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PHOTO REPORT: Universal Studios Japan September 2021 (Super Nintendo World Elements Broken, Halloween Begins, One Piece Restaurant, & More)

Halloween has returned to Universal Studios Japan, and that means it’s our turn to check in on the latest happenings! Imagine, if you will, that you’re in Osaka, and join us on a journey around this marvel of a park.

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This year, Universal Studios Japan kept the Super Nintendo World banners up around the entrance area rather than installing Halloween-themed ones like last year.

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Due to expected crowds for Halloween Horror Nights being likely to exceed the 5,000 guests limit set by the Japanese government, Universal Studios Japan is encouraging guests to purchase tickets in advance, and Annual Passholders are required to make advance reservations. On this date, reservations and same-day tickets were not available.

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Ahead of a day ticket price increase next month, the park has removed banners and signs promoting its Light Annual Studio Pass (with over 70 blackout dates) in favor of signs promoting their standard-tier pass instead. Guests can visit Stage 18 inside the park to upgrade their day ticket to an AP.

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Express Passes are being sold with guaranteed access to both the GeGeGe no Kitaro: The Real house and Sherlock Holmes: The Curse of the Rose Sword show.

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Also, same-day tickets are available for the One Piece Premier Show, an annual summer tradition that made its return this year!

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The latest Studio Guides feature the locations of Halloween and Halloween Horror Nights offerings.

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Banners under the canopy also still promote Super Nintendo World.

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Meanwhile, One Piece-themed merchandise has dropped anchor at Rodeo Drive Souvenirs.

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Just outside, Hollywood Movie Make-Up can get you ready for Halloween!

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And special decals in the windows promote the more lighthearted side of Halloween.

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Refurbishment continues on the exterior and queue area of Cinema 4-D, which still has yet to reopen after COVID-19.

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Off in an unassuming corner of the park entrance is the GeGeGe no Kitaro: The Real house, the only house this year.

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The house is located in this otherwise unassuming studio building adjacent to the entrance.

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Also near the entrance is an area for guests to change into their Halloween costumes. How considerate, especially since Tokyo Disney Resort will not allow guests to change into costume at the resort this year.

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If you say “Trick or Treat!” to any Crew Member with this orange Jack-o-Lantern pouch, you can get a special hard candy with different USJ characters on them!

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Most Crew Members this year are also wearing these wizard’s hats, in orange or purple.

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Over at Hollywood Dream: The Ride, “Happily” by One Direction has been bumped from the roster in favor of the Halloween theme “Rat-tat-tat” by the J Soul Brothers III.

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One of our perennial favorites, Space Fantasy: The Ride, was closed when we visited to be transformed into the Demon Slayer XR Ride through February 2022.

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Props were already in place, as the attraction’s opening was imminent.

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Neat decals and window coverings hid the Space Fantasy Station shop, which will sell Demon Slayer-themed merchandise during the limited overlay.

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Our visit marked one year since Terminator 2: 3-D closed temporarily due to low attendance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s hoping it finally can reopen soon!

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Over in San Francisco, The Dragon’s Beard is once again in use as an indoor mask-free zone.

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And across the way, Lombard’s Landing is currently playing host to Sanji’s Pirate Restaurant as part of the park’s One Piece event!

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And speaking of One Piece, the Discovery Restaurant in Jurassic Park is also overlaid with plenty of One Piece food and decor! Set meals and desserts bear striking resemblances to characters from the internationally successful manga and anime series.

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The interior is also lined with decor, including a full-wall mural depicting characters from the series.

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One of the buildings in Amity is currently undergoing exterior refurbishments, but fortunately, it’s not an important structure.

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Down in Super Nintendo World, the Super Star Plaza ice cream cart hasn’t been open in quite some time, but guests can still pick up the delicious ice cream at Kinopio’s Cafe, along with other delicious meals there.

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Aboard Yoshi’s Adventure, props consisting of stacked items are conspicuously absent after a minor accident in August when a stack of Goombas fell on the ride track. No word on when these props can safely return.

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At the future entrance of the Donkey Kong expansion, wood barriers have been installed on the other side of the doors to prevent nosy guests from sneaking a peek at the still-unannounced second phase of Super Nintendo World.

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Regular maintenance is a necessary evil, and it seems that it has already fallen by the wayside in Super Nintendo World just a few months after the area’s grand opening.

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Several props do not move anymore on Mount Beanpole, including the row of blocks on the far left above Yoshi’s Adventure dispatch. Additionally, a Bullet Bill used to come out of that cannon near the Thwomp, which has not been seen since March. And Yoshi, who is usually running circles around the tree at the very top, was hiding behind the tree for several days as well.

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The stack of clouds near the peak was broken on every day we visited, which are visible from outside the land as well.

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And this Shy Guy did not move back and forth, only waddling in place before turning around to waddle in place again. It’s a shame to see so many broken elements already not be quickly fixed, and we hope that these are in tip-top order once more on our next visit.

That’s all the latest happenings at Universal Studios Japan! What was your favorite part of the journey this time? Let us know in the comments below.

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