Super Nintendo World 2021 Guide & Tips

Super Nintendo World is the world’s first Nintendo-themed land and it’s inside Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Japan. Officially opening on March 18, 2021, this brand-new land is a Nintendo fans dream come true.

With two attractions, a restaurant, snack stand, character greetings, shops, and tons of interactive elements, this area packs a lot into a seemingly small space.

In our guide to Super Nintendo World, we’ll explain how to get into the land, what to expect for the rides, how the Power-Up Bands work, what food to eat, and practical tips to help you make the most out of your day. Everything you read here is based on our first-hand experience in the area!

Note: The borders to Japan are closed to tourists as of this writing. This means unless you live in Japan you are unable to travel to the country. Please read this post for more details.

Table of Contents

How to get into Super Nintendo World

Super Nintendo World Entrance - 10
Entrance to Super Nintendo World

Since Super Nintendo World is expected to be immensely popular, it’s necessary to get a free timed-entry ticket or paid Express Pass to enter the land. With an Express Pass, you’re guaranteed entry into the land, and the wait time at the attractions is significantly reduced!

You’ll need a day ticket (or annual pass) to get into Universal Studios Japan in addition to a timed-entry ticket for Super Nintendo World.

Note: Tickets and Express Pass are only available online through the official website in Japanese. We hope once the borders are re-opened to Japan, that this changes and makes it easier to buy tickets. You can buy tickets at the gates on the day of your visit or from your hotel.

Timed-Entry Tickets into Super Nintendo World

Screenshot from the official Universal Studios Japan App

In order to enter Super Nintendo World without paying for an Express Pass, you’ll need a free entry ticket. There are two types of tickets- Area Timed Entry and Standby Entry. Let’s take a quick look at them.

A signboard located near the entrance of Super Nintendo World has up-to-date information on which tickets are available. It’s likely that the tickets will be booked fairly quickly, so you should plan on visiting the park as early as possible.

Area Timed Entry Ticket

There are two ways to get a ticket when you visit the park: on the Universal Studios Japan app or at a ticket machine located in Central Park (near the JAWS attraction).

When applying for the ticket, you must specify the desired entry time. Please note that you can only apply for an Area Timed Entry Ticket once a day.

When applying for the ticket for entry with a group, you must scan every member’s park ticket. If you win an Area Timed Entry Ticket, you can enter the Super Nintendo World within the specified time on the ticket. However, once you leave the area, you aren’t permitted re-entry.

Area Standby Entry Ticket

If you don’t win an Area Timed Entry ticket, or if the tickets are fully booked, you can enter a separate lottery for an Area Standby Entry Ticket. If someone cancels their Area Timed Entry Ticket, you’ll have a chance to fill their spot with an Area Standby Entry Ticket.

You can apply for this ticket on the Universal Studios Japan app or at the ticket machines at Central Park (near the JAWS attraction). Similar to the Area Timed Entry Ticket, you’ll need to scan every group member’s park ticket, and you have to choose the desired entry time. You can only apply for this ticket once a day.

Lottery results are announced an hour before your desired entry time. Depending on the crowds, you may be able to enter the area without a timed ticket. That’ll depend on the day of your visit.

Read more about the Timed Entry Ticket on the official Universal Studios Japan website.

Super Nintendo World + Express Pass

Peach's Castle
In the evening, she’s even more beautiful

The easiest way to get into Super Nintendo World is by purchasing one of ten Express Passes available for the land. With an Express Pass, you are guaranteed entry into Super Nintendo World on the day of your visit.

And depending on which Pass you get, you can significantly reduce the waiting time on Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and/or Yoshi’s Adventure!

These are the starting prices of the different types of Express Passes (note these also include other attractions):

  • Mario Kart or Yoshi’s Adventure: Express Pass 4 for ¥7,800 (about US$71)
  • Both Mario Kart & Yoshi’s Adventure: Express Pass 7 for ¥10,800 (about US$99)
  • All Attractions: Express Pass Premium for ¥18,700 (about US$171)

Read more about Express Pass on the official Universal Studios Japan website.

Super Nintendo World Itinerary

Beanpole Mountain

Here’s a simplified version of our plan of attack for when you get into Super Nintendo World. There’s so much to do here, that it may be tough to do it on in a single visit. This also assumes you aren’t doing the Express Pass for the attractions.

  • Buy your Power-Up Bands and link to the Universal Studios Japan app
  • Use the single rider line for Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
  • Grab a meal at Kinopio’s Cafe
  • Meet Princess Peach, Mario & Luigi, and/or Toad
  • Collect three keys from mini-games to do the Bowser Jr. Challenge
  • Ride Yoshi’s Adventure
  • Play with all the interactive coin blocks and mini-games throughout the area (blocks, music blocks, binoculars, etc)
  • Snack from Yoshi’s Snack Island or the Popcorn Stop
  • Shop for merchandise

Once you’re inside the land, expect to spend at least 4-5 hours here (depending on crowds). I’d recommend at least two full days at Universal Studios Japan to experience the park to its fullest.

Super Nintendo World Rides

Without a doubt, you’re wanting to experience some rides while you’re in Super Nintendo World. Inside there are two rides to choose from: Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and Yoshi’s Adventure. Here’s what you need to know and how to ride them!

Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge

The flagship attraction is Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, which you’ll find in the back of Super Nintendo World inside Koopa’s Castle. Bowser is known as Koopa in Japan, hence the name.

The best way to describe Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge is that it’s an AR (augmented reality) dark-ride video game. This attraction mixes classic dark-ride elements (animatronics and moving along a track, to name a few things) with AR through goggles attached to a headset to superimpose characters and other video game elements within your view. Then with the added video gaming aspect of collecting coins, throwing shells at enemies, and trying to get the highest score.

For more on Mario Kart: Koopa’s challenge see our extensive review with tons more photos.

This is a ride that’s suitable for families with children. While it’s not the ride that everyone was expecting (it doesn’t move as fast as you’d want it to), it still hits the essence of Mario Kart and you’ll still leave with a smile on your face. At least, I did.

Pro tip: At the entrance to Mario Kart is a seat to try to make sure you’re able to fit securely into the ride vehicle. If you’re concerned about height or body-shape, then give this a try before getting into the inevitably long queue.

Yoshi’s Adventure

Yoshi's Adventure

Yoshi’s Adventure is a family-friendly omnimover attraction where you hop on the back of a Yoshi and take a colourful tour of Super Nintendo World. Throughout you’ll meet familiar characters like Baby Peach, Mario, and even Captain Toad!

This is one of the best spots in the area to get high-up photos and videos from. So it’s worth riding. The queue itself is full of familiar music and aesthetics from the Yoshi games throughout the years.

With your Power-Up Band hit the coloured eggs on your lap bar when they light up. These coloured eggs correspond with the same coloured eggs during your ride. If you have your Power-Up Band linked with your Universal Studios Japan app, you’ll collect different stamps!

We were able to collect all the stamps in one single ride through, unlike Mario Kart where you’ll need multiple ride throughs.

Bowser Jr. Challenge

Entrance to the Bowser Jr. Challenge
Entrance to the Bowser Jr. Challenge

Bowser Jr. Challenge is an attraction that requires you to collect 3 different keys with your Power-Up Band by playing 3 of the 5 mini-games. While the games aren’t tough, you do have to queue for them and those lines could get rather lengthy.

Once you collect 3 coins (they’re kept track in the Universal Studios Japan app), you’re able to go into the Bowser Jr. Challenge.

Character Greetings

Aside from the rides, one of my favourite things about Super Nintendo World is meeting characters from my childhood: Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach. Yes, you’re able to meet all of them and have your photo taken!

Make sure you have your Power-Up Band setup (see our guide below) before you get your photos. There are stamps to collect when you visit each of these characters! The team member scans your band and you’ll collect it in the Universal Studios Japan App.

Princess Peach

Princess Peach Character Greeting

Once you’ve made your journey through the green pipe and the iconic Princess Peach Castle, you’ll see Princess Peach herself under a gazebo waiting for you.

Princess Peach even speaks in English! While it’s only set phrases, it’s still a surprise and puts a huge smile on your face.

Mario & Luigi

Mario and Luigi Character Greeting

Down on the first floor in the middle of Super Nintendo World at the two Mario Bros. Themselves: Mario & Luigi. You’ll meet these two icons together each time and just like Princess Peach, they speak in English too!

Don’t forget to hit the coin blocks when you’re done, these blocks are part of stamp to collect where you have to hit all the blocks in the land.


Toad Character Greeting

My personal favourite character, the one and only, Toad. He’s so adorable that I want to take him home. He’s on the first floor where Mario & Luigi are found. He moves around a bit, so keep an eye out for him.

The photographers can take your photo with their professional cameras and you’re able to buy the photo afterward. It also comes with a digital download version that’s both a photo and a video.

See more photos of all the character greetings!

Super Nintendo World Food

Super Nintendo World outdid themselves with the sheer amount of food that’s available. From a full restaurant to snack stand to popcorn. There’s no shortage of food to choose from.

Kinopio’s Cafe

Super Nintendo World Kinopios Cafe
Kinopio’s Cafe

The main restaurant is Kinopio’s Cafe inside the gigantic mushroom on the first floor. You can’t miss it. Toad is known as “Kinopio,” hence the name of the restaurant. If you’ve played Super Mario World 3D, then you’ll recognize the theming instantly.

You dine inside Toad’s House, which is straight out of the game, and even when you head inside you’re given a virtual gift by tapping your Power-Up Band! Choose between the tiny or large gift to see what you get.

The menu inside Kinopio’s Cafe is massive for a single restaurant ranging from themed burgers, pasta, salads, pizza, and even Peach’s Cake.

While the prices are a bit on the steep side, the portions are quite large and you’d be able to share dishes if you don’t want to blow your budget.

Must-try Dishes at Kinopio’s Cafe

Princess Peach’s Cake

Not sure what to get? Here’s a quick list of what you should try:

  • Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Yoshi’s Spinach Carbonara
  • Fire Flower Spaghetti
  • Pizza Bowl
  • Piranha Plant Capreses
  • Peach’s Cake
  • Goal Pole Cake
  • ? Block Tiramisu

For more photos, we have a full guide to all the food at Super Nintendo World. Also, watch our video above showcasing some of the delicious food you can try.

Yoshi’s Snack Island

Yoshi's Snack Island
Yoshi’s Snack Stand in the back of the area

In the back of Super Nintendo World, near the suspicious looking Donkey Kong-esque circular door, is Yoshi’s Snack Island. Here you’re able to get a Green Shell Calzone filled with yaki soba noodles (fried noodles) with cheese or a small variety of drinks.

Popcorn Stand & Buckets

Mario Kart Popcorn Bucket

If you’re a bit peckish and want a quick snack, the popcorn stand in front of Mario Kart is where you’re able to find two popcorn flavours and two Nintendo-themed popcorn buckets.

The two popcorn flavours are Caramel Peach and Cream Mushroom. There’s a lot of mushroom flavored food items here isn’t there? My favourite is the Caramel Peach, which oddly works.

Then there’s the two popcorn buckets: Super Star and Mario Kart. You can’t go wrong with either of these and both popcorn buckets light up! My top choice is the Super Star bucket because it has two light-up modes and is much easier to carry!

Are there vegetarian or vegan options at Super Nintendo World?

There were no food items advertised as vegetarian inside Super Nintendo World. However, there were a few items that don’t contain any meat. We’re unable to guarantee that these are 100% vegetarian, so please double-check during your visit.

  • Piranha Plant Caprese
  • Yoshi’s Favorite Fruit & Veggie Salad
  • Mushroom Soup

We weren’t able to find if any items were vegan-friendly inside Super Nintendo World. If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!

For more on the food at Super Nintendo World see our food guide.

Super Nintendo World Merchandise

A visit to a theme park isn’t complete without a vast selection of merchandise for you to max your credit card out on (don’t actually do that but you get the point). Super Nintendo World merchandise is in abundance and you won’t have trouble finding something you’ll love.

1UP Factory

1UP Factory

The 1UP Factory is the main shop in Super Nintendo World. There’s so much merchandise, you’ll spend at least 30 to 45 minutes browsing. Inside there is everything from Super Nintendo World branded items to character accessories so you’re able to dress like one of your favourite characters.

To see what’s available check out our massive blog post with photos or watch our 45-minute merchandise video below.

Mario Motors

Mario Motors Store

Mario Motors is the gift shop that’s attached to Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. Naturally, you’ll exit through the gift shop. Here’s where all the exclusive Mario Kart merchandise is found and you won’t find these items anywhere else so buy it while you can.

Outside Super Nintendo World

See the 8-Bit merchandise that’s available outside of Super Nintendo World

Never fear, if you didn’t get a timed entry into Super Nintendo World or forgot to buy something, there are a few other stores you’re able to find items!

Over near the entrance to Universal Studios Japan are two stores: Universal Studios Store and the other in California Confectionery. These stores offer a selection of items found inside Super Nintendo World, but not all, and exclusive 8-Bit merchandise which is only found inside Universal Studios Store. There’s also a store attached to the Mario Cafe with exclusive “Who’s Cap” merchandise. Confused yet?

See what items are available by checking out our blog post.

That’s not all for things to buy from Super Nintendo World! The one item that’s a must is the Power-Up Band, which we’ll dive into next.

Power-Up Bands

Watch the video above to us using the Power-Up Bands!

Power-Up Bands are slap-on bracelets that interact with a variety of elements within Super Nintendo World. However, these aren’t free and come at a cost of ¥3,200 or USD$30 each. While not everyone in your group needs to have one, if you want to make the most out of Super Nintendo World, then this is a must.

Without a Power-Up Band, you’re only getting half the experience in my opinion. Once you buy the Power-Up Band, you link it up to your Universal Studios Japan app and it’ll automatically begin tracking your progress within Super Nintendo World.

There are different characters to choose from for your Power-Up Band: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, and Toad!

These Power-Up Bands add a real-life video game element to Super Nintendo World. This adds a level of interactivity that feeds into the kinetic energy you feel throughout the area already. I love it, so much.

Ok, enough gushing, here’s a list of what’s kept track of with the Power-Up Band:

  • Coins you collect from coins blocks and mini games
  • Stamps (aka achievements) from completing various tasks and events
  • Your rankings on the online leaderboards for Mario Kart, Bowser Jr, Team Ranking, and Daily Rankings

The Power-Up Bands do not hold any payment or ticket information. Think of it as an accessory to a real-life video game!

Power-Up Band Tips

Power-Up Band Super Nintendo World

Here are a few practical tips for the Power-Up Bands:

  • Punch the underside of the blocks with your fist and not your band (it’s soft so you don’t hurt yourself and it’s sanitized frequently with hand sanitizers nearby too).
  • These double as Amiibo for various Nintendo Switch games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World.
  • Other elements that aren’t blocks (like the “M” on walls) you tap your band to interact with it (don’t punch it cause it’s solid and it’ll hurt, trust me cause I’ve done this by mistake).

Super Nintendo World Tips

Here’s how to make the best out of your time inside Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan!

  • To guarantee you’ll experience Super Nintendo World, buy an ExpressPass that includes a timed entry.
  • Use the Single Rider line for Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge.
  • Download the Universal Studios Japan app ahead of time. This way, you’re not frantically downloading it when you’re trying to do your Area Entry Ticket or setup your Power-Up Band.
  • Buy your Power-Up Band along the walkway when you’re walking into the land or inside the land itself (avoid the one by the pipe entrance).
  • Setup your Power-Up Band before going in so you can begin collecting coins straight away.

More on Super Nintendo World

There are tons more on Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan. Here’s a list of all our other content for you to enjoy and plan your trip!

Do you have questions about Super Nintendo World?

There’s a lot to know about this one area at Universal Studios Japan. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments! We’ll continue to update this guide with the best and most up-to-date information.

Guide created with the help of Explorer Parker.

More on Universal Studios Japan

Book Your Flight

I personally use Google Flights & Momodo to find affordable flights. Another great way is to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to get notifications of cheap fares, which happens a lot to Japan. You’ll sometimes stumble on cheap flights to Kansai International Airport.

Buy Your Shinkansen Tickets (Bullet Train)

Getting around Japan by the world-renown bullet train, known as the Shinkansen, is incredibly fast, reliable, and affordable for visitors. You can travel from Tokyo to Osaka in just over 2-hours. Get yourself the JR Rail Pass to save a ton of money on the bullet train for your trip.

Book Your Hotel

Universal Studios Japan has affordable accommodations that are steps away from the Park with easy access to Osaka. I recommend checking prices through followed by the hotels directly. Sometimes you’re able to score some incredible deals. Here’s a shortlist of hotels at Universal Studios Japan I recommend.

  • The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan – You’re directly in front of the Park gates and have instant access to Universal CityWalk Osaka. The rooms are gorgeous and have restaurants and even a Lawson (Japanese convenience store).
  • The Singulari HOTEL & SKYSPA – Attached to the train station is this simple hotel fantastic for those who want a comfortable, clean, and stylish place to sleep. After a long day at Universal Studios Japan, the rooftop sento (public bath) is great to unwind and relax.
  • Hotel Universal Port – For the Minion fan in your family (I’m looking at you Mom and your Minion memes you share on Facebook) this is a great hotel only a 5-minute walk from Universal Studios Japan. It also boasts the largest breakfast buffet in Japan that’s a must during your visit.

Buy Your Tickets & Express Pass

Save yourself time and stress by buying your tickets and Express Pass for Universal Studios Japan in advance. The less time you spend in line buying tickets the more time you have to enjoy everything in the Park!

Stay Connected

Universal Studios Japan only offers free wi-fi at the entrance to the Park. That’s not enough to stay connected and share your day with everyone back home to give them FOMO on Instagram. Here’s how you can stay connected while travelling in Japan.

  • Pocket Wi-Fi – If you’re travelling with a group or have multiple devices this is your best and affordable way to stay connected to the internet. Pick up and drop off at the airport. Easy.
  • Japan SIM Card – If you have an unlocked phone and need a Japanese phone number this is the best and easiest way.

Get Yourself Travel Insurance

While travelling aboard having travel insurance protects you against injury, cancellations, illness, and other things you’re never able to predict. Whenever I travel, I always budget for travel insurance to protect myself. I’ve had to use it in the past and I’m so glad I had it. My recommended company is World Nomads for travel insurance.

Learn More on Universal Studios Japan

Don’t forget to study our in-depth destination guide on Universal Studios Japan for even more information on this wonderful park in Osaka.

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Add yours
  1. Tonny

    Thank you for this explanation? We have bought tickets for USJ next week, I’m sure it will be busy. Do I understand it correctly that even if you arrive at the park early, it might not be possible to visit Super Ninendo World, because it is based on a lottery?

  2. Cheyenne

    Thank you for this! I’ve never been to Universal. Do we need to purchase entry tickets to Universal as well? Or can you access Super Mario World without doing the rest of Universal?

  3. Alex

    Are there any lockers that you know of within the Nintendo area or would you need to exit the area to access lockers? I plan on buying quite a lot when I visit and having access to storage would be handy.

    Does the express pass give you the option of re-entering after leaving or is it just a one and done kind of deal?

  4. Justin

    This is a great blog! Nice work! We have timed entry into Super Nintendo World next week. But we realized it said entry at 16:10 after we purchased it. Does that mean we just spent a lot of money and only get 2hrs and 50mins inside SNW? “Timed Entry” means you enter at the specified time, but can loiter inside as long as you want after that? Or “Timed Entry” means if you enter at 11am you have to leave by a certain time like 2pm? I’m wondering, does everyone only get about 3 hours in SNW, or did I screw up big time by choosing 16:10 accidentally?

  5. TDR Explorer

    You’re gonna have a lot of fun! Once you’re inside at your time, you can stay as long as you like. So, you’ll be able to be in the area from 16:10 until closing which isn’t a lot of time.

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