Roller coaster enthusiast or not, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka may just be the perfect getaway for you, your family, or sweetheart during the holiday season. From November 15th to January 6th, the park transforms to Universal Wonder where you can experience an overwhelming glow of illuminations throughout the park. According to the 2012 Theme Index Global Attractions Attendance Report, USJ ranks 9th in the Top 25. Last year it attracted 9.7 million visitors (No.1 is Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida at 17.5M)! If you can’t make it this year, you might be excited to know that USJ is expanding to include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening late 2014.
USJ attractions are organized into nine areas: Hollywood, San Francisco, New York, Jurassic Park, Snoopy Studios, Hello Kitty Fashion Ave, Sesame Fun Street Zone, Amity Village, Lagoon & Water World. The main thoroughfare will place you on Rodeo Drive, the famed shopping street of luxury fashion in Beverly Hills. If you’ve never been to the real thing, it’s just like the movie Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts walks down the street in hopes of replacing her wardrobe.
The spacious park offers some of the most awesome rides and show attractions. Our favorite was the coaster Hollywood Dream-The Ride that can be seen traveling above the main entrance of the park. First, you must secure all of your belongings in the lockers provided. Even if you try to bring your camera with you, there are multiple staff members checking and re-checking riders carrying loose items while waiting in line. Once you’re cleared to hop on, you’ll get to choose your background music as you secure your seat. Hang on and enjoy the rush! I’m sure you’ll want to ride this multiple times. In second place, we enjoyed Space Fantasy-The Ride. Don’t let the kawaii (cute) music playing, planetarium decorations, and required picture taking fool you into thinking its going to be a mediocre ride for just the girls. It was amazing and unlike anything we’ve experienced in the states! I don’t want to give it away, but the wait is totally worth it. Our third favorite was The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man™-The Ride. It’s a 4D attraction that will place you right into the violent mix as a reporter in New York City. You’re definitely in for a surprise with this Spidey adventure!
My family and I are from southern California. The days we miss home are few and far between, but living 5,451 miles away from Los Angeles is quite a distance. So, when we experience anything remotely close to what California embodies while living in Japan, it's a real treat! I'm pleased to report that USJ fulfilled every ounce of emptiness and more. We can't wait to jump on the bullet train and head on over to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka once again in the near future.