Sep 9, 2016
USJ Day! It was a 15-minute walk to Shin-Imamiya Station (from Ken & Mark Guest House) going to Universal City Station. Some morning sightings while strolling around Osaka:
We got off at the wrong station going to USJ. So while waiting for the next train, we (or I) had time for photo op.
Universal Studios Japan
We bought Express Passes online because I read from other blogs that waiting time for the most popular rides could take up to 2-4 hours! Especially for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. We wouldn’t want to waste time so we bought the passes for another Php 3,000 each (refer here for a step-by-step guide on how to buy it online). A total of Php 6,500 per person for the park entry ticket plus the Express pass. Sooo expensive. To think that our roundtrip tickets to Japan costed us Php 6,200 each. Anyway, no time for regrets.
We rode Hollywood Dream: The Ride first.
Then we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and took LOTS of photos.
Second ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Didn’t take a picture. I’ll make it up with more photos of the wizarding world.
It’s way past lunch time so we had to eat. This right here costs around 2,000 pesos. Next time, we’ll just bring snacks.
Side Note #1:
When I was trying to buy our Express Passes online, we had the option to choose what time will we be entering the wizarding world. I chose the earliest time available which was 11:50 AM. After choosing the time, another time will be given for us to be allowed to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. In our case, it was 12:10-12:40 PM. One thing that I learned from our USJ experience is that, I should have chosen a later time to enter Harry Potter world. Maybe around 6 PM would be perfect. The line was short when we got there so we weren’t able to utilize the full potential of our Express Passes. And I’ve also read that the Harry Potter world is best viewed at night. I can only imagine. Sayang talaga. I felt that I wasn’t able to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at its best. I could have taken better photos. I say this because we also went to DisneySea and stayed there until closing time (10 PM). DisneySea at night was magical. We left USJ early (around 6 PM) because we were already done with the 7 rides that we planned. Oh well.
JAWS for our third ride.
Ang medyo nakaka-turn off nga lang talaga eh yung mga rides na ang voice-over eh Japanese language. Although maganda yung visual, hindi mo fully ma-appreciate kase hindi mo maintindihan yung sinasabi. Tulad nung ride na to. Nakaupo kayo sa isang medyo malaking boat at may tour guide kayong kasama tapos biglang may shark na a-attack sa inyo. Medyo actor ang peg ni kuyang tour guide dito kase kunwari binabaril nya yung shark tapos mega acting sya sa pagma-maneuver nung boat para maka-iwas dun sa shark. Yung buong ride na yun, nagsasalita sya in Japanese na wala kaming maintindahan. Nagre-rely na lang kami sa mga nakikita namin at sa facial expressions nya. Mas na-enjoy siguro namin kung may naiintindihan kami sa mga sinasabi nya.
Side Note #2:
There’s a third lane for some rides. So there’s the regular one, the express, and then there’s a singles lane. If you’re in a group and fall in line on the singles, chances are, you won’t be sitting together. But if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind being apart, the singles lane would be the perfect choice.
Fourth ride: Flying Dinosaur. Three words. Best. Ride. Ever.
Instead of the usual roller coaster na nakaupo ka, dito, nakadapa ka. Medyo kakaiba yung feeling. Pagbaba namin dun sa ride, hindi pa din ako maka-move on dun sa experience. Basta ang saya. Si Kenneth medyo takot yun sa heights pero super nag-enjoy sya. Sulit daw yung 2.5 hours na pila. Matagal yung pinila namin dito kasi hindi na sya kasama sa Express Pass namin. Kung alam ko lang, sana yung Express Pass na may Flying Dinosaur na lang yung kinuha namin. Another fail.
Jurassic Park: Ride (forgettable) and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman (same concept with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey pero mas ok to) for our 5th and 6th ride.
Our last stop was Space Fantasy: The Ride. This one surprised us.
Touristy Moment #3:
Basing from the name (Space Fantasy) and its facade, we thought it was a kiddie ride. We almost didn’t want to continue because we couldn’t figure out how to lock the locker compartment (so we could store our bags there during the ride). The attendant told us to insert ¥100 coin. It turned out we were inserting the coin in the wrong machine. So there’s this machine nearby the lockers and I thought that’s where we could get a ticket or something for us to utilize the lockers. When I inserted a ¥500 coin, the machine dispensed five ¥100 coins. Ang labo. Kenneth already refused to continue with the ride. We were already tired. But I asked the attendant again (for the last time) and if we still can’t figure it out, we will leave already. I even suggested to put our things inside the locker and leave it unlocked, because that’s how I trust the Japanese people. Kenneth refused again. Okay. So upon asking, the attendant accompanied us and showed us how. Turned out, the coin slot for locking the compartment was beside the keyhole of the locker. The machine’s purpose was to exchange your money for ¥100 coins if you don’t have one available because the lockers are only accepting, yes, ¥100 coins. Ay sus. Buti na lang natuloy kami sa ride kasi it was unexpectedly awesome.
So a few seconds into the ride, it was slow. We were like, “Ho-hum. Boring. Pambata.” But after a few minutes, we were transported into space! Ang galing nung effects. The stars seemed real and the pace was going fast. Hayyy super ganda. I will not forget the exploding sound at the end of the ride with matching explosion of stars. Parang milky way. Hay ang ganda talaga. What a great way to end our USJ visit. Off to Dotonbori!
But first, ride ratings:
- Hollywood Dream: The Ride ★★★★☆
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ★★☆☆☆
- JAWS ★★☆☆☆
- Flying Dinosaur ★★★★★
- Jurassic Park: Ride ★★☆☆☆
- The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ★★★☆☆
- Space Fantasy: The Ride ★★★★★
More random photos before we go.
We were so excited to eat ramen in Japan. Upon searching Google, it shows very good reviews for Ichiran (there are 2 branches in Dotonbori). Unfortunately, I liked Ramen Nagi better (or fortunately rather ‘cos they’re more accessible to us). Ramen Nagi’s broth is richer and their noodles are firmer.
I had a headache the following morning because I was up late crying (I don’t know why it led to crying. It’s just that I was so annoyed. Grr.) So after eating ramen, we saw a Don Quijote store and I got excited. Based from the numerous travel blogs I’ve read, everything here is cheap. Madaming mga nag-bilin samin ng mga gusto nilang ipabili (perfume, collagen powder, wallet, green tea, etc) so I gathered all the strength I have left to do some partial shopping. Para at least sa mga susunod na days konti na lang yung bibilhin. Sobrang pagod na pagod na pagod na talaga kami. Hindi na ko makalakad ng maayos (I’ll remember to not wear boots next time). I was literally walking like Lotus Feet (yes, that character in the movie Feng Shui). Pinilit ko na lang talaga. Tapos eto pa yung mangyayari. 😔
To cut the story short, I bought 6 pieces of collagen powder for my officemates. One piece is around 800 pesos. When we got home and upon reviewing the receipt, 10 pieces na collagen powder yung na-punch ni ateng cashier. I paid for 10 but I only got 6. Grrr. Kayo na bahala mag-compute. Medyo madami kaming pinamili kaya di ko na naisip i-check yung receipt bago umalis. Japanese language pa yung resibo. Sobrang siksikan din mga tao dun sa store kaya hindi mo na talaga maiisip. Lesson learned. You can learn from my mistake as well. I know I won’t be accepting too many requests the next time I travel anywhere.
Okay enough. Kyoto naman bukas!
This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):
- Day 1: Osaka – Kansai Airport & Ken and Mark Guest House
- Day 2: Osaka – Universal Studios & Dotonbori
- Day 3: Kyoto – Arashiyama & Fushimi Inari-taisha
- Day 4: Osaka – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
- Day 5: Tokyo – Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Crossing & Tokyo Sky Tree
- Day 6: Tokyo – DisneySea (soon)
- Day 7: Tokyo – Narita Airport (soon)
- Daily Expenses (soon)
- Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)