Hello Cheapos! Do you have summer plans yet? Maybe you want to check out one of the new attractions that have opened recently in Tokyo? Perhaps a day trip, a theme park visit, or an excursion further afield? Let us tell you about some of the fun things that are happening in and around Tokyo this summer.

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New attractions in Tokyo

In Shinjuku, the big news is Kabukichō Tower, a giant entertainment complex that opened in April. We’ve got a look inside coming up in a Youtube video…

In the meantime, read up on all the things to do in Kabukichō, Tokyo’s weirdly gentrifying red light district. Kabukichō Tower also has two new hotels, Bellustar Tokyo and Hotel Groove Shinjuku, if you fancy a Tokyo staycation.

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The entrance to Shinjuku’s Kabukichō. | Photo by Aimee Gardner

Also new: Harry Potter Studio Tour in Nerima (where Toshimaen used to be). If you’re heading that way, why not also check out what’s new in Ikebukuro? Both Animate Ikebukuro and Sunshine 60 Observatory reopened recently after major renovation works.

Ghibli Park in Nagoya

If you’re keen to check out Ghibli Park, the new Studio Ghibli theme park in Nagoya, we have a guide to getting tickets over on Japan Cheapo.

This convenient, overnight package from JTB sunrise tours includes round-trip Shinkansen tickets, hotel, and tickets for Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse (the main attraction at Ghibli Park). For those of you who prefer to plan yourselves: a guide to getting from Tokyo to Nagoya.

One of us got to go to Ghibli Park… | Photo by Maria Danuco

Nagoya, Japan’s largest city, doesn’t get much love, but is becoming something of a sleeper destination. Check out these other things to do in Nagoya.

Or maybe you’d prefer to read more about anime theme parks in Japan?

Summer exhibitions: Digital art

Several digital art exhibitions are happening over the summer in destinations as diverse as Kyoto, Hokkaidō, and Kyūshū. Some take place outdoors in the evening, which is a nice way to take advantage of pleasant summer evenings.

teamLab exhibitions

Digital art collective teamLab has a temporary event this summer in Sapporo: teamLab Future Park and Animals of Flowers, Symbiotic Lives. Held at Sapporo Art Park Museum, it’s especially geared for families and includes a reprise of Sketch Aquarium (previously at teamLab Borderless).

They also have a temporary exhibition at the Himeji City Museum of Art, called Existence in an Infinite Continuity.

Annual summer exhibtion teamLab A Forest Where Gods Live returns to Takeo Onsen in Kyūshū. During the event, which starts June 14, evening visitors to Mifuneyama Rakuen can see the historic garden awash in colorful projections and illuminations.

The exhibition runs through the first week of November, so you have plenty of time. Bonus: since it’s in Takeo Onsen, you can take the new-ish West Kyūshū Shinkansen.

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teamLab updates

In other teamLab news, Planets is still closing at the end of 2023, so you have just six months to see this Tokyo attraction. Unfortunately, we can also report prices go up from July 1.

In case you’ve slept on other recent openings, there’s now a permanent installation in Osaka: teamLab Botanical Garden opened in summer 2022.

Naked Summer Festival in Kyoto

Not to be outdone, creative agency Naked — another major player in the digital art space — is doing something called Naked Garden One Kyoto 2023. This includes a reprise of the popular Naked Summer Festival at Nijō Castle, where projection mapping meets summer festival vibes.

Theme park summer events

Want to know what’s happening at Japan’s theme parks this summer? Beyond record-high prices, that is.

Universal Studios Japan

USJ is famously home to the world’s first Super Nintendo World, which opened in 2021. Super Mario Power-up Summer is a new event for summer with opportunities to cool off with water. There is some cool-looking merch, too. Runs July 5 through August 24.

Super Nintendo World at USJ in Osaka. | Photo by ©️Nintendo 画像提供:ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン

For Potter fans: Don’t forget the limited-time Magical Creatures Encounter at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is running now until December 31, 2023.

Upcoming closures at USJ

Some upcoming closures to consider: following a 20-year-run, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 4K3D: The Ride will close permanently on January 22, 2024.

Meanwhile, classic riverboat attraction Jurassic Park: The Ride is closing on September 4 for “major renovations” projected to be completed in 2025.

What do you think, Cheapos? Go now? Or wait until 2024, when the new Donkey Kong Expansion Park is supposed to open?

Cheap summer USJ tickets

If you’re the spontaneous type, you can still get tickets online at the low rate of ¥8,600 for weekday visits through July 21. After that, summertime peak pricing kicks in.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disneyland is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and has just announced that it will be launching a drone show this year. Otherwise, the most exciting news looks to be the regular summer water attractions returning to both parks.

Tokyo DisneySea is bringing back the “get soaked” version of Aquatopia for the first time in four years; meanwhile, Disneyland once again has Splash Mountain “get soaked MAX” (extra splash-y Splash Mountain).

Also at Disney this summer: a Baymax float that travels the parade route misting guests AND roaming cast members who will, apparently, throw buckets of water on you (if you ask). Summer 2023 at Tokyo Disney Resort is, officially, from 4 July through 6 September.

Fuji Q Highlands

Fuji Q Highlands — the only one of these theme parks famous for thrill rides — is debuting a new roller coaster this summer: Zokkon. It’s a motorbike-style coaster that looks especially fun for families; the height requirement is 120cm.

Zokkon opens July 20, and we may be getting a peak at that as well… Note that Fujiyama King of Coasters is now closed for maintenance.

Fuji Q is about two hours by bus from Shinjuku. It’s near Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji, both popular summer destinations.

Speaking of Fuji, one of us is thinking of climbing the famous mountain this summer. Stay tuned…

Summer day trips

Our Youtube team has been busy over the last few months compiling video guides to some top day trips. All of these make for great summer escapes from Tokyo. Why not check them out?

Day trip video guides

I’ll leave you with the following, for inspiration.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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