Between jaunting off to Kyoto and Hiroshima on our time down south, we spent some time in Osaka, and experienced Universal Studios, Osaka.
As we were staying opposite Universal Studios Osaka, and the theme park fiend that I am, we spent a day at the first Universal park in Asia. Although now they have a park in Singapore and one in development in South Korea, Osaka was the first dip into the Asian market for Universal Parks.
Having visited the Tokyo Disney resort countless times now I know how the Japanese work when it come to Theme parks. We got to the gate an hour before it opened and waited. Yes, an hour. And we weren’t the first ones there! There were easily a couple of hundred already in position, over the 20 odd gates in. The time was past eating a healthy convenience store breakfast and chugging down some Starbucks to get us perked up.
Now the Japanese are known for their politeness, I have never met another group of people even close to their enthusiasm to help others. Well if you want to see them go crazy, just line up with them in the morning before opening at a theme park. IT. IS. CRAZY. The gates open and the just run, like nothing I have ever seen! Imagine boxing day sales, or black Friday sales, they are like that. For such orderly and calm, polite people, this is where they must get there release!
Well we strolled along looking at the beauty of this park, it reminds me of the Universal studios park in Orlando with its New York streets flanking the entrance, with a great glass canopy over the top to give the masses a place to stay dry. We made our way through watching the Olympic sprinter bolt pass us. The park was stunning and has some classic universal rides.
Two that really stood out to me was the Spiderman ride (which is also in Orlando) its seems like an evolution of the classic Indiana Jones adventure at Disneyland, but with you riding around physical sets with 3d screens blended in, so yes your donning the glasses. It's intense with fire and spinning and free falling simulations, it's an absolute blast, following Spidy around saving New York for another night.
The other ride was a new one for me, Jaws. Now I skipped this in Orlando, which I know regret, as they have bulldozed it for another Harry Potter land. this is Universals answer to the Jungle Cruise. You get on a boat with a tour guide and get taken through Amity village, and naturally a giant shark interrupts your gentle cruise (it's theme park storytelling 101: your going along on a normal tour and something bad happens...) Well, turns out you can't take photos on this ride, as evidenced by this picture:
Our humble skipper trying to get across the language barrier to me, to not take pictures (he was so polite about it too! it was like he was being the inconsiderate tourist) So i tucked the Camera away and enjoyed the ride.
And for your enjoyment, here is my live art peformance of me being eaten by Jaws.
I have my best actor speech ready, don't you worry!
The park has your universal staples like Jurassic Park, Back draft, Back to the Future, Terminator 2, Water world, and a few unique to Universal Studios Osaka, some crazy rollercoaster’s that we didn't get on but they sure were popular with the locals.
They have this giant mini land which is just for the little ones two, it covers Sesame Street, Hello City, and Snoopy. So you will lose your children for hours just here alone, and also your Yen (so many cute (かわいい) things to buy!)
They are currently building a Harry Potter expansion which will be a massive hit, with 5 hour waits for years to come (I'm not kidding, they wait this long for one ride! More on this when we get to Tokyo Disney Resort.)
We ended the day at universal by buying a few Hello Kitty souvenirs for a friend who is oddly obsessed with the feline superstar and grabbed a bite to eat at this crazy restaurant in City walk, Osaka.
So Universal City walk, Osaka is like the rest around the world, Restaurants, shops, the usual things to capture the last few yens in a tourists pocket leaving Universal Studios for the day.
Well we stumbled upon, what on first sight looked like a regular buffet. I guess it was, just with a little twist.
We were seated and found built into the table was this deep fryer. Oh yes, we were about to get our fry on. This buffet was a all you can eat (and all you can drink for an extra 1000Yen, ($10)) however everything was on sticks, and you fried it to your desire. It was a 13 year olds dream! (and maybe ours a little too)
As a novice who was just so overwhelmed by the concept of being trusted with a fryer our first plates came back pretty stocked. Slow and steady wasn't winning this race. I think we would have tried frying the plates if they fit in the fryer, sadly i think they thought of this. It was amazing, like running a stall at a carnival! we started to get adventurous and had a bowl of batter and suddenly everything was battered, you think cucumber is too good for batter? Wrong! in it went, (not great surprisingly!)
Well this was only the start of our self cooking adventure, as the next night we ventured out into Osaka's legendary street, the Dōtonbori (どとんぼり).