Today we will be experiencing Hollywood with an Asian twist. We are headed to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. It involved some trains of course, taking the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka then the Kyoto Line Rapid Service to Osaka and finally the Osaka Loop Line to Universal City. The last train was a sardine can but almost all got off at Universal City. Looks like we have got the wrong day. It appears that today is the start of Spring Break with all the Universities on holidays. Given that today’s weather was to hit double figures, it looked like every student was here.
The entrance to Universal Studios looked like the others with the big globe with this being our sixth visit to now 3 different Universal Studios. The others being Universal California and Universal Florida. For Japan it is its 5th anniversary but they still have many of the “old” rides and shows. The movie “Backdraft” was released in 1991 but the show is still here.
We were told to head straight to the Harry Potter ride as the lines get very long later in the day. We were here only half an hour after opening and the line was already 3 hours long. No way we were standing in that so it was off to Jurassic Park where we were straight on using the singles line. This ride is another dated ride with the movie released back in 1993. Even the dinosaurs seem to show their age with not very smooth movements.
Jenny and the kids then lined up for 90 minutes for the “Flying Dinosaur” ride while I head off to do the less popular rides in “Backdraft“, “Spiderman” and “Terminator“. I have been through Backdraft a few times and it was the same except that Ron Howard and cast all spoke Japanese. The same was for Spiderman and Terminator.
We all joined up again for the midday “Waterworld” show where all the cast was Japanese except for the two main leads that were western but spoke Japanese. I need to watch the movie again even though it was released in 1995.
It was time for lunch and all the outlets were expensive for Japan but hey it is a theme park. We settled on various chicken, pork and corn meals at the Harry Potter Three Broomsticks restaurant. Jenny and the kids then headed off to join another line, this time for the “Hollywood Dream the Ride“, while I checked out some more of the shows, Monsters Live Rock and Roll, Curious George (definitely for younger kids) and Shrek 4D (very different with Japanese speaking).
We all got back together again and headed through Backdraft as Justin didn’t know the movie at all. After-all he was not born when it was released. The rides were starting to close due to the length of lines so we missed a couple. One last try for the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey“. The line was supposed to be 80 minutes but seemed to be moving reasonably quickly so we managed it in 60 minutes. As we exited, it was dark and the light show on the castle was underway. It is a 5 minute show projected onto the Harry Potter castles and run every 10 minutes. It is well worth it.
Universal City closed at 1900 and the throngs of people all headed to the train station. We were not sure we would make a train anytime soon but walked up to the very end and found a carriage that wasn’t as sardine as the others. This was the Osaka Loop line through to Osaka.
At Osaka it was decided to find a meal that was reasonably priced since lunch was very expensive. After checking out a number of restaurants and walking around in circles we found TGI Fridays for some western food which was good but ended up being expensive as they slapped a 10% surcharge for dining after 1700, on top of the normal 8% tax.
There were no trains from Osaka back to Kyoto so a quick one stop on the Kyoto Line to Shin-Osaka. We missed the last Shinkansen back to Kyoto by 2 minutes so caught the Special Rapid Service from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto.
Tickets for tomorrows train to Himeji procured then it was back to the accommodation for some well deserved rest. It was a long day and 22200 steps.