It was around 4PM in the afternoon, we were set to travel from Hiroshima to Kyoto. We spent at least 1.5 days in Hiroshima and so far we enjoyed the adventure we had. When the time that we were moving again to another destination in Japan, distance between these two prefectures seems not an issue. Transportation is one of the great thing that we enjoyed within Japan specially their trains. We traveled to Kyoto Station through Shinkansen train from Hiroshima Station and we only traveled more than 2 hours between two stations.
We arrived at Kyoto past 6:30PM and we met the AirBnB host of the accommodation that I booked online at Mc Donalds in Kyoto Station. He’s a young man and a business student Japanese who owns a small two-storied unit near the Kyoto Station. We walked from Kyoto Station around 5 minutes and we reached his house. His unit just recently renovated and even it has only basic stuff in his house, we still enjoyed our three nights stay in his unit. He speaks English very well and I don’t have issues in communications with him.
After meeting him, my sister and I left my parents in the unit to buy our dinner for the night. And then we came back in the house and had our dinner. We took off some of our stuffs so we can do our laundry. Then had a rest for the day.
The next day was Thursday and the original plan for that day is to explore Nara. But my sister requested it to change since she like Universal Studios in Osaka than in Nara. Nara is my preference because I really like old town and historical places but I gave way to my sister since I can return in Japan within my 5 years visa that was given to me and my family just had single entry visa.
Because we have 7 days Japan Rail Pass, we can choose to take Shikansen train from Kyoto to Osaka Station but that day we never tried because I thought that if we took Shinkansen its better if we book it prior to our travel, but since I did not book it even though there are seats for chance passengers for unreserved seat I chose the regular train instead. I really don’t know what I was thinking that time and we traveled more than half an hour from Kyoto to Osaka. If we took Shinkansen, it maybe only around 15 minutes. We still took JR trains and our train pass still valid for our travel. We reached Osaka Station. Then we transferred to a local train from Osaka Station that goes directly to JR Universal City Station.
When we reached the JR Universal City Station the heavy rain fell. From the station we were still able to walk near the main entrance of the theme park which called as Universal City Walk and the area is surrounded by different shopping stores where our eyes enjoying the sight-seeing while walking along the way. Before we bought the ticket, we went the nearby store and bought our rain coat. Even its raining there are lots of people visiting the famous park. For my sister and I, it’s a second Universal Studios that we visited. The first one was in Singapore.
We lined in ticketing queue and bought our tickets. Even the weather was quite gloomy, our excitement never gone. In a theme park like Universal Studios, I felt like being a kid again. It’s kind of place that I forget reality of life for a moment, it’s a place where to enjoy regardless of age.
Here’s the one day adventure we had in Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN – OSAKA
From the main entrance we walked in the main road together with other many visitors. While walking around the theme park, stopping in some areas for a photo snapshot was already part of the adventure. Using the map that was given to us, we started looking at it and exploring the theme park.
Our first stop was photo shots at the front of Cinema 4D wherein the available shows listed at the front of the theater were the following: Shrek’s Adventure 4D and Sesame Street 4D Movie Magic.
Looking at the theme park map
Next, we move forward towards Space Fantasy and again we took photos of around the area.
NEW YORK – Themed after New York City
After few minutes, we found ourselves inside the Terminator 2 3-D, where it combines actors and movie effects to be are part of the movie. As we seat and watch, we enjoyed the action packed 3D movie and made us feel it’s real as we were part of it.
After watching the Terminator 2, we went outside and realized that the other side is Gramercy Park where we found a replica of Universal Globe stage
Near Gramercy Park is The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Surroundings of New York
We had lunch in one of the restaurant in New York named Louie’s NY Pizza Parlor Restaurant. We spent almost an hour before we continued our exploration in the movie theme park.
SAN FRANCISCO – Based on the city of San Francisco
Beside New York is San Francisco. The settings of the area got from the city of San Francisco.
After walking a bit in New York, we reached San Francisco. How I wish in reality New York and San Francisco are just beside each other but in reality it’s not, for what I know its four hours flight apart. In Universal Studios, they are beside each other. We just took a few steps from New York, we were already in San Francisco. The first thing that greeted us was the Minions, then we walk towards the ‘Backdraft’ from a movie and we found Happiness Cafe, The Dragon’s Pearl, Wharf Cafe and Lombard’s Landing that surrounds the pier .
One of the rides that we took in San Francisco was the “Back To The Future – Ride”. Here the whole family join the ride. Of course we consider my mother as she is not used to ride but since its a car, I got a feeling that its more comfortable than the other rides. The experience we had in the rides together with my mother which not used to the said adventure, she’s really nervous and all of us tried to comfort her and made her feel relax. During the ride, I cannot forget her reactions and responses while we were in the ride, she’s really scared and surprised in the whole duration of the rides and in effect, I tried my best to reassured her that we were there for her and she can hold us to make her feel secure during the adventure.
From San Francisco, we passed the Jurassic Park area because at the time we visited, the area was under renovations. We also passed the Amity Village and Water World for the mean time. Therefore, we walked straight towards the most famous area of the theme park which is “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” one of the newest attractions that Universal Studios is offering.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When we reached the location near the entrance, there were some crew whose checks the time entry ticket to confirm the time entrance of the visitor in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And we were a bit of surprised since we do not have one. And I inquired with some crew and advised us get the ticket at the booth. At that time, we don’t know where is the ticket booth. We walked back to the entrance and for some reason we queued in one line at the right side of the entrance and never even checked the ticket. I think they checked the time entry ticket to control the number of people in the attractions since a lot of people coming to that attraction.
Even we haven’t had the ticket, we still managed to get inside the attraction. We were so grateful that we found the attraction since the area made us feel that we were really in the world of Harry Potter. The place are set with the ambiance of the Harry Potter movie which includes the village of the wizards and the famous Hogwarts Castle. Because we were too late to get time entry ticket when we entered the theme park, we only got a chance to see the area. We never got a chance to take the ride of the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D” which I considered the most famous ride in the theme park. From the entrance of the attractions, we grab the chance to take pictures together as family as our souvenir in the place. Then, we walked around the village to see more, we found diners and restaurants available inside the village.
Some snapshots inside the village of the wizards
Our walks continued until we reach where most people go, the Hogwarts Castle. Near the gate, we found some group of look-alike wizards, singing like a choir which entertains people. If we saw a lot of people in the village there are far more at the vicinity of the castle. There are lots of people waiting in the queue. If other attractions just have at least few minutes to less than an hour of waiting time, its different in “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D”, because the waiting time is at least 3 hours. And I looked at my watched and we were running out of time but still we eager to go inside the ride. I told my family to stay and wait for me so I can checked the booth and taking my chance if I can still get ticket for the ride. I went outside the attraction and looked for the booth. I found the ticket but unfortunately it’s already closed. My hope was gone and I can’t do anything about it. Universal Studios Japan was the second Universal Studios that I visited, the first one was in Singapore, but it’s quite different from what I remembered, we were not aware about the ticketing in the machine so you have the timings when to visit the ride. I never remembered there was such thing in Singapore when I visited last 2013, but its more than two years and there could be a lot of changes happened in the theme park. If only we were aware, we might prioritize the Harry Potter attractions among those attractions we found in the theme park. Because we lost our chance in the ride, what we did was to go around the attraction and took pictures as long as we can. That’s how we enjoyed “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”
Hogwarts Castle Snapshots
Side views of Hogwarts Castle
AMITY VILLAGE and WATER WORLD
There were two major areas we just passed and we just took souvenir photos in the place as the time we had in the park became limited because we need to go somewhere else in the evening. These two attractions are Amity Village where movie JAWS ride can be found and WATER WORLD.
The last but not the least area we visited was Universal Wonderland. As you can see, these attractions are mostly for young children as the concept were design for wholesome and family alike adventures. Not all rides of course are available for adult but there were rides which allows children with adult company. But we enjoyed the area as we had fun in attractions such as Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream rides and Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection
Inside Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection
Hello Kitty’s Fashion Avenue
Big Bird’s Big Top Circus
Elmo’s Little Drive near Moppy’s Balloon Trip ride (at the back)
Big Bird’s Big Top Circus and Moppy’s Balloon Trip ride
As we leave Universal Studios, we had a chance to take some time and appreciate the surrounding areas, because at the time we were on our way to the theme park, we missed to see how fascinating the area can be due to rain.
Universal City Walk (towards Universal City Station)
As we experience the theme park and as we tried some of the rides. We had some delayed understanding while roaming around the park regarding the rides entrance. There’s a priority ticket which bypass most of the queues. For a regular ticket which we just understand a bit of late wherein in every rides, there’s entrance reservation kiosks where you have to reserved for the next scheduled entry. We were able to follow the rules in few rides but we missed to do it in one of the most visited, one of the newest and exciting ride in the theme park which is Harry Potter. But even though that was the case, we still enjoyed Universal Studios Osaka.