Universal Studios Japan

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On 13 April 2015, I visited the last theme park I needed for my Universal Bingo. After travelling to Hollywood in 2008, Universal Orlando Resort in 2010/2014, the Singapore park in 2013 and Universal Studios Japan today, I may now officially state that I’ve been to every Universal theme park on the planet. Universal theme parks are known for their screen-based attractions, with or without 3D glasses. That isn’t any different here in Osaka, because this park offers Japanese versions of some Universal classics. You will rediscover Back to the Future (an old-fashioned motion simulator), Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (an intense dark ride with robotic arms, integrated in Hogwarts Castle) and you’ll keep Spider-Man company in his amazing 3D ride. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is one of my favourite rides at Universal Studios Japan, but I didn’t understand a word of it since it’s in Japanese. Everything else is nearly identical to the version in Orlando.

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Universal Studios Japan still features Jaws, so don’t miss this classic attraction which is especially fun if your boat is filled with screaming Japanese school girls. Another legendary Universal ride is Jurassic Park River Adventure. This huge attraction simulates a visit to the world’s most famous dinosaur theme park and it’s one of the most immersive experiences Universal ever created. Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park section is under refurbishment during our visit. The actual ride remains open, but most of its surroundings are hidden behind green construction walls.

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Universal Studios Japan offers 4 rollercoasters and 2 of them are very unique. The first one is called Space Fantasy – The Ride and it’s an indoor spinning coaster built by Mack Rides. The actual coaster part isn’t that intense, but this ride includes stunning theming and beautiful music. The ride simulates a magical journey to outer space and it blew my mind in every possible way. Despite its height of 19 metres and a track length of less than 600 meters, Space Fantasy became of my favourite rollercoasters on Earth. The second unique coaster is Hollywood Dream – The Ride. This miniature B&M mega coaster was constructed next to the park’s main street and it even soars over the entry plaza. It’s a very decent ride, especially because of the great on ride music. We actually ride Hollywood Dream backwards in a red train, an experience which was recently added and named Backdrop. And believe me… a backward B&M ride is certainly exciting.

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Universal Studios Japan added The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2014 and it has been a smash hit ever since. The Japanese absolutely adore this area and queues get ridiculously long, even during weekdays like today. If the wait for Forbidden Journey gets too long… just skip the ride. It’s a pretty awesome attraction, but it’s identical to the one in Orlando, where queues are generally shorter.

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Universal Studios Japan attracted more than 10 million people last year, which means that the park is almost always packed. However, I’d definitely recommend a visit, even if you hate big crowds. Ride capacity at Universal Studios Japan is generally very high and the park has Universal Express for those who want to pay for shorter queues. We used the most expensive Express option and that made our day a lot more enjoyable. Universal Studios Japan is one of Asia’s must-do theme parks: Space Fantasy, Hollywood Dream and Spider-Man are awesome rides and the park’s theming is simply breathtaking. And the best part is… if you reserve a seat on the bullet train, Tokyo Disney Resort is just a few hours away!

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