FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Universal Studios Japan and Butterbeer

FLASHBACK FRIDAY | Universal Studios Japan and Butterbeer

Never underestimate the Japanese’s love for their theme park. No matter how well you thought out your itinerary, thinking you’re saving yourself from the crowds by setting aside a weekday in Osaka to see Universal Studios, the Japanese will prove you wrong. There will be people, and they come in droves.

USJ ext 2
USJ ext 1
USJ crowd 1

But we didn’t mind the crowds, because we went here for the sole purpose of visiting the then newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We came early to USJ. Rode the train to get here, which was hard to miss because there was a Harry Potter wrapped around it.

USJ train
USJ train 2

We were planning to just enjoy the park and thin out the crowd we knew were also coming for the new section of the themepark. We arrived at the Harry Potter entrance, only to realize you need a timed ticket to get in the area. Universal Studios was managing the large crowd and you had to get tickets from the kiosk on the other side of the park for the Wizarding World. You need to get another ticket if you wanna see Harry Potter after already getting a ticket for USJ. We trekked all the way back to the kiosk at 1 pm, which spat out the ticket which enables us entrance at 4 pm!

After 3 hours of strolling aimlessly through USJ, we got back to the Wizarding World. And did not disappoint.

USJ harry potter 1
USJ harry potter 2

The whole area was lifted straight of the Harry Potter pages. As soon as you enter, the very familiar Harry Potter opening sequence soundtrack was playing setting the ambiance. You will feel like you’re walking straight to Hogsmeade. There was a store selling Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, and that had a line. There was a ride inside the majestic looking Hogwarts, and that had a longer line. We settled for a still long, but manageable line selling butterbeer. We got to the end of the line and bought a pint to share in one of them souvenir plastic mugs. I’ve tasted many version of this Three Broomsticks drink, but none of them even came close to the one sold at The Wizarding World. If you were to ask me, USJ’s butterbeer tasted like melted Peter butter ball and sprite.

USJ Olivanders 2
USJ Olivanders

And then there was Ollivander’s, which was selling wands at JPY 3,500 each (or USD 30). It’s a little steep for something that will eventually gather dust in my home so I skipped and went back to my husband who was resting his tired feet and patiently waiting outside.

Jr: What’s inside?
Me: Wands.
Jr: Nice. Does it work?
Me: Ay, hindi ko napatesting. Wait, balikan ko.

Sabaw.


Universal Studios Japan
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward
Osaka, Japan

How we got here: We took the JR Yumesaki Line train to Universal City Station

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VIDEO | Osaka, Japan Travel Vlog – We Came, We Saw, We Ate

VIDEO | Osaka, Japan Travel Vlog – We Came, We Saw, We Ate

I thought that allocating 10 days for our first Japan trip was a little overkill. Jr, who is a workaholic, doesn’t like vacationing as much so this was all me, stretching it. I crafted an itinerary where we are able to see the highlights — those were actually interested in — as well as off-the-beaten sites catering to our interests. I’ve balanced my need to pack it all in Amazing Race style and Jr’s more laissez faire holiday attitude.

And then we got to Japan and realize immediately that 10 days are not enough. You will never see them all.

In our 10 days in Japan, we had two full days in set aside for Osaka. On our first day, we went to Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen museum, where we got to make our own cup noodles. After 3 years, those cup noodles remains untouched and will forever be memorabilias. I know, because I’m staring at them now while they sit up on top of our fridge.

Ramen 01

The next day, we went to Universal Studios Japan. Jr isn’t much of a rides person, and I was just content in walking through the park and taking in the sights while eating turkey legs along the way. This we did while we spent the day waiting to get inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For a fan of both the books and the movies, it was kick seeing Hogsmeade and Hogwarts come to life and it was worth the long, long wait.

Universal Studios Japan, November 2014
Universal Studios Japan, November 2014

But Osaka isn’t known to be Japan’s Kitchen for nothing. Later on that night, we went to Dotonbori and ate everywhere we can eat. Takoyaki, Sushi carousels, Okonomiyaki — the motto was as long as there’s a line, and there’s food at the end of that line, we will fall in line.

Osaka – oishii desu!

Watch the video below:

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