JAPAN 2017 | Osaka: Universal Studios

My second day in Osaka was dedicated to one activity only – Universal Studios. I was excited beyond words. I had bought the ticket online the day before on the Universal Studios website, the Japanese version, you actually can’t buy tickets from the English website. The process was all done in Japanese, and being a non-Japanese speaker, it would have been near impossible to navigate. However, there are a number of useful tutorials floating around the internet, and I followed this one to purchase the ticket.Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI arrived at 9.30am, and the theme park was already filled with people! I knew where I was heading into though – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! You have to first get a numbered ticket, which assigns you a time to enter WWHP, I’ve heard that if you get in late, you may not be able to enter until 5 or 6pm, which is not ideal, because waiting for the ride – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – alone takes two hours. I was lucky enough to have gotten the early-ish ticket, and the line entering WWHP wasn’t too bad either.Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetAfter walking through some hedges, the Flying Ford Anglia is waiting for you at the corner. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe feeling of entering WWHP is indescribable. I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, it being the first series that actually got me into reading, and then patiently waiting for each movie to come out every year. It definitely felt like I was entering somewhere magical. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetYou can choose to have the Butterbeer hot or cold, in a plastic cup or in a collectable mug, I chose the latter, because it was definitely one of the cheaper memoraphilias.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAfter a quick browse around, I joined the line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and although the wait was two hours long, there was plenty to see every time you entered a new area, making things interesting throughout.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetThe ride was incredible, hands down my favourite experience in Universal Studios. I’m not going to say too much about it because I think it’s better to go in blind, but trust me, it is worth the wait.Processed with VSCO with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb1 presetThere are plenty of shops to browse through in WWHP, including Honey Dukes, Ollivanders, Zonkos’, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Owl Post and Owlery, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confisticated Goods. The souvenirs do get repetitive after you’ve entered a few shops, but it was fun nonetheless. The one thing I was set on buying is the knitted jumper that Mrs Weasley handmakes for all of the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione, but it unfortunately was unavailable in Japan. I settled for a Ravenclaw scarf.

Some other fun things to do in WWHP include the life demonstration at Ollivanders, it was interesting to hear the American man perform the scene from the first Harry Potter movie in Japanese. There is also a live performance of the Hogwarts Choir in the square.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI bought food from 7/11 in the morning, knowing that dining at the theme park itself would be extremely pricey, and there wasn’t any place I wanted to try in particular. However, I couldn’t resist the $5 minion bun, but hey, that’s not too steep for a solit photo op.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetBesides WWHP, Universal Studios is divided into seven sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Amity Village. Water World and Universal Wonderland; with rides including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 4K3D, Hollywood Dream. Jurassic Park. Jaws, Terminator 2: 3-D and Backdraft.

There are obviously plenty to do and see, and you’re not going to be able to go on all the rides in just a day, especially with long waiting time for each ride, so it is worth planning your day ahead, and decide where you want to spend your time. You also have the option to purchase the Express Pass 7 or Express Pass 4 to shorten your wait time significantly. However, keep in mind that these passes can cost as much as the ticket itself.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Me in my new scarf taking incredibly cheesy photos at the direction of the guides on-site

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetI went on a couple more rides in the afternoon, and just walked around different areas, soaking everything in. Given that I visited Universal Studios in mid-January (yup, January 2017), the Christmas light show was still on every night, and that was spectacular in itself.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

After spending the entire day in Universal Studios, I was tired, hungry, but filled with joy. There is a plaza-like area just outside of Universal Studios, with plenty of dining options available. I settled for some udon with fried goods. The handmade udon is better than any that I’ve had in Australia, with various toppings available, and you have the option to add soup from the soup dispenser. Unfortunately, because the fried goods had been sitting there for a while, it was not as crispy as I had hoped. The meal was satisfying nonetheless.

Osaka provided me with some of the most amazing experiences, and I picked up some takoyaki on the way back to my hostel to commemorate my last night here. Onto Kyoto we go!

Spending Tracker

7/11: 1005JPY ~ 12.4AUD
Butterbeet: 1100JPY ~ 13.6AUD
Harry Potter postcard: 700JPY ~ 8.2AUD
Minion bun: 550JPY ~ 6.8AUD
Udon: 940JPY ~ 11.6AUD
Takoyaki: 450JPY ~ 5.6AUD

Total: 4745JPY ~ 58.2AUD

Advertisements

JAPAN 2017 | 9D9N itinerary

At the beginning of January, I went on a three weeks trip to Japan and Korea, having been to neither countries before, I was extremely excited!

Over the course of the three weeks, I took an obscene number of photos (naturally), and I thought long and hard about how I should document my experience, and I’ve finally decided to first, start off with a brief overview of my entire itinerary, and then go into details about each day in separate posts. Unlike my previous travel posts where I separated things that I did and food that I ate, they’ll be mashed up into daily posts this time round, just because, well, I think it makes more sense that way. I will also include a spending tracker after each post, and I’ll be working out a more detailed log, basically summarising what I spent my money on, and how much I think is reasonable when travelling in Japan and Korea.

A few things to note before I start, I went during the middle of Winter, I was on my own most of the time, and I wasn’t really on a budget, but I didn’t splurge either. There will be some additional posts that address tips when travelling around these two countries, best way to get around Japan, and things like that and how much money I actually spent (yes I was super OCD and recorded everything down).

Okay enough rambling, here’s my itinerary for the nine days I spent in Japan!

Day 1: arrive in Tokyo; having dinner with a friend in Tofuro, Ginza

Day 2: Tokyo: Tsukiji Market; Asakusa; Shinjuku

Day 3: Tokyo: University of Tokyo; catch the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Yokohama;
Yohohama: Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum; catch the Shinkansen from Yokohama to Osaka

Day 4 part 1: Osaka: Osaka Castle; Kuromon Ichiba Market

Day 4 part 2: Osaka: Owl Cafe; Dotonbori

Day 5: Osaka: Universal Studios Japan

Day 6: Catch the Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto;
Kyoto: Kinkakuji; Kiyomizu-dera

Day 7: Get from Kyoto to Naoshima (took a few trains and ferries, hence ‘get’ instead of catch the Shinkansen, if only);
Naoshima: Bennesse Art Site Naoshima

Day 8: Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha; Arashiyama; Nishiki Market; Kichi Kichi Omurice; catch the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo

Day 9: Tokyo: Shibuya; Shinjuku; Harajuku; spend the night in Narita Airport (yay)