super Nintendo World is still brand new, with more rides and attractions coming soon. Now that Japan has reopened to visitors, it will be the first chance for international gamers to enjoy the world’s first Nintendo theme park. It’s a dream come true for gaming fans and a truly unique experience that will no doubt attract millions of visitors. Read our guide to Universal Studios Japan for more. 

5. Shinhotaka Ropeway

A spectacular ropeway climbing 1,000 metres up the Hotaka Mountain range in the Northern Japanese Alps, with a viewing platform more than 2,000 metres above sea level, Shinhotaka Ropeway reopened in October and is surely one of the most breath-taking attractions on this list. Another stunning new attraction in Japan that is similar to the above, albeit in a more urban setting, is Yokohama Air Cabin - the country’s first city-based circular ropeway, which opened in 2021. 

6. Travel on the new Nishi-Kyushu Line

Japan’s trains are world famous for being fast, clean, safe, and extremely efficient. They’re also on the cutting edge of new technology and often leading the way in design and speed. There are also new trains and new routes opening up all the time such as the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen (or "West Kyushu Shinkansen")

Starting September 23, 2022, JR Kyushu started operating Japan’s latest state-of-the-art bullet train. Directly connecting Nagasaki city to Fukuoka (Hakata station) and reducing travel time by 30 minutes. A new high speed bullet train, called the "Kagome", was especially developed for the new service. Meaning seagull, written in Hiragana as [かもめ], Kagome is a cutting edge new train. JR Kyushu has a long history of calling its faster train services by this name, with the name dating back as early as 1937. There’s good news for international travellers with a Japan Rail Pass too. The entire Nagasaki Shinkansen will be included without any additional cost or limitations. 

7. New Retail Outlets in Trendy Shimokitazawa

Voted one of the world’s Top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in 2022, fashionable Shimokitazawa has long been a hidden gem where more and more of Japan’s cool younger crowd gravitate. In 2021 and 2022, the area became even more of a go-to destination thanks to the addition of a five-storey restaurant and shopping complex, Mikan Shimokita, located under the elevated tracks of Shimokitazawa Station. Home to 19 new shops and restaurants as well as co-working space, Mikan Shimokita’s many restaurants include Shimokita Rokkaku, which offers traditional izakaya dishes served with sake (Japanese rice wine). Shimokita Rokkaku izakaya is run by the owners of the successful Comura bar in Sangenjaya, another popular destination. You’ll find Shimokitazawa on the Odakyu Line and Keio-Inokashira Line. Shimokitazawa Station is just seven minutes from Shinjuku Station - the world’s biggest and busiest train station - via the Odakyu line. From Tokyo station, first take the JR Chuo Line Rapid before getting on the Odakyu line to Shinjuku. Top tip: you’ll want to invest in a prepaid travel card such as an ICOCA, PASMO or Suica card for Tokyo’s public transport, as well as a JRailPass for getting around the rest of Japan. Check out our Top 30 Tips for Using Japan’s Metros for advice and guidance on using the city’s subway network. 

Shimokitazawa is not the only area to have undergone major changes of course. Another district that has seen significant investment and new developments is the always popular Shibuya. New additions include Stream - a new skyscraper featuring shops, art, and a hotel, The Scramble Square, and Miyashita Park, which had a major renovation in 2020.

Futuristic and dazzling, Shibuya is a city within a city. A special ward in Tokyo and a major commercial and business centre, Shibuya is known as one of the contemporary fashion centres of Japan, as well as for its booming nightlife. Shibuya is home to world famous landmarks, such as the Shibuya Scramble crossing (the busiest in the world), Shibuya Station, and one of the city’s new icons - Shibuya Sky, a 229 metre tall and full 360 degree observatory overlooking Shibuya and the greater Tokyo skyline, which offers some of the most spectacular views in Japan. Shibuya is also a fantastic district generally for shopping, dining, local attractions, futuristic architecture, and more. Read our Ultimate Guide to Shibuya, Tokyo, for everything you need to know about this bustling city ward. 

8. Japan’s Largest eSports Park at Red Tokyo Tower

A country famous for its computer games is always at the cutting edge of gaming. A new attraction at Tokyo Tower is Japan’s largest eSports park featuring a plethora of hi-tech VR and interactive sports computer games for visitors to enjoy. There are more than 30 different games to play over three floors within one of Tokyo’s most iconic landmarks.

If Japan’s Otaku (geek) culture fascinates you or you have a passion for the computer games of Sony, Nintendo and Sega, you might also be interested in reading our guide to Japan for Gamers and Fans of Otaku J-Culture. And when it comes to shopping for retro games (as well as Manga and Anime) look no further than Tokyo’s famous Nakano Broadway shopping complex. 

9. Stay at the Toy Story Hotel and visit new Tokyo Disneyland attractions

Woody the cowboy, Buzz Lightyear, and their colourful friends are ready to welcome you to Japan’s new Toy Story Hotel. Inspired by the Disney Pixar films, this new hotel gives you the chance to stay in rooms inspired by the films, in particular Andy’s cowboy-themed bedroom and his favourite restaurant, Pizza Planet.

Alongside this colourful new Disney hotel, Japan is no stranger to unusual accommodation. From capsule hotels to the former Nintendo headquarters, to Hello Kitty themed rooms, bookshop hotels, train hostels, and much more, Japan arguably has the most diverse and unique accommodation in the world. Read our guide to Unusual Accommodation: The Most Interesting Places to Stay in Japan for much more. 

As well as the Toy Story hotel, Japan’s Disney attractions also have several new offerings for 2022/23 and beyond, including a brand new Beauty and the Beast set, Baymax, and Tomorrowland areas. For everything you need to know about visiting, read our guide to Tokyo Disneyland Resort

10. Warner Bros Studio: Harry Potter Tour Japan - coming in 2023

Naturally, there’s more to come in 2023 and beyond too. Next year will see the opening of a Warner Bros Studios and Harry Potter World in Japan to add to the country’s growing list of mega attractions, which can rival anywhere in the world. The interactive studio tour and theme park will be located in Toshimaen, Tokyo, and will be modelled on the original in the UK and will give visitors to Japan the chance to experience the magic of the books and films.

Travel tips for Japan

Japan has reopened. Find out everything you need to know in our in-depth guide to Japan Reopening for Tourists.

If it’s your first time visiting Japan in 2023-4, you might benefit from an expert helping hand on arrival. Our dedicated Meet & Greet Service is like having a personal assistant for your holiday. It’s ideal for first-time visitors, families, and business travellers. Find out more about this service in our new Japan Rail Pass Exchange Service guide updated for 2022/3. 

Find out where to buy the japan rail pass online.

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