Japan is truly a place of great amusement parks, though sadly many were abandoned after the Japanese bubble. However, there are still many amusement parks worth visiting even if they are not located anywehre near the big cities of Tokyo or Osaka. Porto Europa is one of these amusement parks. Located in in Wakayama Prefecture, Porto Europe helps people feel like the are in a beautiful European town in the Amalfi Coast.
Located inside Wakayama Marina City, Porto Europa is a full-scale reproduction of the streets of France, Italy, and Spain. This European-style theme park will indeed give you the feeling of visiting Europe without leaving the country. Take a stroll inside and take social media-worthy photos at these interesting areas in the park!
A few meters away from the entrance gate, a stone bridge will welcome you as you enter this small European village replica. Walking past the bridge is a small plaza with what looks like a typical Spanish fountain at the center.
This is a small courtyard that depicts the back alleys and streets of Italy. Get captivated by the beauty of this piazza enclosed by old Italian-style buildings.
Stone stair steps along a narrow alley, in a piazza, at the entrance of a house, or any public building is a common architectural design in Europe. Porto Europa also has this type of stone stairs. Walking along this alley inside the park will make you forget that you are in Japan.
A fortress and home for royal and noble families, castles are part of Spain’s culture and history. In fact, there are hundreds of castles built in Spain since the medieval times. In Porto Europa, a castle replica was created for tourists to experience and admire. A walk through the sloping street of Via Portofino will lead you to this castle. Its stone wall, tower, and other details were carefully recreated which makes it a perfect place to take your photos.
Not only will you enjoy the European atmosphere at Porto Europa, but there are also some fun and exciting rides which you can try inside the park.
If you’re into adventurous and thrilling rides, try the High Dive ride. This is recommended if you don’t mind getting drenched since this coaster ride will take you on a thrilling 22-meter plunge down to the stream below. It is also the best way to get a little bit of splash of water after a long walk under the sun. The fee for this ride is 700 yen per person.
For 500 yen, you can experience being swung back and forth several feet high in the Twin Dragon gondola ride. Make sure to get your throat ready for some fun screaming.
Do you love riding swings? Try the Wave Swinger ride and enjoy being lifted and swung at a high speed, 12 meters above the ground. The fee for this ride is 500 yen per person.
The Astro Space Fighter and 4D Theatre can also be enjoyed for 400 yen and 500 yen, respectively.
The following are child-friendly rides and attractions:
- WAKKA Ferris wheel
- Honey Hatch
- Cafe Cinnamon
- Arabian Merry
- Anpanman’s Happy Sky
- Water Show
- Exciting Animal Kinship Village (Petting Zoo)
- Adventure Kids island
- Game Land “Bally”
Want to fill your tummy before and/or after enjoying Porto Europa’s attractions? Several restaurants, cafes, and food kiosks can be found inside the area. From coffee shops to Italian and Japanese restaurants, many establishments are open to serve you filling and delicious food. Soft creams, iced drinks, and several refreshments are also available to quench your thirst and satisfy your craving for sweet, icy drinks after all the walking and fun.
Taking a walk inside and exploring Porto Europa is free of charge, however, you have to pay for each ride you want to go on. There is a free pass available at 3,800 yen for adults and 3,200 yen for children. While the prices might be way cheaper than tickets to the Tokyo Disney Resort or Universal Studios Osaka, it must be important to notice that the admission fee does not include amission to rides. Sadly, this practice is not so uncommon. Despite this, many of the negative reviews the resort receives is from people who were not expectcting to pay a lot of money to ride various attractions, resulting in their park visit becoming quite expensive. If you want to visit, plan accordingly so there are no surprises. That way you will fully enjoy this beautiful theme park.
If you are coming from Kansai Airport, take the JR or Nankai train to Wakayama, and then take a bus (bus numbers 42/43/121/122) bound for Wakayama Marina City. If you are coming from Osaka City, take the Nankai train (limited express) to Wakayamashi Station, and then take a bus to Wakayama Marina City.
Porto Europa is a great place to visit if you want to get a glimpse of what France, Italy, and Spain look like. Although it is not the same as traveling more than 5,000 miles to Europe, if you can’t leave the country or can’t afford to travel that far yet, try to include this theme park to your list of must-visit places in Japan.