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Movie Entertainment: Sakurajima Island’s Universal Studios Japan
When you get off the Captain Line ferry, you will find yourself on another man-made island. This is Sakurajima Island. You are here to sample Hollywood movies at their best. It opened in 2001 and has remained a popular attraction for Osaka locals and tourists alike. It is second most popular amusement park in Japan after Tokyo Disney Resort.
Universal Studios Japan (2-1-33, Sakurajima, Konohana-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka)
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) covers approximately 39 hectares. It is a theme park where every ride, every shop and every dining experience is based on a movie released under the Universal Studios logo. Your age and movie preferences will lead you to the movie zones that are most interesting to you. These different zones are:
· Amity Village
· New York
· Jurassic Park
· San Francisco
· Universal Wonderland
· The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Each section features shops, rides and restaurants that form around this theme. Currently, the most popular zone to visit is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This is the latest attraction - and opened in 2014. Here, you can dine at the Three Broomsticks (which serves traditional English pub food) or at the Hog’s Head. You can also shop at any of the following stores in a recreated Hogsmeade:
· Zonko’s Joke shop – for unique novelty items
· Honeydukes – for Harry Potter sweets such as Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans™ and Chocolate Frogs™
· Ollivanders – for the wand that will choose you or for a replica of your favorite character’s wand
· Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment
· Owl Post and Owlery
· Dervish and Banger - for Quidditch equipment
· Gladrags Wizardwear
· Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods
If you are enamored with Harry Potter, you are certainly going to want to explore this section. It has recreated in exquisite detail, Hogwarts™ castle including the massive gates and several rooms. If you have ever wanted to visit Dumbledore’s office or ride a hippogriff, the time is now. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D is sure to get your heart pumping and allow you to become completely immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Grab a butterbeer before you head on to explore the rest of the park. Be sure, however, to go online and check ahead to see what attractions are running the day of your visit. Some rides, such as those related to Jurassic Park, were closed during the month of July 2015. However, others remain open.
Rides and Shows
If amusement rides are your thing, then you need to check out the following. They have been part of the park since the beginning and remain very popular:
· The Amazing Spiderman
· Jaws the Ride
· Back to the Future the Ride
· Space Fantasy the Ride
· Hollywood Dream the Ride
There are also shows that draw in the crowds with their spectacular special effects. You have a choice here of childhood movies such as Shrek’s 4D Adventure or more adult movies including:
· Terminator 2 in 3-D
Restaurants and Shops
All of the zones in the park offer dining options. They all offer some form of themed café or dining experience. The same applies to many of the shops. The shops sell movie-themed gifts and other Universal items. If you haven’t had enough of the merchandising, there is a shopping mall just outside the gates. This is Universal Citywalk Osaka.
If you really want to “do” Universal Studios Japan, you will require more than a portion of your day. On this trip, you will have had only a sample of what the theme park offers. On the way back to your rooms, riding from Universal City station to Osaka station, you can plan to come back and play at being a wizard or wander the streets of San Francisco, Hollywood, New York or Amity Village one more time.
PS: Don’t forget to get your picture taken with one of the movie characters.
The Universal Studios Japan can be reached in a 5-minute walk from Universal City Station.
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