JAPAN: Universal Studios Osaka

Osaka Universal Studios Japan archOsaka Universal Studios Japan universal globeUniversal Studios Japan is a must do while in Osaka, especially for theme park lovers like us. As we have said time and time again, we plan our travels around theme parks. That being said, seeing Universal Studios Japan is one of the main reasons we came to visit Osaka, and we were so glad we did because Universal Studios Japan turns out to be the best Universal Studios we've been in(we think that Islands of Adventure is better but it is not "Universal Studios" per se. Operated by the same company, but the theme park itself has a different name. You know what we're trying to say).

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Land of OzUniversal Studios Japan is consists of 9 areas when we were there back in September 2010, some of them are a lot smaller than others. The areas are Hollywood, New York, Lagoon, San Francisco, Amity Village, Jurassic Park, Water World, Snoopy Studios, Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue, and Land of Oz. The Land of Oz area has been closed in 2011 and has been replaced by Sesame Street Fun Zone. This kind of made sense because Land of Oz was the most empty area in the park and Elmo and his friends are really popular in Japan. When it used to be Land of Oz, the attractions are Magical Oz-Go-Round, Toto and Friends, and Wicked which plays a summarized version of the Broadway show with the same name. Based on what we've read from the internet about the replacement area, Sesame Street Fun Zone has a number of attractions mostly for younger kids.

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Amazing Adventures of SpidermanOsaka Universal Studios Japan Upside-down SpidermanThe Spider-Man ride is one of the reason why we were so excited getting to Universal Studios Japan. On our way to the theme park, it is the ride that we were really looking forward to see. This ride is not present in any other theme park named Universal Studios. It is only in Islands of Adventure in Orlando. The ride experience is pretty much identical to the one in Islands of Adventure which is a good thing since it is always rated as one of the top rides in the theme park industry. The only difference is that Spider-Man and his arch-enemies are all talking Nihongo/Japanese in this ride.

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Space Fantasy The RideUniversal Studios Osaka has a number of attractions that are unique to it. The most glaring one is probably Space Fantasy The Ride. We had no idea what kind of ride when we got there and the way they named the attraction, it kinda sound like a ride based on a movie or a comic or something. We are not aware of any movie or TV series or even a comic called Space Fantasy. It is possible that it is a popular movie or series in Japan because it has the longest line. It is also possible that the attraction being new when we were there the reason for the line to be long. Anyways, the ride is like Disney's Space Mountain but you ride on a capsule like car instead of a roller coaster. The ride speeds up on some turns that it kinda get you dizzy especially if your focused on some of the amazing outer-space effects and stars and planets floating around. It also featured some little characters that looks like a cross between a fairy and a conehead.

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Peter Pan Stage
A panoramic shot of the stage for Peter Pan's Neverland
Another unique attraction is Peter Pan's Neverland show. It is the only attraction in the area they call Lagoon. The whole play occurs on the floating Neverland stage set. The most memorable part of the play is when Peter Pan flies above the stage and the lagoon with the help of wires.

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Back to the Future The RideA ride that is now unique to Universal Studios Japan in Back to the Future - The Ride. This ride used to be a staple in Universal Studios Hollywood and Florida and is one of the old time favorites amongst all theme park rides. It still gathers a lot of fans in Osaka and is still one of the rides that takes long queues. It has grown old in Hollywood and Florida so the ride was replaced by The Simpsons Ride. There was some rumors that they were gonna replace the one in Osaka to with The Simpsons Ride but market research says that The Simpsons is not that popular in Osaka and Back to the Future - The Ride is still on of the favorites in Osaka so they kept it.

The rest of the attractions in the park are below:

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Hollywood Dream The RideHollywood Dream - The Ride: a high-speed roller coaster ride where you get to choose a music to be played while you are in the ride. You have your own sound system on your headrest and the song selection is on the lap bar. This is also unique to Osaka.

Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll Show: a musical play featuring horror movie stars singing their own numbers

Waterworld - A Live Sea War Spectacular: a play featuring the characters and a summarized story-line of the movie with the same name

Osaka Universal Studios Japan JawsJaws: a boat ride that goes thru "Amity Village" that is highlighted by encounters with the shark

Backdraft: a special-effects show featuring behind the scenes look and stage effects used in the movie

Magical Starlight Parade: another unique attraction to Universal Studios Japan. It is a night-time electrical parade headlined by giant neon-light floats of Elmo, Snoopy and Hello Kitty

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Jurassic ParkJurassic Park - The Ride: a flume ride featuring dinosaur animatronics with a T-Rex staring at you right before the big drop as a finale

Terminator 2 - 3D: a mix between a 3D and live action show featuring the storyline and the characters from the movie

Shrek's 4D Adventure - a 4D movie featuring Shrek, Donkey, Fiona and the rest of the gang. It continues the story line of the first Shrek movie with Lord Farquaad as the villain

Sesame Street 4D Movie Magic: it shares the 4D Theatre with Shrek 4D. It's a 4D Movie with the Sesame Street characters that focuses on "Imagination"

Osaka Universal Studios Japan Shrek Sesame Street 4D