Universal Studios Japan

Osaka Castle
Osaka Dome
Osaka Grand Cube
Universal Studios Japan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial
Shukkeien Garden
Golden Pavilion
Heian Shrine
Kasuga Taisha
Toji Temple
Nishi Hongwanji
Toshogu Shrine
Irohazaka Drive
Meiji Shrine
Asakusa Kannon
Girl with Red Shoes On
Hikawa Maru
Marine Rouge Cruise
Kaiko Promenade
Yokohama Museums

According to the park’s Web site:

Universal Studios is one of the most comprehensive entertainment enterprises in the world. The scale and diversity of its operations have made this entertainment giant a global leader in media and communications.

Universal Studios Japan™ opened in Osaka on March 31, 2001, initiating a new chapter in the 80-year history of this legendary entertainment company.

Universal Studios Theme Parks represent the excellence of the Universal brand. The Parks state-of the-art shows and attractions utilize the latest technology to place guests in the heart of the world of American motion pictures and television. Universal Studios Japan™ is the companys first movie studio theme park outside the United States. It is the newest addition to a growing family of first-class themed entertainment which includes outstanding parks in Hollywood and Florida.

We arrived too late to take full advantage of this park, but it’s doubtful we would have gotten much out of it anyway. The attractions were almost all based on movies we hadn't seen, but an even greater deterrent was the language barrier. The special Water World show for Rotarians had an English introduction, but the show itself used its usual taped Japanese dialogue to accompany the sensational action of the performance.

The event packets we had received included these attractive plastic badges on sturdy cord lanyards, along with meal coupons, special event tickets, information about the Rotary shuttle buses, and a brochure (almost entirely in Japanese). We collected other brochures (including one in English) as we entered. We gathered by looking at other Rotarians badges that the badge color indicated the performance one had chosen of the special Water World show (we had opted for 8:30 p.m., the last showing, correctly anticipating that we might not arrive till late and would probably stay till the park closed).

The back of the badge (click on the thumbnail for a larger view) showed a map of the park indicating the special attractions that were reserved for our party. Unfortunately, by the time Barney and I arrived, many of the other attractions (especially those we were mildly interested in) had closed, and by the time we could even remotely stomach the idea of eating, most of the restaurants had closed as well.

The attraction to which we had special passes (I believe they were intended to allow us to jump the line if there had been one) was “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: The Ride,” which was described as follows: “Put on your 3-D glasses for an eye-popping, pulse-pounding, first-of-its-kind 3-D thrill ride. Careening through the streets and swinging high above the city, you’ll see, hear and actually FEEL the action of Spider-Man’s most amazing adventure ever.” Although we had not seen either of the Spider-Man movies (the ride was based on the second one) and couldn’t understand a word of what was going on, I have to confess that the ride was pretty exciting, and we were intrigued by the motion and 3-D effects.

After the Water World show, we were able to find Tom, Joan, and our three sons, who had gone to the park earlier in the day (Sam, Debby, and Chris had also gone earlier but had already left), and we meandered around until the park closed. Tom and I both made numerous attempts to capture the effect of the lights across the lagoon. I also took this picture of the others: