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First Impressions of Osaka

Never half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.

They’re some inspiring words from the great Ron Swanson (heck yeah Parks & Rec), and also words which come to mind after my first weekend in Osaka.

Here, ramen isn’t just a bowl of noodles, it is a beautiful meal that can bring a grown woman to the brink of tears. Convenience stores aren’t cheap and nasty, they’re an institution and an essential, where you can find almost everything you may need, and so much more.

But most of all, the theme parks aren’t just about rollercoasters, they’re a magical sensory experience from arrival to departure. Yes, I’m talking Universal Studios Japan.

No detail has been missed in creating an experience which borders on cinematic for every patron (pardon the pun). In each world, you are truly immersed.

A personal highlight at USJ was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which quite literally brought my childhood to life. After all these years of normal life, I was finally a witch going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, drinking hot Butterbeer with her friends, and enjoying all of the delights behind every shop window in Hogsmeade village.

Sitting on the flying car, crashed by Ron Weasley .

I was even surrounded by witches and wizards – dedicated fans who donned their robes for a day of magical fun.

Four friends dressed in their Hogwarts robes.

Surprise and delight wasn’t limited to the theme park either. A simple stroll through the city always had surprises in store. My first was the discovery of the vending machines serving hot coffee in a can, and another was a thrift store, where I found a perfect gift for a loved one.

Even though I was told the shopping was great here, there was nothing which could have prepared me for the wonderland that is Osaka.

I think I will be coming back a much more fashionable gal, and maybe a slightly larger one, depending on my noodle consumption.

Published inJorja McDonnellTravel Stories

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