If you've never visited Japan before, you should ensure you map out every destination you want to go prior to your travels. It's always a good idea to be prepared, but that is especially true for a place like Japan, which is bursting with so much to do.
There are so many hotspots you must hit to see the sights, visit with the locals, learn the culture, and indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine. If you have time, there are also many theme parks you absolutely must visit. Japan boasts some of the best theme parks in the world, often with attractions you won't find anywhere else.
10 Tokyo Joypolis
Joypolis is both a department store and an amusement park chain. You can find several of them throughout Japan. They include both arcade games and amusement park rides. If you're a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog and other Sega properties, you'll be happy to know that is the general theme of most their establishments.
At one point there were nine Joypolis parks opened, but at present, there are only four left. The Tokyo Joypolis is one of the best. It includes the Gekion roller-coaster, the world's first spinning coaster complete with an inversion. There are also several simulators, including horror attraction Zombie Zoo and VR games.
9 Universal Studios Japan
If you've been to Universal Studios, then you know what to expect when visiting the theme park in Japan. Some of its newest attractions are based on popular video games like Biohazard (known as Resident Evil in the West) and Monster Hunter.
The Japanese Universal Studios also has several attractions dedicated to anime series like Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, Neon Genesis, Death Note, Sailor Moon, Gin Tama, and One Piece. They also have their own Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you're a Sanrio fan, be sure to visit Hello Kitty's Fashion Avenue. A Nintendo theme park is set to open next spring.
8 Nagashima Spa Land
Located in Kuwana, Japan, Nagashima Spa Land is incredibly popular. It's perhaps best known for its Aurora Wheel, which stands a formidable 295 ft tall. If roller-coasters are more your speed, the park has 12 in total. The Acrobat is pictured above.
It is a flying roller-coaster identical to the Manta located at SeaWorld Orlando. Nagashima Spa Land is Japan's largest theme park, with approximately 60 attractions in total. Its famous roller-coaster, Steel Dragon 2000, formerly held the title for the fastest roller-coaster in the world.
7 Edo Wonderland
Edo Wonderland is a unique theme park in that it is all about a specific era. It is considered a "cultural theme park." It brings to life the culture of the Edo period, a time known for its samurai. Everything at the park is made to look like it came from the era, including the buildings and even the staff's outfits.
The park has several theatres and regularly offers plays showcasing ninjas and oiran. There are outdoor events too (depending on the season), and the park even offers ninja workshops.
6 Fuji Q Highland
Fuji-Q Highland is a theme park named for its location. You'll find the front gate located at the base of the iconic Mount Fuji. If you're already planning to see Mount Fuji, you might as well set aside additional time to explore this expansive park. In addition to several roller coasters, Fuji-Q Highland has some terrifying attractions like a haunted hospital.
It also has suitable areas for children, like Thomas Land, entirely based on Thomas the Tank Engine. One of its roller coasters, the Eejanaika, is considered only the second "4th Dimension" roller coaster that has ever been built. It inverts more than ten times during one ride.
5 Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland is special for the fact it was the first Disney park to be built outside of the United States. It has seven themed areas in total: four of them are traditional to Disney, and two are smaller areas called Mickey's Toontown and Critter Country.
If you plan on visiting, you should ensure you visit the unique attractions there you can't find at other Disney Parks, such as Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Monsters Inc. Hide and Go Seek.
4 Tokyo DisneySea
If you could only pick one theme park to visit on this list, Tokyo DisneySea might be the one to beat. It's probably one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world. Areas are designed based on Venice, 1001 Arabian Nights, old-school New York, and more. Mysterious Island, the park's biggest draw, is worth the trip alone.
Related: Every Disney Theme Park, Ranked
Aquatopia is a must if you want to take an unpredictable ride around the park to see the many sights. But you absolutely can't miss Journey to the Center of the Earth, where you board a Terravator down into the earth and then eventually get chased by a lava monster before bursting out of Mount Prometheus.
3 Legoland Japan
Have any kids that love Lego, or just love it yourself? Legoland Japan was the eighth Legoland to be built worldwide and the second one in Asia. With more than 40 attractions, there is plenty to do and see for families who are fans of the Lego brand.
The park is divided into seven zones: Miniland, Lego City, Knight's Kingdom, Adventure, Pirate Shores, Bricktopia, and Factory. While not on the same level as a Disney or Universal Studios theme park, Legoland is still plenty of fun, and it's definitely one of the best places to go on this list if you have children with you.
2 Yokohama Cosmo World
You'll most likely recognize Cosmo World by the giant clock-faced Ferris wheel, the Cosmo Clock, which has become iconic in its own right.
Yokohama is a little different from other parks on this list because you pay for rides individually. That's helpful for people who only plan to go on one or two. They also have combos and package deals if you're planning to ride everything. It's a nice place to spend the day with your family.
1 Sanrio Puroland
Along with Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, Sanrio Pureland is one of Tokyo's most popular theme parks. Unlike all the other parks on this list, Sanrio Pureland is an entirely indoor amusement park. Eat your heart out, Hello Kitty fans: you'll love this place. It features all the popular Sanrio characters and plenty of activites to keep both children and adults plenty occupied.
There's also an excellent performance, a meet and greet with Hello Kitty at a Japanese teahouse, and plenty of great food. Plus, since the park is indoors, it's great all year round!