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Universal Studios Osaka Japan

Universal Studios Osaka Japan is a major theme park in the Osaka prefecture of Japan. Operated by the American film studio, it is the only one such major park here in Osaka, Japan and the second Universal theme park in Asia. The other Asian Universal park being Universal Studios Singapore. Let’s give the park a visit today!

Main Street at Universal Osaka
Main Street at Universal Studios Osaka Japan.

Notably, the one other such park of such a calibre in Japan is Disneyland Tokyo. Just like Disney park, Universal Osaka is similarly well-connected to the Osaka city subway system along the JR Yumesaki Line. The line is also referred to as JR Sakurajima Line. It takes about 30-40 minutes by train west from the city center. Also, the station to go for is called “Universal City“, conveniently named after the attraction.

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To Universal City
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Ticket counters
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Tickets get!

You exit the station right into the Universal broad walk Street decked with lines of shops, food and beverage outlets.

Universal broad walk Street lit at night
Universal broad walk Street lit at night.

Moreover, Universal Studios Japan entrance is just five minute walk from Universal City Station. Also, here you can find various Universal merchandise stores and franchises such as Fridays, and Hard Rock Cafe and shops.

Universal City Walk, a 5 mins walk from Universal City JR Station, decked out at night
Universal City Walk, a 5 mins walk from Universal City JR Station, decked out at night.

Hollywood dream Roller Coaster

Furthermore, Universal Osaka is laid out into seven distinct sections. You enter past the entrance and Universal globe into the Hollywood stretch. This area is themed after the glitz streets of the California district. The ride to go for here is the Hollywood dream.

Universal Studios Osaka Japan Hollywood dream Roller Coaster running through the main street area in the Hollywood sector
Hollywood dream Roller Coaster running through the main street area in the Hollywood park sector.

Moreover, the Hollywood Dream is a Steel sit-down roller coaster made by B&M. Also, interestingly, you can choose to ride it forward or backwards, though the backwards option is not always available. However, it does not distract from the true ride experience.

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Hollywood dream entrance
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over the top!
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Ride loading area

Additionally, the ride is a very smooth non-inverting roller coaster, with several high speed elements and hops which runs on near the entrance to the park. Also, it goes to say you do not need inversions to make a ride great.

Additionally, when strapped in, your harness presents you with a butting selection of 5 music tracks you can choose to be played on your ride. Moreover, the roller coaster cars are decked with spotted LED illumination. It is highly visible at night.

Kiddy Wonderland

Driver orientation training
Driver orientation training? If it fits, it drives!

Moving from Hollywood Dream, a minor section is a kid-orientated section called Wonderland. This sector has Japanese references to Hello Kitty, Snoopy (Snoopy Studios), and Sesame street Fun World. It is tad a mash out of several cartoon franchises in one area.

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Snoopy
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Driving school
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Teacup ride

Also, the sector us complete with kiddy shows, a tea cup ride and mini car rides (Elmo’s Little Drive) to please the little ones. Additionally, the Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue street is decked in Pink, which give this area a Sanrio vibe, a favorite in Japan.

This park sector has a Sanrio Hello kitty vibe
This park sector has a Sanrio Hello kitty vibe.

Catch Monster Jam and the New York sector

Monster Jam is a live stage performance starring Beetle Juice and Universal Monsters
Monster Jam is a live stage performance starring Beetle Juice and Universal Monsters.

Also, the Beetle Juice’s Monster Rock and Roll show is one of the few remaining live performances in the park, and in the world. It is also one of Universal’s oldest attractions too, having started off at Universal Hollywood.

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New York shopping
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Lit at night
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Mel’s diner

Additionally, you might know it as its other name, Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue at Universal Florida too. Moreover, at it’s core, the show is a stage performance featuring Universal monsters.

Universal Studios Japan Universal Monsters rock and roll
Universal Studios Japan Universal Monsters rock and roll entrance.

Also, these monsters are highly related ones we come to know since Universal classical icons. Examples in Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and Dracula to name a few rocking to tunes. The show runs for about 40 minutes, with a 10 minute seating an leaving time.

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Monster rock!
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Let’s dance!
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Got bones?

Additionally, moving on, there were other quirky rides such as titans ride. It is a tame river ride with human acting elements. The difference between this ride and the original is of course it is in Japanese. Notably the ride is still fairly popular. With queues on average at least 30mins.

Amazing adventure of Spiderman at New York sector
Amazing adventure of Spiderman at New York sector.

By the Hollywood sector is New York sector, where you can find Spiderman the Ride. The ride is an indoor tracked-based gondola based motion simulator and pyrotechnics ride similar to the Transformers ride in Universal Singapore. Additionally, it combines a mix of film and animatronics to tell a story of Spiderman’s adventures through the streets of New York.

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Ride Queue area
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Spiderman loading area
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Jaws!

San Francisco Sector

San Francisco Sector, with a recreation of fisherman wharf
San Francisco Sector, with a small recreation of fisherman wharf.

Furthermore, the San Fran sector of the park is themed like the Amity area in the American park. Also, this minor section is themed after a fisherman village with San Francisco pier. Also, a notable ride here is the Jaws boat ride and also the last of its kind here, with the Universal Orlando ride being closed recently.

Water World Live performance. It is tad a carbon copy of the Waterworld performance you see around the world, like Universal Singapore
Water World Live performance. It is tad a carbon copy of the Waterworld performance you see around the world, like Universal Singapore.

Moreover, you can also find the Water World Live performance. Additionally, the park does at least 3 Japanese shows daily complete with pyrotechnics, high aerial stunts and plenty of slapstick comedy.

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Welcome to Waterworld!
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Got splash?
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Audience engagement

Also, notably the show is an exact carbon copy of the Waterworld show performed worldwide. It has the same mix of high speed jet ski chases, smoke, fire, sound and water effects.

Bad and good guys going about their things and spraying water
Bad and good guys going about their things and spraying water!

Only that the show is conducted in Japanese. Nonetheless, the show is a crowd favorite, with shows often being fully packed with a full-house crowd.

Live shows are a crowd favorite in Japan
Live shows are a crowd favorite in Japan.

Minion Town

Welcome to the quirk world of Minion Park. This sector is a nicely themed but otherwise underwhelming sector with a VR simulator ride as its main attraction
Welcome to the quirk world of Minion Park. This sector is a nicely themed but otherwise underwhelming sector with a VR simulator ride as its main attraction.

Furthermore, the Minion park is one of the quirkier parts of the park. It is a small toony themed town sector to that on the despicable me franchise. Here, you find a number of minion specific gift shops selling curated choices of despicable me products (you can also find them at the park’s main store).

Villain HQ
Villain HQ!

Also, there are two rides here in this little joypolis. You have freeze ray teacup carousel suitable for kids and the minion mayhem 4D motion simulation ride.

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Games booths
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Main street
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Got buns?

Additionally, this sector has a quirky toony feel similar to what we see in Toon-town in Disneyland. The sector is really well decorated with a number of carnival style games stores too manned by friendly staff.

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Minion street
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Stores
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Freeze ray ride

Moreover, the Minions 4D ride, Including the pre-show elements will involve a 30min commitment at least for the ride, excluding wait times, which can stretch as long as 2 hours. I found the 4D main ride tad bit over-hyped for what it can offer.

Minions Mayhem ride entrance
Minions Mayhem ride entrance.

Additionally, Minions ride was not overwhelming and I found not quite a good for a ride with 90min queues. I found it is largely based off the ride in Orlando and has a similar layout to Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast ride similar to the old Nick studios. It is strange the Japanese adore the ride though, probably for it’s cute (kawaii) elements.

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Queue area
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Ride pre-show
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Got Minion?

Jurassic Park sector

The Flying dinosaur roller coaster is possibly one of the best rides in the park
The Flying dinosaur roller coaster is possibly one of the best rides in the park.

Furthermore, the Jurassic Park region is one of the few spectacularly themed areas of the park, with a world class roller coaster to boot. Notable rides here includes the Jurassic Park the flume ride and the Flying Dinosaur roller coaster.

Flying Dinosaur inversions
Flying Dinosaur inversions.

The flying dinosaur is a custom B&M flying roller coaster with several looping and inversion elements. It is themed as a robotic flyer allowing guests to “fly with the dinosaurs”.

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Flying dino hill lift
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Ride load area
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Flying posture!

Moreover, the sector is nicely themed after the movie, with large entry gates, electrified fences and lush tropical fauna throughout.

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Welcome to Jurassic park!
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Inside the sector
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Whizzing about

Similarly, you can also, being in Japan, you can also find Jurassic Park and dinosaur-themed Tomica car toys. These are small collectable “Hotwheels”-type toys which can be found almost everywhere in the world. Such as the classic Jurassic Park Ford explorer expedition car. Also, do try the turkey legs here, they are sizable dino-tastic and great for a lunch break.

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By the lagoon
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Grab a stick!
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Got legs?

On food choices, recommendations includes giant Turkey legs which you can purcahse within the Jurassic sector of the park. Moreover, other interesting to-go food includes American hotdogs along the New York Amity pier area.

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Hotdogs
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Yep hotdogs
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Great theming

The Wizarding world of Harry Potter

Welcome to The Wizarding world of Harry Potter in universal Osaka
Welcome to The Wizarding world of Harry Potter!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another key sector of the park. It is accessible via a long walk into an enchanted forest, which gives an impression of a remote location entering Hogsmeade.

Welcome to Hogsmeade
Welcome to Hogsmeade!

Moreover, here, you get a re-creation of Hogsmeade and two rides including the Flight of the Hippogriff, a Vekoma junior roller coaster. The various stores here are functional with a mix of food and gift merchandise stores.

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Entering Hogsmeade
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Flight of the Hippogriff
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Butterbeer!

Moreover, interestingly, Universal Studios Osaka Japan is one of the three places in the world you can buy and taste butter beer. The other two being Universal studios Orlando and the Harry Potter studios in UK.

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Platform 9 3/4
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Inside
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Got sweets?

Also, the highlight ride here is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It is a tracked-based RoboCoaster G2 gondola motion ride built by Universal Creative. It is their flagship ride. The dark ride is tucked inside the Hogwarts castle façade.

Universal osaka Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride entrance.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride entrance.

Here, riders sit in a row of 4 mounted on a robotic arm as seen as that on robotic industrial automation equipment. Also, the ride arms mimics the feeling of flying as it transverse riders through various 4D movie elements as well as physical animatronics in the 4 minute ride.

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Ride entrance
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Ride seats
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Working thru the night

Night attractions

Additionally, Notably, at night, the Hogwarts castle façade turns into a starry light show. It is one of the night highlights here in the park.

Hogwarts castle façade turns into a starry light show
Hogwarts castle façade turns into a starry light show.

Here, the light show is synced to music with several notable characters in the Potter universe projected onto the castle walls itself. It has a dreamy and starry atmosphere. Moreover, it is during this time at the light show where the queues to the ride is the shortest. It is best to ride at this time of the day to beat the day queues (which can extend upwards of 90mins) per ride.

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Night show
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Hogsmeade at night
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Wand tricks

Moreover, an interesting interactive element here in Hogsmeade is the variety of area visitors can interact with their environment with wands. Using motion capture cast spells, guests interact with their environment, like blowing fire from a chimney for instance. Wrapping up the night speculator is the Universal night float parade.

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Fire boom!
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Main street
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T-Rex

Moreover, at night, Universal Studios Osaka Japan runs a daily night light and float show which runs along the main street sector of the park just before closing.

Universal Studios Osaka Japan daily night float light show
Universal Studios Osaka Japan daily night float light show.

It comprises of several notable Universal franchise on floats, such as Transformers, Minions, Jurassic park and more! During the show, the streets are jammed packed with park goers lining the Hollywood streets to catch a glimpse of this parade of acts, acrobatics and lights.

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Bumblebee
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Minions
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More minions

Universal Express

Furthermore, a thing to note is that Universal fast pass is a paid express ticketing service where you can get quick access to triple-A rated rides with long queues. It is a more of a “pay your way” rather than a free balloting one like Disneyland’s fast pass system.

Hollywood dream by the main lagoon at sunset in Universal Osaka Japan
Hollywood dream by the main lagoon at sunset in Universal Osaka Japan.

Lastly, if you forgot to buy universal merchandise on your rush out of the park when closing. Fret not there are several merchandise shops here along the shopping street, with some opening till late.

That's all folks at Universal Studios Osaka
That’s all folks at Universal Studios Osaka!

All in all, Universal Studios Osaka Japan it offers a good balance of theme park offerings for both young and old, able to ride the movies we love. We can also see that Universal is targeted at an older youth crowd as compared to the more family-oriented Disneyland, with more thrill rides to boot. Nonetheless one of the best theme park offerings for your tour of Osaka Japan.

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