It’s that time of year when things get a little bit spooky!
I love Halloween, most likely because I love any excuse to dress up, but it’s not a commonly celebrated event here in Australia as we’re long past pumpkin season and with spring having sprung trees are rather green, not a glorious shade of red, orange, and gold. Yet more and more businesses are letting the cobwebs cover their windows and getting ghoulish with ghost cookies, witches brews, and pumpkin everything, and I for one am LOVING it!
Earlier this month I paid a visit to Universal Studios Japan. I felt a little pang of remorse having not known that dressing up to visit the park is practically encouraged, especially during October’s Halloween Horror Nights!
For the month of October, as the sun sets. things get a little dark, and not just literally, as zombies roam the streets. Depending on your level of scared-ness, you can take part in a huge range of J-Horror activities. Whether you tempt fate by walking around the J-Horror Area, set in a deserted Japanese town and seeing the zombies roam to the Horror Mazes featuring famous horror movie characters (Chucky or Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddie Kruger).
If being scared silly doesn’t interest you, there’s still the thrills of the rollercoasters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to explore and plenty of stage shows and street shows!
Then there is the people watching…
Let me tell you this: the Japanese know how to dress up. Sure, some people donned a beanie and go “Hey, I’m a Minion!” but most of the park visitors went all out, coming dripping in blood or making full transformations! I shouldn’t have expected anything less from the country who slays CosPlay.
Check out just a little of the mischief I got into while I was at Universal Studios Japan!
The littlest park visitors loved going Trick or Treat’ing!
You might spot some Minions trying to hide in plain sight…
I think this wizard didn’t get told that official school robes need to be ankle length…
While you are in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, be sure to cast a spell on your own!
A couple of Slytherins enjoying butterbeer and lunch amongst the Muggles
I wonder if this guy knew there was an owl on his head…
Harley Quinn‘s Squad better watch out for those Jaws!
I turned around and the Endoskeleton from The Terminator was creepin’ on me…
This Minion doesn’t look particularly happy to be stuck on that human…
…and yes, I caught Minion fever too…
First owls and now dinosaurs! You’d think she’d have noticed!
More Minion madness!
‘TATARI: Curse of the Living Doll’ is a walk-through maze, and not for the faint hearted! While only a Horror Level 5 I nearly jumped on one of the boys when I got scared…
If you are brave you can take on the ‘Trauma 2: The Experimental Hospital War of Horror’ which is a Horror Level 10! I’ll wait for you outside…
Park visitors go all out with their costumes!
With the scary come the kawaii and the quirky… Yes, that is two witches taking a selfie with an eggplant and radish!
Masquerade cookies are also available during Halloween. I loved the vampire lips and mustache (and they were pretty tasty too!)
With it being Universal Studio Japan’s 15th Anniversary, the park is RE-BOOOOOOOORN!
Each day at 12pm, a parade winds through the streets of the park with dancing, singing, confetti and bubble cannons, and all your favourite characters!
Even Hello Kitty got into the spirit with a new hat and bracelets!
Quick Poke Trainers, get your Pokeballs out!!
Even the meals are a little different at the park during Halloween! Using fresh produce to give the foods a Halloween twist, you’ll find Halloween inspired dishes all over the park.
My favourites were the Butter Chicken Curry with pumpkin and red capsicum face found at Studio Stars Restaurant, and the Pumpkin-shaped Risotto Ball and this Delicious Mushroom, Pumpkin and Beef salad both from Finnegan’s Bar & Grill – YUM!
As the sunsets, the Death Eaters will try to take over Hogwarts!
Zombies will emerge on the streets… watch out!
But even zombies have got to let loose and just dance!
Universal Studios Japan
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward
Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Halloween Horror Nights runs daily from September 9th til November 6th, 2016. For more information, check out the Universal Studios Japan website!
How to get to Universal Studios Japan:
Universal Studios Japan can be accessed by JR (train) on the Yumesaki Line. Get off at the Universal City Station to access the park, hotels, and surrounding amenities. For more information, check their website.
There aren’t any ATM’s inside the park ground so be sure to bring plenty of local currency (Japanese Yen) for small purchases. Debit and credit cards are accepted in most places within the park.
Getting to Osaka, Japan
Flights: Currently, the only direct flight from Australia to Osaka is via Cairns on Jetstar. There are a number of connecting options through China, Taiwan, or Japan’s capital Tokyo. I chose to fly Cathay Pacific via. Hong Kong.
Getting from the airport to the city:
I’d been told by my friends that I’d be able to get a hotel shuttle to my accommodation in the heart of Osaka from Kansai International Airport (KIX). That’s not quite correct. Most hotels will offer transfers to/from Osaka Station, in the heart of downtown. To get there from the airport, you need to take the JR (train).
The JR takes around 50 minutes and costs ¥1,190 (around AU$15).
Accommodation: Three accommodation options I’d recommend in Osaka are The Ritz-Carlton Osaka, Hotel Nikko Osaka, or the Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka Shinsaibashi.
If you want to stay on the doorstep to Universal Studios Japan, I’d recommend The Park Front Hotel which recently celebrated their first anniversary and offers three levels of comfort, perfect for every budget! Many hotels offer free shuttle services to and from Universal Studios Japan, so be sure to ask!
Explore Osaka like a local by choosing a homestay or Airbnb. To save $40 on your first airbnb stay, sign up here!
Stay connected: Japan overwhelms me so whenever I visit I make sure I rent a MiFi (Pocket WiFi) to stay safe, heading the right direction on public transport, contact friends through What’s App, and be able to update social media!
You can rent a device at Kansai International Airport but to save the hassle, order a few weeks in advance and pick it up at the airport. Best of all, it comes with a return box that you can pop in any mailbox or leave at the front desk of your hotel.
I rented my device from Global Advanced Communications. I got the standard 75 Mbps model for ¥990 per day which was fast and perfect at Universal Studios Japan and providing WiFi to my laptop at a cafe.
I was a guest of Universal Studios Japan.
All thoughts, opinions and Minion Madness experienced was, as always, my own.