The most popular theme parks in Japan are Tokyo Disney and Universal Studios in Osaka. There are actually a lot of Japanese ones in existence, but the theme park business is competitive and sometimes it is difficult to stay afloat.
The most popular home-grown amusement parks probably have to be the ruins of amusement parks. I actually tried and decided to visit one of them near Tokyo. The results were not as cool as I had hoped. You can read about that escapade here.
Here are some amusement parks that are local, home-grown and have some pretty unique themes!
Nature and roller coaster attractions come together
Rusutsu Resort, Hokkaido
Rusutsu prides itself on being one of the “leading highland resorts in Japan.” Where you can enjoy both amusement park rides and outdoor activities. There are also hotels and a mall close by, so you can stay in the area and not worry about getting to the amusement park early.
http://rusutsu.co.jp/ (Site available in English!)
Attractions: 8 large rollercoasters, 11 other ride including a free fall, etc., a pool area, go carts, and a children’s area.
Activities: Rafting, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, golf, and hot air balloon flights.
Admission：1 day pass for adults 4,950 yen, elementary school kids 3,950yen, kindergarten or senior citizens 1,200 yen, admission free for under 3
Access: Free shuttle bus from Sapporo Station. You must call （011-272-3111） to make the shuttle bus reservation beforehand. 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport
Closed: October 14th to 17th
Meet Hello Kitty and surround yourself with KAWAII
Sanrio Puro Land
This place was built for Sanrio fans and expecially fans of Hello Kitty. It is all about Hello Kitty at Sanrio Puro Land. The gift shop is located outside of the theme park, so this might even just be a good place to pick up some special Sanrio goods.
http://www.puroland.co.jp/english/welcome.html (Site available in English!)
Attractions: several attractions where you journey through different character’s worlds, there are several musical performances, shops and a big parade event
Admission： weekends and holidays: adults 3,800 yen, children (3-17 yrs) 2,700 yen
weekdays: adults 3,300 yen, children (3-17 yrs) 2,500 yen
Access: a 5 minute walk from Tama Center Station
Admire Mt. Fuji while on top of a roller coaster!
Fuji Q Highland
This park has some pretty good roller coasters and is a good stopover if you are on your way to Mt. Fuji or want to leave Tokyo for the day. Good for fans of Evangelion! You can see the only to-scale piece of an Eva that exists!
http://www.fujiq.jp/ (multilingual site!)
Attractions: there are 4 major roller coasters and about 22 attractions total.
Activities: hot springs are also in the nearby area
Address: You have to go by bus or by car. Buses can be reserved here.
Admission：Adults 1,300 yen, children (3-11 yrs) 700 yen
Free pass: adults 5,000 yen、12 yr-17yrs 4,500 yen、3-11yrs 3,700 yen
Experience Brazil (?) while in Okayama!
Brazilian Park Washuzan Highland, Okayama
Ice skating, inline skates, swimming pools and samba festivals?! Where else can you experience the variety of entertainment that Washuzan has to offer? The restaurant has a good view of the Seto Insland Sea.
http://www.w-highland.co.jp/global_en/ (multilingual site!)
Attractions: 2 roller coasters, skating facilities, bungee jumping, a giant pool and more.
Admission：adults (14 yrs+) 2,800 yen、kids 2,200 yen, kindergarten 1,700 yen
50 yrs to 59 yrs, 1,700 yen, 60 yrs+ 500 yen
Access: 5 minute bus ride from Kojima Station. Get off at Kojima I.C. if you are coming by car.
Hot springs plus amusement
Nagashima Spa Land, Mie
There is a large kids area, a shopping mall nearby and hot springs, so the area is worth checking out.
http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/index.html/ (Japanese HP)
http://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/resort/download.html/ (English guide available)
Attractions: 17 rides including roller coasters and a large ferris wheel. The kids area is also very large and has 28 attractions.
Admission: adult 1,600 yen, elementary school 1,000 yen, toddler 500 yen
passport (unlimited rides and attractions) adult 4,300 yen、elementary school 3,400 yen、toddler 2,100 yen
Access: 20 minutes by bus from Kuwana Station. Get off at Wangan Nagashima IC if going by car.