Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan combines all the rides and ideas behind the company's Hollywood and Florida theme parks and sets them up here in Osaka, just minutes from the heart of the city. Each of the Universal Studios theme parks is renowned for their thrilling rides and behind the scenes look at movie making, and this version is no different. A Universal Studios ticket will take you front and center into the same world found in Hollywood and Florida, with a generous helping of Japan-only rides and attractions that are sure to please.

Here you'll find the rides that have made Universal Studios theme parks for years. Whether it is the time-tested E.T., Back to the Future or Jurassic Park rides, or newer attractions like Spiderman, it's hard to go wrong at Universal Studios Japan. The list of sightseeing options extends to a number of live action shows as well as a king's ransom of Hollywood memorabilia.

Since it is the only Universal Studios theme park not located in America, much of the park is centered around U.S.-styled sights and restaurants (although Ganko Sushi is much better than most of its kind). The major attraction at Universal Studios Japan that is unique to the park is Snoopy's Playland. A must for anyone traveling with children, all the Peanuts characters are here, some even have their own rides, like Peppermint Patty's Stunt Slide. Any fans of the comic strip will enjoy a trip to Snoopy's Sound Stage Adventure, which places kids in charge of their own movie (with the affable beagle's help, of course), and here you catch a ride on a roller coaster that circles the Studios. Whatever you plan to do, make sure you spend some time with the lovable Peanuts gang.

In a similar vein, the Japanese are famous for their love of the Hello Kitty characters – and nothing is better evidence of this then the daily Hello Kitty parade that makes its way across the park. When you have finished with the foam-headed shenanigans with Snoopy and Charlie Brown, take a break from touring the studios, get a good spot and watch the parade. It's definitely another guaranteed hit with children.

Purchasing a Universal Studios ticket is not the most intuitive process: during weekends and holidays, none are sold at the gate. Instead, make your way to a Lawson convenience store or one of the larger railroad stations in Osaka to get one. It is also a good idea to plan ahead and get a Universal Studios ticket in advance - the park is always crowded during these periods, and sometimes certain locations run out of tickets.

But as long as you pick one up in advance (or just head to the gate during the week, when tickets are easily available), nothing will stand in your way of an entertaining and enlightening afternoon spent at Universal Studios Japan.

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