Totoro Theme Park, Super Nintendo World, and The 2020 Olympics!

It’s official. 2020 is the best year to visit Japan.

We don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but it seems that Japan has planned 2020 to be its most exciting year yet! Not only will there be the Tokyo Summer Olympics, they will also be launching some of the most highly anticipated theme parks and attractions the same year.

We know that it’s a wee bit early to begin planning for a trip that’s three years later, but if you’re a fan of Disney, Nintendo and/or Studio Ghibli, you should keep these upcoming projects on your radar.

#1 Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020

Japan has been getting itself ready since 2013 when it knocked out fellow contenders Istanbul and Madrid to win the title of the official host for the upcoming Olympic games. Here are our favourite fun facts that have been released so far:

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  • The Tokyo Olympics’ ambassadors are really cool.
    Most countries create new mascots for the games, but in this case, there simply isn’t a need to. Japan is the home of the most iconic cartoons (and anime characters) in the world! Fronting the Tokyo 2020 games are Son Goku from Dragonball Z, along with Naruto, One Piece’ Luffy, Shin Chan, Pretty Cure, Sailor Moon, and Astroboy. While the star-studded cast is impressive, we can’t say we aren’t a little bummed that our favourite Pokemon aren’t making an appearance.
  • The medals will be super cool too. And meaningful.
    In effort to reduce wastage and encourage sustainability, Japan has been collecting old phones with the plan to recycle the metal, turning them into Olympic medals.
    That’s good, because the games are really expensive and expected to cost about US$16 billion!
  • For those working in Tokyo, 24 July 2020 has been declared “Telework Day”.
    It’s basically a work-from-home day for the locals, because the public transport networks and roads are expected to be heavily congested from all the hype.

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#2 My Neighbour Totoro Theme Park, by Studio Ghibli

Fans of anime genius Hayao Miyazaki already flock to Tokyo to visit the iconic Studio Ghibli Museum, but come 2020, they’ll have one more attraction to go crazy over. In tribute of the 1988 hit anime My Neighbour Totoroa fantasy film starring a little girl and the animal sprite, Totoro—Studio Ghibli is building a theme park at Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya. It will be built over the present Ghibli exhibits that are already at the site; these include replicas of the lead characters Mei and Satsuke’s houses.

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A brick and mortar replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house. (Image credit: Gnsin (Own work) GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Hayao Miyazaki is known to be a nature lover, and the plans for the park are in line with this: Rumour has it that they will avoid touching the forested areas so as not to harm the surrounding nature and landscape. It seems that there will be less rides, and more re-enacted setups from the film, all of which will be 100 percent “touch-able” and interactive.

#3 Super Nintendo World, Universal Studios Japan

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The concept art of the upcoming Super Nintendo World. (Image credit:

Pokemon, Super Mario, Fire Emblem… If you recognise any of these names, you’d be familiar with Japanese gaming giant Nintendo. Although news of the cartoon theme park was announced a while ago, construction has only just begun in June 2017. Nintendo and Universal Studios have been pretty hush hush about the whole thing, and not much has been released. That said, a lot of their pre-launch marketing efforts seem to focus on the cast of the Super Mario franchise. The entire project is estimated to cost JPY 60 billion.

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#4 Beauty & the Beast, Big Hero 6 at Tokyo Disneyland

With all the buzz for the 2020 Olympics, everyone wants a piece of the pie. Disneyland is no exception! Also upping its game, Disneyland has announced that they are opening new zones in the park, dedicated to Beauty & the Beast and Big Hero 6one a classic title with a recent Hollywood movie remake, the other a new yet popular superhero cartoon. By 2020, park goers will be able to dine with enchanted dishes and break the Beast’s spell in Fantasyland, and cuddle up to their own “personal healthcare companion” Baymax at Tomorrowland. We aren’t sure what rides or attractions there’ll be yet, but we’re sure it will be awesome: This expansion project is the park’s largest one since the massive opening of DisneySea in 2001.


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