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INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

OSAKA, JAPAN: Day 6 – February 17, 2015




 

Published on: September 24, 2017
 
 
Disclaimer: We didn’t bring our camera, thus all photos are taken using my mobile phone. Apologies for the low-quality photos
 
 

Universal Studios Japan

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Universal Studios Japan Globe

 

Universal Studios Japan is one of the most visited places in Osaka. Spending at least 1 whole day is a must due to the wide variety of attractions.
 
We were supposed to visit Universal Studios Japan on our first day, but upon arrival, we decided to shuffle our itinerary a bit. (Read our First-day itinerary here).
 
Good thing, we didn’t buy our tickets in advance because RJ and I both agreed to move it on a Tuesday. We believed that it may have lesser crowd since it was only the 2nd day of the week— when students are in school and adults are most probably working. We also assumed that since it was winter season, not all tourists are keen to visit an amusement park.
 
 
BOY, WE WERE WRONG.
 
 
Apparently, USJ is not only popular to tourists but to the locals too.
 
IT WAS FULL OF ADULTS AND STUDENTS IN SCHOOL UNIFORMS!
 
Imagine how many times I facepalmed myself.
 

via GIPHY

 
We arrived around 10 am and IT WAS CROWDED! The ticketing was fast despite the long lines, therefore, we were able to go inside sooner. Both online and on-site counters sell the tickets at ¥ 7600. I highly recommend getting the tickets in advance to save extra time.
 

Universal Studios Japan

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Universal Studios Japan Ticket

 
The moment we got inside, we headed straight to the Central Park to get our timed ticket for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Entrance in the WWHP is scheduled to control the crowd coming in. The earliest available time we got was a 2 PM slot, which we thought was okay so we could try other rides first and eat our lunch as well.
 

Where to get the timed ticket for Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Japan

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This is where you should get your Timed entrance ticket for WWHP. (Map from Univesal Studios Japan)

 
After obtaining the timed ticket for WWHP, we went around to look for an attraction with shorter queues.
 

Universal Studios Japan

 

Universal Studios Japan

 

Universal Studios Japan

 

We first tried the Terminator 2 – 3D®; an hour-long guest experience (waiting time included).
The first part of it is an act by a lady that I seriously don’t have any idea what she was doing nor saying because she was talking in Japanese. Then you will be led to a theater where you will be asked to seat and wear 3D glasses. The attraction was a so-called “super 3-D” movie where they mixed 3d movie together with live actor performance. It was okay for me and it is enjoyable.
 

Universal Studios Japan Terminator 2:3D

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Photo from Universal Studio Japan Website

 

After we got out from the Terminator, we realized that it was almost lunchtime. We spent our time looking for food stalls with shorter lines, but again, it was jam-packed everywhere.

 

Our time were wasted in lines, it was almost 2 pm when we finished our lunch and we won’t make it in time for WWHP if we tried one more ride. We decided to roam around first and see what rides we could possibly try after the WWHP. Sadly, because it was winter, most of the water rides were closed. So we thought we would just try the Hollywood Dream later on. Hollywood Dream ride was USJ’s main roller coaster ride.
 

Jurassic Park Turkey Leg Universal Studios Japan

Found this Turkey Leg at Jurassic Park. The ride was close though

 

Attack on Titans

Attack on Titans Statue

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Exactly 2 pm we went inside the WWHP and I was in awe! I felt I was really inside the Harry Potter world. It was just a childhood dream for me, it was so magical.
 

Universal Studios Japan Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Entering the WWHP

 

Hogwart Express Universal Studios Japan

Hogwarts Express Train

 

But aside from my amusement, I also couldn’t believe how much people were inside! I think it was another 50% of the total visitor of USJ. Anyway, since we didn’t want to waste more time, we queued immediately to the first ride that we saw—which is the Flight of the Hippogriff™. We spent about an hour waiting in line for a mini roller coaster, but what the heck, we wanted to maximize our time.
 

Flight of the Hippogriff

Photo from Universal Studios Japan Website

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Harry Potter

While waiting in line, take a photo with Sirius Black’s motorcylce

 

Harry Potter

 
We were laughing our asses off after the ride. We underestimated the ride and thought it was for “babies” and we were not prepared for the sharp turns! We couldn’t even raise our hands up during the ride because we were also freezing, it was freaking cold! I can’t forget that moment.
 
Next is we lined up for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D. We waited in line for more than 2 hours!
 

Hogwarts Castle Universal Studios Japan

Photo from Universal Studios Japan Website

 
But I swear to all of you muggle-borns, it was worth it! This is the ride that you should not miss. Located at the Hogwarts Castle, Harry Potter, and the Forbidden Journey™ is a motion-based ride where we (riders) are taken around Hogwarts. The ride is a mix of screens and built sets and riders are seated in a carriage. The movements are pretty intense that it will totally disorient you and you will never know that you were already tilting almost upside down. The language was in Japanese too but didn’t make the whole experience less exciting.
 

Hogwarts Castle Universal Studios Japan

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Fair warning though, it is not for people who are prone to motion sickness. I don’t want to give away too much detail as it is best experienced with surprises. If you want to see what’s inside the Hogwarts castle without riding, you can have a walk-through at the Hogwarts™ Castle Walk.
 

Hogwarts Castle Universal Studios Japan

 
It was so good that right after we finished the ride, we saw that there was no more line, so we queue up again. It only took us about 5 minutes. Mind you, even for the second time we were still enjoyed it. If you ever tried the Transformer ride in Universal Studios Singapore, I assure you, this is 2 times better than that. It actually did set our standards high for motion-based rides.

And since we finished almost 5 pm, we stroll around the Wizarding World and just see what souvenirs I can buy.
 
I wanted to buy a Voldemort wand at the Ollivander’s Wand Shop but since we were on a tight budget, I was contemplating whether to spend it on a wand or for a Kobe beef. Yes. The food wins. Always.
 

via GIPHY

 
They also sell interactive wands that allow us, muggles, “cast” spells around the Village of Hogsmeade and in Diagon Alley. There are only specific locations you can try the casting of the spell. Recite the spell and flick the wand to see a magic being created right in front of your eyes.
 
Of course, Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience is not complete without trying the BUTTER BEER! A non-alcoholic sweet drink popular in the Wizarding World. You can also get a Large size and keep the mug as a souvenier.
 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

We got the small size only

 
So we got out of Harry Potter around 5:30 pm and guess what? MOST RIDES WERE ALREADY CLOSED. The park closes earlier than usual on winter. I didn’t even see any performances.
 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

Butter Beer Universal Studios Japan

 

I was so sad. We only rode 3 rides! Not planning carefully was a total mistake. It was a disaster. I believe we could’ve done better.

via GIPHY

 
 

Quick Tips when going to USJ

(Based on my own experience)
1. Schedule your visit. There are no assurances WHEN it is less crowded but based on what we saw, we were sure it is extremely crowded on weekends. So try to avoid weekends if possible.
 
2. Buy your tickets online. Although it only took us few minutes to buy the ticket despite the long lines, it is still better to get yours in advance. Every second count! You could also get discounts and promos online, so there’s another reason to buy them in advance.
 
3. Carefully plan your USJ itinerary. Plan ahead what rides you really wanted to try and prioritize them. If I would do it again, I would start with the biggest/most extreme roller coaster. Since I am a roller coaster fan, it’s one of the things I wanted to try IMMEDIATELY. That way, even I could only ride 3 rides in total, at least, I was able to try their best ones. Anyway, when it’s crowded, whatever ride you choose to ride first, you will still end up lining for a long time, might as well line up to the ones you really wanted to try.
 
4. For the Wizarding World, choose the later time slot. I observed that most tourists go straight inside the Wizarding World and they don’t leave!! Visitors are accumulating and they will not leave until around 4 pm. So get probably a 3 pm or 4 pm schedule if there’s any. Try the rides outside the Wizarding World first. Again, this is based on our experience.
 
5. Bring bottled water. You’ll get thirsty waiting in line.
 
6. If you have extra money to spend, get those VIP or Express passes. We regret our decision of not buying because we spent 70% of our day waiting in line.
 
7. Just enjoy. Don’t be rude and just follow the rules and regulations of the park.
 
 

Photos taken: February 2015

 

Read: KYOTO, JAPAN: Day 5 – February 16, 2015

 
 
 
 
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