Osaka – Harry Potter the Polyglot Wizard & “Nomihodai”

We ended up arriving in Osaka pretty late in the day due to our reroute to Miyajima in the morning. Our original Shinkansen in the morning was meant to take 45 minutes from Hiroshima to Osaka. The one we got on the afternoon took 4 hours!! It must have stopped at literally ever single station along the way for 15 minutes so it felt like it took forever! When we did finally arrive it was just about time to grab some tea before getting an early night ready for Universal Studios in the morning!! We went to Liam’s favourite place in all of Japan, a Japanese food chain called Yayoiken. It serves a range of things from noodles in soup to seafood but it’s mostly just fried meat with all you can eat rice which was a winner with Liam from the start!

It was an early start up and out to get to Universal, we got there for around 8am ready to queue for our tickets and we had decided to purchase the extra fast-passes too mainly because Liam is not a patient man and he isn’t keen on rides, so its best just to get him on them before he has too much time to consider! The park didn’t actually open until 10am however a huge queue formed pretty rapidly as the time approached and when they did finally open the gates people were literally running in! Japan has never looked more like what I envisioned after watching a lot of Takeshi’s Castle in my younger days; we just needed a voiceover from Craig Charles to accompany the Japanese rush!

We managed to get on every single ride no problems and luckily for us we could use our fast-passes for the ones that did have long queues! Liam even appreciated one of the biggest rides there as it was a childhood favourite of his; Jurassic Park! However the highlight of course was the newest addition to Universal Japan which opened just a few months ago in July; Harry Potter World! It was obvious that it was the hottest destination in the park because everywhere else we walked was calm and relaxed but HP World was crammed full of people waiting to board the new rides and in huge queues to go into shops such as Honeydukes and Zonko’s! The atmosphere was great though and I have to hand it to Universal they have done a good job, usually Disney take all the credit for attention to detail but Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Castle were both pretty special.

Of course there was plenty more to see as well such as the Hogwarts Express, the flying car and Hagrids hut too!! We got to have a tour around the castle too looking into the dungeons, the Defence against the dark arts classroom and even Dumbledore’s office!! The main ride itself was absolutely amazing too, even though it was all in Japanese it was still a delight to experience and I would say visually it’s one of the best rides I have been on!

We didn’t stay too late at Universal as it is actually quite a small park and we had managed to do all of the attractions by around 3pm! We headed back to our hotel and decided that as it was our last night in Japan we fancied a few beers so we invited our roommates Ben and Susie to come out and find somewhere with us. Ideally we wanted the same sort of thing we had been to with Nat in Tokyo, known as a Nomihodai; it’s an all you can drink deal for a certain amount of time. We found a place that gave us all you drink for 2 hours for literally around £7!!

Now you’re probably wondering how these establishments can possibly make a profit from this sort of thing, the answer is that with 4 Brits taking full advantage they can’t! Japanese people don’t have the all you can drink culture down like us and they usually accompany it with plenty of food. However with Ben and Susie there to lead us astray and into bad British habits we soon drank our way through the entire drinks menu! We had beer, cocktails, sake (bleurgh!), spirits and god only knows what else! On the way back to our hotel we even sat down with a group of buskers for a sing-along! Liam full of beer confidence soon picked up one of the lads guitars for a strum and before we knew a bit of Oasis was being belted out! It wasn’t long of course before there was a little crowd taking pictures of Liam and the other guys from the band playing along! It was such a laugh though and a cracking way to finish an amazing few weeks in Japan!

We have honestly loved this country so much; I only wish we could have stayed longer! It’s been one of our favourites from our entire trip and we feel as though we have only touched the surface within this couple of weeks so I am sure that at some point we will return to continue our Japanese journey!

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