With a deep love for ancient traditions and culture, and yet a firm grasp of modern trends, Japan is among the premier destinations for any and all travelers seeking a diverse cultural experience. There are many things to see in Japan, with their themed restaurants and shrines being some of the most popular attractions. But there is also a completely different experience waiting in the Island Nation: amusement parks.

Japan has had amusement parks since the 60s, with the old Nara Dreamland standing as proof of the interest that had sparked then, but continued to wane until the park was forced to close in 2006. Following renewed interest in amusement parks, however, several have opened in the past decade, and more are yet to come. Here are some that you should make the time to visit:

1. Tokyo DisneySea
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just like any other Disney theme park. Inspired by myths and legends surrounding the sea, there are seven ports of call in DisneySea, which all follow a different theme: Mediterranean Harbor, Mysterious Island, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront.

2. Fuji-Q Highland
If you’re the type who goes to amusement park for the thrills and spills afforded by roller coasters, Fuji-Q Highland is the best park for you. Its rides are record-holders and are some of the best, not just in the country, but in the world, and with many themed rides that center in Japanese pop culture, it’s a unique experience.

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3. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
What makes Hakkeijima Sea Paradise so unique is that it isn’t even found inland. Instead, it’s located on a small island off the coast, and as such, boasts of a huge aquarium where visitors can see dolphins, sea lions, polar bears, and walruses, as well as a wide assortment of fish. Visitors can even pet some of the animals during live performances.


With Japan now embracing more of Western culture, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to liberalize gaming also suggest that casino resorts may not be too far behind. As Intercasino explains, “Live casinos usually have a festive and pretty active atmosphere. This usually keeps the gamblers and the people inside awake,” and with MGM Resorts International set to spend $10 billion on the construction of a casino resort should gambling be legalized in the country, there’s little doubt that Japan’s casinos could rival Singapore’s.

Tensions are high, however, and it doesn’t seem like MGM will see its dream casino resorts erected any time soon. For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with these numerous amusement parks dotting Japan. More amusement parks are set to be erected in the near future as well.