Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas at Universal Studios Japan

Finally done with organizing and editing all my Japan travel posts so prepare for a lot coming right up! Our first whole day in Japan was spent at Universal Studios in Osaka! It's impossible not to have fun in an amusement park, which is why I was so excited to visit, especially with the rising buzz of the newly-opened Harry Potter area! Read on to see what's inside!

Like most amusement parks, you start out at an old Western town with vintage architecture lined with all kinds of themed souvenir stores.

Out of the shielded area and into old California!

New Wonderland = *the* perfect place to bring your kids. Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Sesame Street - they've got it all! I didn't ride anything here but it was fun to take photos of the features, though!

Even from New Wonderland, you can already see the largest and scariest ride in USJ called The Hollywood Dream. You can see it from almost anywhere in the park like a constant reminder that you should ride it if you're feeling crazy enough! Haha!

Also, I've always thought that couple fashion in Japan and Korea isn't as serious as it's made out to be, but I have never been more wrong! At USJ, I found myself constantly in awe at the effort that couples put into matching their clothes! This was the only good shot that I made and it was of a couple in matching Star Wars gear. It was pretty cool to see how some couples did it more subtly like wearing exactly the same color scheme or the same coats or some who went in costume as matching Minions from Despicable Me! Next time I'm back here, I'm totally taking more couple shots. LOL

Oddly morbid display where a wreath was hung around the supposed corpse of the shark from JAWS. At least it's festive?

The view from the docks of New Orleans. So much effort into recreating these little towns, I can't!

While we were walking, I was wondering where the loud music was coming from and it turns out that they were being played from hidden speakers within the transformers of the fake electrical posts! Genius! #DesignIdeas
When mannequins have a better love life than you - LOL even in their souvenir shops, you can find something to match with either your significant others or just your family and friends!

The entrance to the scariest ride. They actually have this in two modes. One where you ride it facing forward and one where you face backwards but still travel the same trail called The Backdrop! The waiting time is brutal (about two hours) because Japanese people take amusement parks very seriously. There were literally lines everywhere you look! Even for food! Not to be mistaken for some foreigners from Mainland China who are usually incredibly rude (sorry not sorry), the Japanese are really crazy about amusement parks but not to the level that they are willing to push and shove. It's an orderly kind of crazy. Haha!

Santa Squad walking around.
I found their New York City recreation especially cool. You're surrounded by beautifully constructed buildings but the ones behind the giant Christmas tree are actually just cardboard printouts and that blend seamlessly with your view!

P.S. there weren't even any attractions in this area and look at the sea of people! #PeakSeasonProblems

There are also a lot of wacky Japanese people walking around with ridiculously hilarious costumes and lot of other people stop them just to take pictures. These guys in the swan tutus would have to be the champions. Haha!

And finally, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! It really is every bit as amazing as I've seen on social media, but it is a lot smaller than they would have you believe.

There are a lot of Butterbeer stations across the area so you might want to check the ones deeper inside if you're hoping for a shorter line. However, the line is long pretty much everywhere. Haha!

Ready to board the train to Hogwarts?

There's a big Honeydukes store where you can buy all sorts of souvenirs, but if you're just looking for a specific treat you can just check out the carts outside so you don't have to brave the crowd inside the stores. They've got your quintessential Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and other Harry Potter-themed treats!
There is a show at Ollivander's you can watch but as usual there's an unbelievable line waiting for you. Also, the sad thing about the shows and rides in USJ or any amusement park in Japan, for that matter, is that the language spoken is in Japanese which most foreigners can't understand. Not that I'm suggesting that it should be in English, but more like I hope they think of some way for foreigners to understand as well?

Hands-down the coolest souvenir store I've been to are the ones in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Not only do they have the most awesome merchandise, but the decor of the places are things to behold themselves!

Hermione's wand, anyone?

When you visit, you must check out the window displays of the "shops" because there's usually something really cool to see and photograph! There are floating wands, self-writing quills, and all sorts of things that'll make you go, "ooh!"

Flawless landscaping everywhere.

Ending my USJ post with this majestic shot of Hogwarts! The line to the Hogwarts attraction was the longest I've ever seen so needless to say I also wasn't able to see the inside. I really don't recommend going here, or any amusement park for that matter, during peak seasons because it is way too crowded! However, I did enjoy taking photos *so much.*

As for the rides, I was able to try the Back To The Future 3D ride which was fun but I definitely recommend The Amazing Spider-Man! Definitely one of the coolest 4D rides ever, next to Transformers in Universal Studios Singapore. Hopefully, when you get to visit USJ, you'll get to try all the rides, especially the Hollywood Dream! Haha! :D


  1. How I want to visit Japan someday! I've been to Universal Studios but only in LA and in Singapore. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'd be able to go to Japan in the near future.
    -Claire Algarme

  2. Going to Osaka later this month and this is definitely the most important thing on the agenda for me. I have been to Osaka before when Univ Studios was not even a blueprint yet. Hehe.

  3. So lucky! I've been wanting to go! And oh my Christmas day on a theme park sounds like a crowded day. Looks like fun nonetheless and awesome pics you got!

  4. Wow! This is awesome, I was there few month ago during autumn. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride is my favourite.

  5. The last time I went to Japan, I was 7, I think and I have never been back since. I've been planning to go back for the longest time. This is one of the places on my list!

  6. You are 12th person I see posting or going Japan in 2016! Gosh... The only reason why I want to go Japan is because of Hogwarts!

  7. When I visited SG's Universal Studios, I said, I've got to see the other Universal Studios. And coincidental to this post, coz our family's plan is to go to Japan this year! hahaha must be the universe conspiring. :D

  8. Universal Studios Japan is a lot bigger and has more attractions than the one in Singapore. It's definitely a good place to spend Christmas.

  9. A very timely post as we have a scheduled trip to Japan in July. Makes me even more excited to go. Thanks for sharing.

  10. This are really great photos of universal studios, i hope i can bring my kids there someday. (so i have a reason t visit it too hehe)

  11. My sister visited the Universal Studios in Singapore and loved it! I'm not a big fan on amusement parks though... :)

  12. Wow I didn't even realise there was a park in Japan, thats awesome. Looks like you had a fab time. we visited the park in Paris last New Year, it was great.

  13. One day, I will visit this place! thanks for sharing!

  14. I wish I could visit the Hogwarts section as well. My sisters and I are the biggest Harry Potter Fans.