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It’s day five, we’ve done so much walking my socks have holes in them. No worries though, that just means I need to shop for more, and they have so many cute socks here!
Today is a break from the cultural sites. When we travel we like to include culture, historical, and fun places to visit and have the kids look up places that they would like to go, that way we all have a chance to do, go, or see something that we are interested in.
Going to Universal Studios Japan was one of the places that we all agreed that we wanted to visit. Some wanted to go for the roller coasters, others wanted to go to Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWHP), others wanted to go to the shows only available in Japan (SailorMoon, Conon the Detective, and Final Fantasy).
We brought our tickets online from Klook and printed it out before we left for our trip. This way you don’t have to wait in the long line to purchase tickets.
Before we entered the park we were reunited with our hanai (Hawaiian for adopting someone into your family) girl Yuuki. Yuuki had participated in the WAVOC program at VSAS where our daughters attended school, and we were one of the host families. She didn’t stay with us but we became close during the multiple times she was part of the program. We were happy that she was able to spend the day with us, especially our youngest daughter who was the closest to Yuuki. We thanked her for coming so far to be with us (1 1/2 hours by train from Kyoto).
As you walk along the sidewalk in the Hollywood area look down to see the stars with names of the actors. My husband found his star 😁
And I found one of my favorites
A Bit of Magic
Our first stop was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The first thing everyone wanted to get were the wands, and butter beer 🍺. I wanted to try butter beer because I heard from multiple people that it tasted ono (Hawaiian for delicious). It didn’t disappoint, it was indeed ono, especially the chilled version. It tastes like a root beer float with a hint of caramel.
Yeah, No it doesn’t get you drunk. Hyper maybe but not drunk.
While the kids went in search of their wands my husband and I watched the “Wizard Studies” show. It was done in both Japanese and English so that more people could enjoy the performance. They also engaged the audience by asking for help in casting spells.
Once everyone had purchased their wands the others went their way while we spent 2 hours with our grandson going to the different locations to cast spells with his new wand. Some of the places were a bit hard to find due to it being away from the main thoroughfare. Just look for the helpers in costume (they all have the same costume).
Our grandson was determined to find all 8 places to cast spells, we did find them making him very happy.
*Note, in order for you to be able to cast the spells you need to buy the wands with the special tips. Also if you’re wanting to buy the wardrobe be prepared to spend at least $300.00. The robe alone is $110.00.
We left WWHP and our grandson went off with his dad to go to the Spider-Man show while my husband and I cruised the park. We mostly watched the shows, Terminator 3-D (my husband wanted to see it since he didn’t when we went to CA (in 2008) having gone to the Blues Brothers instead), Universal Monsters Live Rock, that was a lot of fun and the performers were great singers and dancers. The last show we saw was Pretty Guardian SailorMoon 4-D. (Only at USJ for a limited time).
*Note, both Terminator and SailorMoon are in Japanese. Also the seats move, may not be good if you have lower back pain. Might be scary for young children.
Time To Eat
My husband and I had a difficult time deciding on where to eat. There are many eateries with different menus in the park. We finally decided on Studio Stars restaurant. I had seen a couple tables with items (tissue package, little stuffed toy) on them and thought some one had forgotten them so I was about to sit and wait for my husband, but each time (2 times) the owner of the items came to say that it was their things and they were saving the table. Amazing! No, one bothered their things (except me not knowing the etiquette) to reserve their table without fear of someone coming along to take their place or things! I’m glad I learned that lesson and hope it never changes! We had a delicious leisurely lunch before heading out to explore the rest of the park.
*Note, This day was not crazy busy (school in Japan wasn’t out for the summer yet), so we didn’t need a time stamp to enter WWHP, and the longest wait the kids had for a ride was 80 minutes.
We were going to stay for the night parade but found out that it would be later in the evening (8:00), and we were to meet another of our hanai kids for dinner. Shuhei came after work to meet us.
We decided to have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe on the second floor of Universal City Walk.
It just so happened that night was the birthday anniversary of the opening of the first Hard Rock Cafe in London. There was a cake 🎂 and little cakes in the shape of burgers.
They had everyone sing Happy Birthday, the Beatles version, followed by a rock mix dance party (about 15 minutes) that was a fun way to kill time while waiting for our dinner. Ono food and catching up with good friend made for another memorable day!
Mahalo nut Yuuki and Shuhei for spending time with us!