Is Universal Studios Express Pass Worth it For Nintendo World?

Universal Studios Japan Entrance
Universal Studios Japan Entrance
© Ana Costa

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan is an absolute must-visit for any Nintendo fan. This one-of-a-kind theme park brings the world of Mario and other beloved Nintendo characters to life through immersive environments, interactive attractions, and an impressive selection of themed merchandise. You won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else! Nevertheless, Super Nintendo World can also be a very crowded place, particularly during peak seasons. If you want to avoid long lines and make the most of your visit, it is recommended to purchase an Express Pass. But do you really need an Express Pass to visit Nintendo World in Japan?

The Universal Studios Japan Express Pass is worth it for those willing to spend more time enjoying the rides and attractions and less time waiting in line. However, people can skip the Express Pass and save money if they get to the park at least one hour before the official opening time.

In the next paragraphs, I will show you what Super Nintendo World is and what you need to do to enter. We will also see the different costs and the best tips to enjoy your day at Universal Studios Japan. After reading this article, you will be ready to make the most of your visit to Super Nintendo World.

Is Super Nintendo World The Same as Universal Studios Japan?

Super Nintendo World Area
Super Nintendo World
© Ana Costa

Super Nintendo World is not the same as Universal Studios Japan. It is a fairly large themed area within the park, dedicated to the world of Nintendo where you can have a highly immersive experience.

Universal Studios Japan is a theme park located in Osaka, which has a variety of themed areas, like Super Nintendo World, but also Jurassic Park, Hollywood, or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The park is huge and has a lot to see, so it is impossible to see everything in one day.

Still, the Jurassic Park and the Harry Potter areas were amazing, even if we didn’t experience the rides (they were a little too extreme for our 6-year-old boy). We also experienced a few kids’ rides at the end of the day that didn’t have huge lines.

To be honest, we couldn’t see all the areas because we wanted to enjoy Super Nintendo World to the fullest.

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Once you get to Super Nintendo World, you feel like you have become Mario, and you’re now exploring the world you saw in the video game when you were a little girl or boy. Everything is so “Mario” everywhere and the decoration sets are awesome. You can interact with your environment and play several mini-games (but a Power-Up Band is needed to have the full experience).

If you get a Power-Up Band, like we did, you can spend a great amount of time in Super Nintendo World. We spend most of our day at Universal Studios only in the Super Nintendo Area. Mainly, because it was so beautiful, and you really get caught in this immersive experience, but also because we went with our 6-year-old boy who was super excited to be in Mario’s world.

The Super Nintendo World was our main reason for visiting Universal Studios Japan, so staying there most of the time was perfect for us.

Also, there will be a new area inside Super Nintendo World that will open in 2024: The Donkey Kong Country! We didn’t see this area because we went in 2023, but I believe it will be stunning, just like Super Nintendo World. Check out the video below from Universal Studios Japan to get a glimpse of what to expect.

Universal Studios Japan Official Video

To sum up, the main differences between Universal Studios Japan and Super Nintendo World are listed in the table below.

FeatureUniversal Studios JapanSuper Nintendo World
ThemeVariety of themes, including Hollywood, Jurassic Park,
and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
InteractivityLess interactive than Super Nintendo WorldHighly interactive
MerchandisingMerchandising based on various franchisesMerchandising based on Nintendo
characters and games

If you want even more information about Super Nintendo World and Universal Studios Japan, please check the official website.

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How Do You Get Into Super Nintendo World in Japan?

Super Nintendo World Entrance
Super Nintendo World Entrance
© Ana Costa

To enter Super Nintendo World in Japan, you’ll need either an Advance Booking Area Timed Entry Ticket or an Area Timed Entry Ticket/Standby Entry Ticket. You can secure these tickets ahead of your park visit or on the day of your arrival using our official app or at a ticket kiosk within the park.

If you want to secure your entry ahead of time, you will need to purchase a Universal Express Pass that comes with an Area Timed Entry Ticket: Advance Booking. This is the only way to guarantee you get to see Super Nintendo World, no matter how many visitors will be in the park that day.

Using a Universal Express Pass is the most convenient way to enter Super Nintendo World, as it allows you to skip the regular lines, but it is also the most expensive.

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Please note that even if you get a Universal Express Pass, you still have to buy a Studio Pass, which is the park entry ticket.

Other than the Advance Booking Area Timed Entry Ticket, you can also use an Area Timed Entry Ticket to access Super Nintendo World. This type of ticket can only be obtained on the day of the visit after entering Universal Studios Japan. To obtain this ticket, it is better to have the USJ app on your phone (download the app in advance to save time). Otherwise, you can search for a ticket kiosk in the park, but it will be faster if you use the app on your phone.

If you are on a budget, you can obtain an Area Timed Entry Ticket to enter Super Nintendo World for a specific time slot. These tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, be careful because the Area Timed Entry Tickets might no longer be available if you enter the park late in the morning or the afternoon. They may end early depending on the number of visitors that day.

If you didn’t get an Advance Booking Area Timed Entry Ticket or an Area Timed Entry Ticket, you might still get a chance by applying for a Standby Entry Ticket using the app. But I really don’t recommend this because these tickets are given on a lottery base. You have to be lucky to get one.

Now, let’s imagine that you didn’t know about any of the conditions to enter Super Nintendo World, and the Express Passes are already sold out. What can you do to visit Super Nintendo World? In the next paragraph, I’ll tell you about how I entered Super Nintendo World and enjoyed Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge and Yoshi’s Adventure rides without paying extra and waiting for hours in line.

Can I Enter Nintendo World Without Express Pass?

My son observing Super Nintendo World
My son observing Super Nintendo World
© Ana Costa

It is possible to enter Super Nintendo World without a Universal Express Pass, and even without an Area Timed Entry Ticket, but this requires a little effort because you have to be at the entrance super early. Let me explain how this works.

Since I could not afford Express Passes for a family of 3, I started doing some research on how to enjoy Super Nintendo World, and Universal Studios Japan in general, on a budget. I found out that people usually get in line at the park entrance one to two hours before the official opening time for the day. Also, the park usually opens its doors between 30 minutes and one hour earlier than the official opening time.

This allows those in line to enter the park before opening, and you can go straight to Super Nintendo World without having a Universal Express Pass or an Area Timed Entry Ticket. They let the first batch of people right in, and when the area starts getting crowded, they limit the access to those who have a Universal Express Pass or an Area Timed Entry Ticket.

On the day we went (26 October 2023), there were people literally running to get to Super Nintendo World. You don’t have to run, because we just walked at a fast pace and got there without any issues. Just make sure you check the park’s map first to know exactly where to go, but most people entering at that time will be going to Super Nintendo World or Harry Potter.

Let me tell you about the exact times we had on that specific day (a Thursday), so you can have a better idea of how it works:

We did Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge in the first place and it took us only 25 minutes in line. We actually, didn’t notice the time in line because Bowser’s Castle is so cool that you spend your time taking pictures and enjoying the place. After the ride, we went straight to Yoshi’s Adventure and waited for another 25 minutes in line.

In short, at 9 a.m. we already did the 2 rides in Super Nintendo World and got a glimpse of the area, but we decided to stay there until noon. By the way, while I was waiting in line, I requested an Area Timed Entry Ticket to return to Super Nintendo World later in the afternoon. By doing this, you can enjoy the area twice because when you leave Super Nintendo World, you usually can’t go back there again.

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Super Nintendo World Japan?

Super Nintendo World Power Up Bands
Our Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands
© Ana Costa

To fully enjoy Super Nintendo World, you will need a Studio Pass (Park Entry Ticket), a Universal Express Pass if you want to ensure you will enter the area and spend less time waiting in lines, and the Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands if you want to play all the interactive games.

Let’s take a look at the price of each one of these.

1-Day Studio Pass AdultFrom 8.600 yen (cheapest date)
1-Day Studio Pass Children (4 – 11)From 5.600 yen (cheapest date)
Universal Express PassFrom 9.800 yen (cheapest pass)
Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands4.200 yen each (price in October 2023)

In the table above, you have the cheapest prices, but these can scale up if you’re visiting during the weekend or peak seasons. Now, let’s look at each expense in detail, so you can have all the information needed to have the best experience and save some money if you’re on a budget.

Studio Pass (Park Entry Ticket)

The Studio Pass is a mandatory expense because you cannot enter Universal Studios Japan without one. Still, you can save money by choosing the cheapest days. Avoid going to Universal Studios Japan on weekends, holidays, or peak seasons to secure the lowest price. Also, check for discounts on Klook because they usually have some good deals and you might be lucky to find one for your trip.

The cheapest price starts at 8.600 yen, but it can be around 10.000 yen on weekends and other special days. That might seem like it’s not a big difference, but for a family of 4, going on a weekday can save you more than 4.000 yen (about 27 USD). And considering you will probably buy Express Passes or Power-Up Bands, any amount you can save will make a huge difference in the final price.

The Studio Pass is available for 1 day, 1.5 days, or 2 days.

Type of Studio PassPrice
1-Day Studio Pass AdultFrom 8.600 yen
1-Day Studio Pass Children (4 – 11)From 5.600 yen
1.5 Day Studio Pass AdultFrom 13.100 yen
1.5 Day Studio Pass Children (4 – 11)From 8.600 yen
2-Day Studio Pass AdultFrom 16.300 yen
2-Day Studio Pass Children (4 – 11)From 10.600 yen
Prices seen in January 2024

Now let’s check the Universal Express Passes.

Universal Express Pass

Universal Express Passes might be a little complicated to understand the first time, but I’ll try to explain them to you in the simplest way possible. The first thing you need to understand is that there are usually two types of express passes: Universal Express Pass 4 (valid for 4 rides) and Universal Express Pass 7 (valid for 7 rides).

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Obviously, the Express Pass 4 is cheaper than the Express Pass 7.

Universal Express Pass 4From 9.800 yen
Universal Express Pass 7From 14.100 yen
Prices seen in January 2024

Then, you have different types of Express Passes 7 and Express Passes 4. The difference is the attractions included in each Express Pass.

For Universal Express Pass 4, you will have around 9 different passes to choose from. The price varies according to the rides included in each pass (passes for the most famous rides cost more than the passes that include less famous rides).

You can check the current prices and buy the Universal Express Pass 4 from Klook or the official website. If you have any issues with the payment using credit cards on the official website, just use Klook because it always accepts worldwide payments, unlike most Japanese websites.

For Universal Express Pass 7, you will have 3 different passes. This pass includes a lot of rides, so there’s no need to have many different choices. Just like for Universal Express Pass 4, the price varies according to the rides included in each pass.

You can check the current prices and buy the Universal Express Pass 7 from Klook or the official website.

Please notice that during special seasons, like Halloween for example, Universal will add extra Express Passes to cover the temporary attractions during that season event, which means you will have even more Passes to choose from.

Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands

Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands are these cute bracelets you can see in the picture above, but they are an extra expense if you want to enjoy all the interactive games available in the Super Nintendo World area. In October 2023, we bought 3 Power-Up Bands for 12.600 yen (4.200 yen each).

We made it to Super Nintendo World without buying Express Passes using the tip I gave you above, so we could afford this extra and have more fun at Super Nintendo World. My 6-year-old boy was thrilled with all these extra activities and we had fun too because we had to work as a team to win each challenge and collect 3 keys to go fight the final boss.

Of course, the Power-Ups Bands are not mandatory, but you will miss part of the fun if you don’t have them.

Tips to Make The Most of Your Visit

The last piece of information I want to give you is some tips to make the most of your visit. This is information I gathered after visiting Universal Studios Japan that would be useful for me to know before I went there.

  • Purchase your tickets online in advance. This can save you money and time.
  • Consider visiting during the off-season and weekdays. The park is less crowded during the off-season, so you will have shorter wait times for attractions and the tickets cost less money.
  • Pack a few snacks and drinks. This can save you a lot of money and the restaurants at the park are always crowded.
  • Download the Universal Studios Japan app. The app is necessary for getting Area Timed Entry Tickets and it also has a map of the park, wait times for attractions, and live shows.
  • Arrive at the park early. Arrive at least 1 hour in advance to take advantage of early entry, but if you can get there sooner it’s even better.
  • Eat lunch during a parade or show to avoid the crowds. There are huge lines for restaurants, so try to eat when everyone is busy watching the parade. You can also use the priority seating option on the official website (Japanese only).
  • Leave the park one hour before closing time. When the park is packed, try to leave earlier if you need to use public transportation.
  • Some rides might be temporarily closed. Check the official website before buying your Express Pass.


In conclusion, Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World offers a unique experience for Nintendo enthusiasts.

While the Universal Express Pass proves valuable for maximizing ride enjoyment and minimizing wait times, early birds can skip this option by arriving an hour before the official opening.

To enter Super Nintendo World, secure either an Advance Booking Area Timed Entry Ticket or an Area Timed Entry Ticket/Standby Entry Ticket, available through the official app or park kiosks. (Don’t forget the tip I gave you above to enter Super Nintendo World!)

The overall cost includes a Studio Pass, Universal Express Pass, and optional Super Nintendo World Power-Up Bands.

Remember, strategic planning, including off-peak visits and early arrivals, enhances your overall adventure. With these tips, you’re well-equipped to navigate and make the most of your journey through Super Nintendo World in Japan.

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