COVID emergency shuts Japan’s Super Nintendo World one month after opening

The highly anticipated Super Nintendo World section of Universal Studios Japan will be temporarily closing a little more than a month after its delayed opening, along with the rest of the park, due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in Osaka.

“Today, Universal Studios Japan has decided to temporarily close our park due to the substantial business shutdown request to operate with no spectators which was issued under the state of emergency for Osaka prefecture,” reads a note on the Universal Studios Japan website.

The closure comes just weeks after Universal Studios Japan was forced to limit visitor numbers amid rising case rates in Osaka. Universal Studios Japan was previously closed for COVID from February 29 through June 7 of last year. The latest closure will be effective April 25 and will last “until the request has been lifted.”

Osaka was one of four Japanese prefectures subject to a state of emergency, declared on Friday, which will be in effect until May 11 to contain the latest coronavirus outbreak in the country. Restaurants serving alcohol and karaoke bars will be fully closed, and other restaurants will be asked to close by 8 pm under the order.

Osaka has logged over 1,000 new coronavirus cases per day for the last four days, contributing to a total of 72,000 confirmed infections amid a population approaching 2.7 million people. Japan as a whole has averaged about 4,500 new cases a day over the last week, up significantly from its 1,200 new cases per day a month ago. Japan has been slow to obtain and administer COVID vaccinations so far; only about 1.3 percent of the Japanese population has gotten at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday.

The opening of Super Nintendo World, originally planned for the summer of 2020, was initially delayed to February of 2021 due to COVID restrictions. In January, the opening was further delayed before finally opening on March 18, complete with NFC Power-Up Band support and augmented reality rides.

While masks have been required at the park for the entirety of the pandemic, famed Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto briefly appeared maskless in photos of the opening ceremonies on March 18.

Coronavirus restrictions have pushed back the planned opening of a Super Nintendo World area in Universal Orlando’s upcoming Epic Universe park from 2023 to 2025. Construction on a Hollywood edition of Super Nintendo World started last August, but no plans for an opening date have been announced.

Listing image by Universal Studios Japan