Our second day in Japan started with a stroll over to Northshore Cafe & Dining which was located close to our Airbnb apartment. Northshore Cafe & Dining is a charming café along the O river with nice overview of Nakanoshima Park. We got seated out on the terrace overlooking the river, which was a pretty nice breakfast view we could enjoy while sipping our coffees. We ordered a delicious avocado and egg toast, and a pancakes with cream and berries. Overall a pretty good start of the day.
The plan for this day was not really related to the Japanese experience, as we were going to Universal Studios Japan. We had pre-purchased the entrance tickets (which we highly recommend, click here) so we didn’t have to wait in line to enter the park.
Once inside we quickly pulled up the map to find the optimal route to the interesting areas of the park. At the time of writing the Harry Potter part is quite unique to the Japan version of Universal Studios, so we immediately headed for this part of the theme park. We were amazed by the effort that had been put into recreating Hogwarts as well as iconic stores and other elements from the books. Turtle could remember how he as a kid dreamt of drinking butter beer just like they did in the books, and now he actually could! However, the experience was less exciting as the drink was a combination of an extremely sweet caramel flavoured soda with a lid of a frothy creme. It felt like drinking diabetes, and we finished less than half before the rest were discretely used to water a nearby bush.
We did a walking tour of Hogwarts as well as a few Harry Potter themed roller coasters that were quite good. The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K3D was incredible. With its high resolution 3D, live props, and getting our seats thrown around made it hard to not be fully engaged in the moment.
When we eventually left the Harry Potter themed part of the park it was closing in on lunch time. We kept on walking through the park without find any decent looking dining place. Once we arrived at the Jurassic Park themed part of Universal the Flying Dinosaur ride looked so exciting that we decided to delay our lunch and just eat a snack in the meantime. We bought this large turkey leg that looks pretty much like the stereotypical meat drumstick you would see in comics such as One Piece. The meat was smoked and surprisingly savoury. It was probably the best food we had at Universal, though that is not actually a big achievement.
The Flying Dinosaur ride was both frightening and a lot of fun. It’s a bit unique ride in the way that your seat are lifted in such a way that you hang below the ride facing the ground. During the beginning of the ride when it is slowly climbing to gain altitude, you are hanging under the ride staring down at the ground. Turtle could not help but think about what would happen if the safety bar would malfunction and open, nothing would stop you from falling to the ground and then you would be done for. Don’t worry, we did both survive the incredibly thrilling ride.
Once the ride was over we picked up the hunt for a decent place to eat lunch. However, we were getting dangerously close to the Minion part of the park, and Ottor is obsessed with Minions. Hence we did not get far before our lunch plan was once more delayed. When we arrived at the Minnion part of Universal a parade/event was about to start, meaning that Turtle could forget lunch until that show was over. Ottor positioned herself in the crowed so that she get a good view of the show and were able to take some good pictures. The show was pretty great! Who could resist these adorable yellow creatures dancing in their fancy costumes and singing with their cute voices? What is there not to love?
Once the show was over we once again tried to find a decent lunch place. We started to realise that there was no such place in the park. It was a bit disappointing that the only type of food we could find was pizza, pasta, hamburgers, hot dogs or other similar types of food. Yes we get that Universal is American and the food should be thereafter, but when we are in Japan we would like to eat something more interesting. Not that those types of dishes is that bad, but the quality of that food was a bit disappointing. You didn’t get the big, juicy burger made of proper beef with fresh vegetables, but rather the slightly sad soggy younger cousin of that burger. Maybe we just didn’t find the right place. It is possible that even though we walked through the majority of the park we overlooked the one or two decent places. Still, we were disappointed that the majority of dining places were what they were. However, to avoid starvation (because we would obviously starve and die before dinner if we skipped lunch) we ended up eating a couple of pizza slices. It was actually quite nice to sitting down a few moments to rest our legs after hours of walking and queuing. When we were there the ques was 30-90 minutes long.
After the late lunch we continued to explore the Minion part of the park. Ottor took quite a few photos and got her photo taken with a Minion. Turtle suspect that Ottor see this moment as one of the greatest moments of the trip.
Eventually it was time to leave, so we left and hopped on the JR train back to the centre of Osaka. Our dinner plan for the evening was Ichiran Ramen, which is a very cool ramen shop. Once inside you approach a machine where you select what kind of food you want and pay for that food. The machine will provide you with ticket of your food choices. Then you get a small form where you fill out how you want your ramen prepared, such as degree of spiciness, amount of garlic, richness of the broth, ramen texture, and how you want your egg cooked. Then you enter the dining area, which is basically a row of cubicles on each side of the room. The walls between the cubicles can be folded in so you can dine together if you are there with someone just like us. You get your own personal cubicle that has an open window to the kitchen, and its own water dispenser. Then simply place your ticket and ramen-form in the window, sit back, and relax until the lovely ramen magically appear in the window. Ottor went for a ramen with medium spiciness, richness and half a clove of garlic, while Turtle went for a ramen with very rich broth, very spicy, and 2 cloves of garlic. We also ordered an extra side of premium pork meat. The ramen was out of this world, it was by far the best ramen Turtle had ever eaten, and so delicious we both wanted to go back several times the coming few days. Of course both found their own bowl of ramen tasting way better than the other.
By the time we had finished the meal and recovered from our food coma it had become dark outside. We wanted to see the city from a bird perspective at night, so we headed over to the Floating Garden Observatory. This is quite a popular tourist attraction since the view over the city is amazing from this spot. You can stay inside gazing over the city from windows facing all directions, or you can go up and view the city from the rooftop. Both experiences are quite magical when night has set and all the millions of city lights winks at you in the distance.
With soar feet and legs we headed towards the Airbnb apartment after a long and exciting day. Turtle walked 23,093 steps this day, while Ottor walked 26,125 steps. Turtle claim that once again this is due to Ottor having shorter legs. Both were incredible tired after the long day, though we were excited about the next day when we would get new impressions and continue our journey in Kyoto.
See you in the next one! Turtle and Ottor out