Universal Studios Japan in Osaka has announced the opening for it’s long-awaited Nintendo-themed area on February 4th, 2021.
That’s actually a little earlier than expected — last month Nintendo said that the project would open in spring. A themed cafe and merchandise store have already opened in the larger Universal Studios Japan park.
The flagship attractions, the Mario Kart-themed rollercoaster is housed inside a reconstructed Bowser’s castle and makes use of AR and projection mapping technology, with riders donning AR headsets shaped like Mario’s cap:
The new park is set to be further expanded with a Donkey Kong-themed area:
Japan’s #SuperNintendoWorld will open on Feb. 4, 2021 in Osaka.@rumireports gets a world’s first look at @USJ_Official‘s real-life #Mario Kart. More: https://t.co/T9nUMnB1UB #任天堂 pic.twitter.com/oZku1gwQTj
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) November 30, 2020
The cars do have steering wheels, and you can race alongside each other, but seems like the ride itself is on rails. There’s also an element of throwing power-ups from item boxes, and the experience will be different each time you ride, according to USJ.
The park says it’s working with health administration officials to ensure a safe environment for visitors and staff, and is currently operating at 50-percent capacity. COVID-19 cases have been rising in Osaka recently, with a record count of 490 positive tests reached on one day last week. Japan has largely avoided strict lockdown measures to date, however, relying on contact tracing and near-universal mask-wearing to mitigate the pandemic’s impact.