Nintendojo in Japan, Part 2: Osaka

Check out Nintendojo’s recommendations for gamers of must-see places and things to do in Osaka!

By Angela Marrujo Fornaca. Posted 01/10/2024 13:50 Comment on this     ShareThis

In part 1 of our Nintendojo in Japan series, I covered all the places I went in Tokyo that I’d recommend any Nintendo fan or gamer check out if they’re planning a trip to the city. This time, our journey takes us to Osaka, the third-most populous city in Japan known for its nightlife and incredible street food. Before even jumping into the gaming-specific recommendations, I’d highly suggest that anyone’s trip to Japan include some time in Osaka. It’s an incredible city that’s just as fun and exciting as Tokyo, with its own unique quirks and things to see and do.

Now, let’s dive into my gaming-relating recommendations for one of Japan’s cities that never sleeps.


Osaka is a port city, and the biggest draw to its Bay Area is Universal Studios Japan. The park is massive and home to a number of different lands and rides dedicated to various IPs and pop culture icons, but there are a few areas in the park that will be of interest to Nintendo fans.

Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

Super Nintendo World was high up on my to-do list in Osaka, and I’m glad we made the effort to go. I still haven’t gone to Super Nintendo World here in California, but wanted to be able to compare the two when I eventually do make it down there. Before you even make it to the Super Nintendo World area of the park, there are numerous souvenir shops along the way selling park-exclusive merchandise that you’re not going to find anywhere else in Japan. While most merchandise is the same from shop to shop, every shop does have some items that others don’t, so it’s worth checking out every one. Plus, if you see a t-shirt or other clothing items in one but they don’t have your size, the other shops might have it.

The Mario Cafe & Store has a whole line of Mario and Luigi themed merchandise that isn’t anywhere else in the park, not even in Super Nintendo World, so it’s worth stopping by if you want to grab some, regardless of whether you take the time to stand in line for the special Mario, Luigi, and friends-themed drinks and snacks.


The NO LIMIT! parade happened to start while we were waiting for our turn to enter Super Nintendo World, which features Mario Kart and Pokémon floats (among others) that are really impressive. One of the famous Pikachu mascots that have gone viral appears on the Pokémon float, as squishy and lively as ever, accompanied by numerous Pokémon around and in tow. Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi appear in their karts on the Mario Kart float.

While Pikachu appears in the parade and in marketing around the park, there’s much less Pokémon merchandise than Mario merchandise in the park. The merchandise they do have is really cute, and because we were there at Halloween, there was a special line of Pokémon Halloween souvenirs that featured Pikachu, Gengar, and other Ghost-type Pokémon.

If you want to partake in the interactivity of Super Nintendo World, make sure to buy a Power-Up Band wristband at the cart at the entrance to this part of the park. There are a number of different designs based on some of the main characters of the Mario universe (I got the Mario one). Also — and this is important — make sure to download the USJ app before you leave your hotel room, otherwise you won’t be able to track your progress or see the fruits of your labor after spending the day hitting ? Blocks and scanning your wristband at every opportunity. You’ll unlock stickers and achievements the more you partake in these activities, and while it isn’t at all necessary, it’s definitely a fun part of the experience.


Once inside the park, be prepared for long wait times for the most central attraction — Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. We waited somewhere between 70 and 90 minutes for our turn. As you snake through the interior of the attraction, you’ll find yourself winding around a life-sized recreation of Lakitu’s TV production van before being taken into Bowser’s study. Here, you’ll find all sorts of neat Easter eggs, like journal entries on Piranha Plant feeding times, a framed photo of Peach resting on Bowser’s throne, a detailed diorama of a ground level, airship, and planet, a stained glass Piranha Plant lamp, and so much more.

After winding your way through, you walk out into a Bob-omb, Bullet Bill, and Mecha Koopa factory, before finally reaching a room that has race suits themed after Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach hanging on the wall. The ride itself puts you and three other people into a kart wearing AR visors, where you have to take out Bowser, the Koopa Kids, and Bowser’s minions as you race through familiar courses and try to rack up the highest score among everyone in the kart. Guests exit the ride into the Mario Motors gift shop, where you’ll find a ton of Mario Kart themed merchandise (you can also enter the shop from outside the ride).

Yoshi’s Adventure is the other ride in this park, with a slightly shorter wait time but still long nonetheless. This is a slower-paced, more relaxed ride where two guests jump into a Yoshi to enjoy the familiar sights of characters long associated with the Yoshi games. The character models throughout the ride are highly detailed and gorgeous to look at, and the ride itself provides a nice break from the constant hustle and bustle of the park.

Grab a bite to eat at Kinopio’s Cafe, where Toad is cooking up delicious food to eat. The line for the restaurant moved surprisingly fast, and the food was genuinely good. I’d recommend the Goal Pole Cake (SO good), Mario’s Bacon Cheeseburger, and the Super Mushroom Pizza Bowl.


There are photo opportunities with Mario and Luigi, Toad, and Peach. The only one I missed was Peach, though I did see her under a pergola outside her castle taking photos while I was on my way to another attraction. I had so much fun at Super Nintendo World that I was sorry to have to leave, but we did one more attraction in USJ before we left for the day.

In the New York area of the park (where you’ll find rides like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man), we stumbled across a Resident Evil attraction that was part haunted house, part arcade shooter. Guests could choose between the “Leon adventure” and “Claire adventure,” but we ended up having to do the Claire adventure because Leon’s was sold out for the day. We also had to wait until after 9:00 pm for our time slot; luckily, it took so long to get through everything at Super Nintendo World that we only had about an hour to kill before it was our turn.

The attraction is based on the events of Resident Evil 2, and everything is in Japanese. Guests start outside the Raccoon City police department and are hurriedly ushered in by a cop, who’s guiding you through the hellish scenes within the department. Actors dressed as zombified officers jump out at you and create serious jump scares, and the frenzy and chaos of the “cops” rushing you through the department helps create a genuine sense of terror. Eventually, an actress playing Claire shows up outside one of the windows fighting a deformed William Birkin (Claire is replaced with Leon in the Leon adventure), who chases the group throughout the department before guests are corralled into a room with a huge TV screen and a bunch of mounted “machine guns.” At this point, Birkin appears on-screen, and guests must fire at him until he’s taken out. At the end of the ride, guests are handed small cards with their final grade on it, just like what players see on-screen at the end of a chapter in Resident Evil games.

USJ is an all-day affair, so try to get there when the park opens. Super Nintendo World alone will take up a huge chunk of time, mainly because of how long the wait times are for the attractions. Plan accordingly, especially if you want to eat at the specialty cafes and restaurants.



Most gamers and anime fans have heard of Akihabara, but less are familiar with Osaka’s Den-Den Town. This district within Nipponbashi is smaller than Akihabara, but there are some gems worth visiting for.

Pokémon Card Shops

Unfortunately, I did a poor job of documenting shop names while in Den-Den Town, partly due to the fact that it was pitch black when we were walking around and I was too excited to really pay attention. However, there are a lot of Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Magic card resellers in Den-Den Town — the one I went to was just one of countless shops to see. All of them display their cards in tall glass cabinets and they all range in price from incredibly cheap to eye-wateringly expensive. Thousands of dollars, expensive. I walked away with a few cards that, while not rare, I just really liked for the art and because I’d never seen their English equivalents in the US. However, I also walked away feeling more strongly than ever that I really need to think about insuring the rarest and most vintage cards in my collection…

Used Collectible Shops

Both in Den-Den Town and Akihabara, there’s shop after shop selling used gaming and anime collectibles. The ones that caught my attention and that I spent a lot of time and yen in were the shops that were selling random assortments of small figures and collectibles, individually bagged and sorted by IP. One shop was divided by section (Kirby, Mario, Zelda, etc.) and had all sorts of stuff, from mini figurines to keychains to cards, pins, and so much more. So many of the things I grabbed happened to be on sale, too (most were 30% off). Since it appears that they get their stock from people selling items, you never know what’s going to show up here. There were a number of vintage items, especially in the Sailor Moon section, but unfortunately those were usually priced accordingly — this shop knew what they had, to a degree. But other items were already priced incredibly low (less than ten bucks) and were even cheaper if they were on sale. So, needless to say, I went a little crazy here and came home with some absolute treasures.

Video Game Tie-Ins and Collaborations at Chain Businesses


This is a thing all over Japan’s major cities and not just in Osaka, but chain businesses like ramen shops and convenience stores will regularly partake in collaborations with video game developers to celebrate the release of a new game or some gaming event. When we were in Osaka, Kamukura (a ramen chain) was celebrating the release of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name with a limited edition mapo tofu ramen (which was incredibly delicious). 7-Eleven was celebrating the release of Super Mario Wonder with a bunch of chain-exclusive merchandise (which was sold out at every single 7-Eleven we went to all over the country). And Family Mart had a wide array of Kirby foods and merchandise for sale, but, like the Mario stuff, was all sold out at every one we went to.


Every Nintendo store in Japan — Tokyo, Osaka, and the newly-opened Kyoto location — has its own distinct personality, and, as I discovered, can carry items that either the others don’t carry or that the others were out of stock of. Even though I’d already done some major damage at Nintendo TOKYO, I popped into Nintendo OSAKA both to get this store’s unique experience and to check to see if they had an item that the Tokyo location was out of. Sure enough, this location had it in stock. So if you go to one of the Nintendo stores in Japan looking for an item and they don’t have it, be sure to check the others during your trip if your itinerary allows for it.

Osaka was a fantastic city and a lot of fun, and there were plenty of gaming-related things to see and do. Make sure to spend time here on your next trip to Japan. Our final stop in this three-part series will be Kyoto! Look out for it soon.

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