Universal Studios Japan was the first Asian theme park opened under the Universal Studios brand. USJ was officially opened in the Osaka Bay Area in 2001, in an area that covers more than 39 hectares. It is the second most visited amusement park in Japan, trailing the Tokyo Disney Resort.
Currently, Universal Studios Japan has 9 themed sections, including: San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland, Hollywood, Waterworld Lagoon, New York, and Harry Potter. In 2014, a Harry Potter themed section has been added to the parks original 8 theme parks. In each of these themed sections, visitors will be able to enjoy many fun and even thrilling rides, ranging from kiddy rides all the way up to mind-bending simulators and roller coasters. Some of the more popular rides are based upon various popular movies, including: Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, and Spiderman.
USJ provides its guests with numerous opportunities to take pictures with popular characters and mascots, such as Hello Kitty, Snoopy, and some of the puppets from Sesame Street. The park also hosts various shows daily, one of which is the popular night parade, which has illuminated floats that are paraded through the streets.
Universal CityWalk Osaka is a shopping mall with numerous amenities is located just outside the park’s gates. CityWalk Osaka is home to many great food establishments, retail shops, and souvenir stores selling Universal Studios merchandise. The Osaka Takoyaki Museum can also be found in CityWalk. It is found on the fourth floor of the mall, and features a great collection of popular vendors of local foods.
In 2014, the park officially opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The new and exciting addition to the park is welcome news to the many dedicated Harry Potter fans in Japan, many who have been followers of the franchise since the beginning of its series. The new Wizarding World is in fact the third such theme park created. The first was opened in 2010 at the Universal Orlando Resort. The other Wizarding World expansion is set to open in 2016, at Universal Studios Hollywood.