When looking for a place to spend a perfect day with family and friends, what would be better than a visit to a theme park? Exhilarating rides, delightful food, and memorable shows, with a new experience on every visit, one can never be bored of theme parks. But the end-user experience in a theme park is not an easy goal to achieve, and only some can sustain the zeal of people with every visit. Universal Studios Japan is able to maintain the enthusiasm of its visitors even after 20 years from its opening.

Open since March 31, 2001, Universal Studios Japan entertains an average of 8 million visitors each year.  Located in Osaka, Japan, it is one of six Universal Studios theme parks. Over 11 million guests visited the park in its opening year, making it the world’s fastest amusement park to have achieved the 10 million milestones at the time. 

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Universal Studios Japan Globe_ ©japancheapo.com

Storyline And Themes | Universal Studios Japan

For visitors, theme parks are all about experiences, and for all those who work behind the scenes, it is about creating that experience. Universal Studios Japan beautifully narrates stories of some of the most famous films. The 130-acre large park is subdivided into eleven zones offering a spectrum of theme-based entertainment options. 

From the wizarding world of Harry Potter to the replication of the port city San Francisco, Universal Studios Japan has everything for children and adults alike. It is achieved by intricate detailing and careful designing of scenes and rides. The park is divided into 11 zones: Super Nintendo World, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Minion Park, Universal Wonderland, Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Amity Village, and Water World.  

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Storytelling- Ron’s crashed car from Harry Potter_©neverendingvoyage.com
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Replication of the 90’s New York at Universal Studios Japan_©beadeegee.com

Architectural Design

The functioning of a theme park is comparable to that of a theatrical performance but on a larger scale. Traditional rules of the building design are set aside. The architecture here has to be functional, enjoyable, and thematic. Apart from main spaces and structures, there are secondary amenities-service areas, backstage functions, and other necessary provisions. Universal Studios Japan skilfully finds a balance between all elements. Each area is designed with special attention to detail, transcending from one world to another.

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Hogwarts Castle_©Soyoung Han via unsplash.com

Attraction Design, Theming, And Ride Selection

Like most of the escapades, a Universal Studios theme park entertains all genders and age groups. With such a diverse audience, it is essential that everyone has the best of times here. Areas such as Minion Park, and Universal Wonderland aim for children and family entertainment whilst other Zones have a multitude of activities for all. Rides are the centre of attraction for any theme park. 

Some of the best rides at Universal Studios Japan arethe Flying Dinosaur, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, Jaws, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, and Jurassic Park the Ride. Each with either beautiful narratives or action-packed rides.

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Minion Mayhem_©neverendingvoyage.com

Local entertainment attracts more tourists and helps the park stand out from other Universal Studios Parks. It is also the only Universal Studios Theme park to have a Wizarding World of Harry Potter apart from Universal Studios Orlando and the only one to have a lake surrounding the main castle. With the largest minion park to exclusive rides Universal Studios Japan definitely has the wow factor.

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the flying dianasour_©neverendingvoyage.com

Master Planning | Universal Studios Japan

A master plan is a dynamic long-term planning document that lays forth a conceptual framework for future growth and development. The population, economics, housing, transportation, community amenities, and land use of a location are all addressed in a master plan, which includes analysis, suggestions, and ideas. People and places are ever-evolving. 

Bringing forth the finest user experience is of top-priority, often leading to change of existing facilities or introduction of a new attraction altogether. These changes cannot be executed without a concrete master plan. 

Universal Studios Japan has adapted to its audience and refurbished their tour with new attractions. Former attractions include: E.T. Adventure has been replaced by Space Fantasy – The Ride. Back to the Future – The Ride has been replaced by Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Motion Picture Magic was replaced by Sesame Street 4D Movie Magic. And a complete revamp of former The Western Area and Land of Oz to make the existing Universal Wonderland.

Park Map Universal Studios Japan in Osaka _ ©JRailPass.com

Landscaping And Interior Designing

“God lies in Details.” Mies Van Der Rohe

Any build is incomplete without landscaping and interior design. In addition to the scenery, the landscape is inclusive of pathways, plantations, water bodies, open to air area lightings, placement of fountains and statues, etc. Landscaping and interior design extend the theme to eateries and other public spaces. 

At Universal Studios, in addition to entertainment centres, each area also has public spaces. Each brought to life by extending the theme to these spaces. The key plan of the park follows a simple layout. San Francisco and Amity Village are kept at centre and feature large water bodies. Other zones circulate the two.

environment setting- Hogsmeade village from Harry Potter bought to life_©neverendingvoyage.com
Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan opening in 2021_©reddit.com

Universal Studios Japan portrays an exemplary balance between architectural design and the entertainment industry. From storytelling to business and project management. In the end, a successful theme park design is all about immersive user experiencean escape from everyday burdens. Theme parks can be a possible future for tourism and hospitality.


  1. Theme Parks The Business of Storytelling. (n.d.). [online] . Available at: https://www.forrec.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/FORREC_Theme_Parks.pdf.
  2. Universal Studios Japan. (n.d.). ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン|USJ. [online] Available at: https://www.usj.co.jp/web/en/us.
  3. Tripadvisor. (n.d.). Universal Studios Japan (Osaka) – 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos). [online] Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g298566-d320976-Reviews-Universal_Studios_Japan-Osaka_Osaka_Prefecture_Kinki
  4. TheThemeParkGuy.com. (n.d.). Universal Studios Japan. [online] Available at: https://www.thethemeparkguy.com/park/universal-studios-japan