The Super Nintendo World is a trip worth taking (and saving for) once int’l travel is finally OK

Published March 21, 2021, 6:52 AM

by Johannes Chua

We all look forward to that day when we could once again check our travel bucket list. But for now, we could only imagine (and start saving) for that trip to the real-life world of our favorite game character, Mario. What was once a fantasy pipe-filled world filled with adventure, delightful sounds, and rewards is now a reality as Universal Studios Japan has finally opened the Super Nintendo World.

The Super Nintendo World inside Universal Studios Japan opened last March 18, 2021. (All photos credited to USJ)

The new themepark, which was supposed to be opened in time with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, opened after fever-pitch anticipation. It couldn’t wait for the depressing pandemic to end so it adapted to the new normal era. It is not all fun and carefree as visitors have to strictly follow health protocols such as wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing. The presence of alcohol dispensers around the park is a dose of reality amid the fantasy.  

Looking at the website of the themepark, I am growing more restless, wishing that this pandemic would end soon. I’m imagining my first trip abroad and that would be to Osaka in Japan. I grew up with Nintendo and I remember finishing almost all the Mario and Luigi games. I tell people that my poor eyesight was due to reading books, but in reality, it came from playing too much games. I could only imagine my delight riding the Mario Kart, or walking in Peach’s Castle, or even eating the mushroom pizza bowl at Kinopio’s Café. Hopefully, that is not only an imagination when the time comes when we’re all “mask-free.”

Mushroom pizza bowl at Kinopio’s Cafe… food inspired by the video game.

And of course, I wouldn’t want to miss jumping and “punching” those blocks just like in the video game. Aside from collecting virtual coins for every punch, I’m imaging myself letting out all the post-COVID stress and anxiety.

If you punch these ‘blocks,’ you’ll get virtual coins.

The one-day studio pass is at 8,200 Yen (roughly around P4,000), which gives you access to most of the attractions. But if you are like me who hates long lines, then there is a Universal Express Pass (it’s another payment…but check the promos, it may be worth it).

The Mario Kart merges adventure and technology.

I read in a statement that there are plans to open a similar themepark in other Universal Studios around the world. That’s exciting news! But I wouldn’t want to wait for that. I’m counting the days (and my savings) when I can finally take that Japan trip, enter the themepark’s gates, buy that red hat with a letter “M,” and experience, even for a day, a fantasy world where Mario saves the day.