Universal Studios and Kobe Japan

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Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Kobe Japan

We recently settled into our second AirBNB in Osaka but forgot to take photos!  After getting settled in and taking a couple days to catch up on things we decided to go to Universal Studio’s Japan.

Ashley was very excited because this Universal Studios Japan has a whole section devoted to Harry Potter world.   Upon entering we quickly went to the exhibit.  It’s been while since we have been to a theme park and we found out there was a new system for getting in line.  Rather than directly entering the exhibit you go to a ticket kiosk that gives you a timed ticket.   The timed ticket tells you when you can enter so that you aren’t waiting line for an hour for a ride or to enter something.  Pretty neat and gives you a chance to spend more money explore other parts of the park!

We took our ticket and decided to head over to the spiderman 4D ride.  We took the singles lines and were able to get within 15 minutes which wasn’t bad.   After that we killed a little more time by grabbing a ticket to the Jurassic park ride for later.

After arriving at the Harry Potter exhibit we were a bit overwhelmed by the number of people.   The area was completely packed and going inside any store was almost impossible.   The line to do the Harry Potter ride was 3 hours long.  Keep in mind that this is AFTER we waited about 1.5 hours killing time in other parts of the park to even enter the Harry Potter area.   If you want to do the Harry Potter Ride in Universal Studio’s Japan I highly recommend you show up first thing in the morning and make this your first stop.  It fills up quickly!

One of the things Ashley tried was the “butter beer” that’s featured in Harry Potter.  It’s non-alcoholic.  It’s also terrible.

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Exploring Kobe Japan

The next day we decided to make a day trip down to Kobe Japan.  While everyone refers to Kobe as a day trip, it’s really just a 30 minute train ride.   We took longer trains in Tokyo Japan just getting around the city so it really wasn’t too long at all!

Once in Kobe we decided to hit the port area and walk around for a bit.  There was some shopping, obviously a Ferris wheel, and a tower to check out.   We ended up going up in the tower to get a better view of Kobe.   It was only $5/person and well worth the cost once got to the top.   Once at the top you could see all the way back to Osaka and also see the nearby mountains.

After that we made our way to a nearby spot that was a memorial to an earthquake.  They left a portion of the earthquake impact for display which was interesting to see.   We had been walking around all afternoon and it was finally time for us to eat dinner!

Eating Kobe Beef in Kobe Japan

As someone who likes steak I couldn’t miss out on a chance to eat Kobe beef in Kobe Japan.  Some fun facts about Kobe Beef:

  • Supposedly Kobe beef can ONLY be sold in Kobe.  However, we saw things marketed in Tokyo as Kobe beef.
  • The reason Kobe beef is so desired is that the cows are kept in pins so that they can’t move a lot.  In addition, they are reportedly given one beer per day to help fatten them up.   Is this treatment humane?  Who knows but they sure know how to produce a quality steak.
  • If you ever see the term Wagyu steak on a menu in the US, this type of beef is from cows that were raised in Japan and then sent to the United States to be consumed.  Basically it’s very similar/or exactly like Kobe which is why it’s priced so high.

We found one of the best rated places to go and decided to splurge for a nice meal.  We located the restaurant and it turned out that it’s set up like Hibachi grills you find in the United States.  We took our seats and were joined by only 1 other couple at a table that could seat 10 people.   After being seated next to us the other couple promptly got up and moved to the other side of the table as far away from us as possible.

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At this point were starving as we’d been saving our appetites all day for the meal.  We quickly ordered and our appetizer’s arrived.  I ordered the soup which was a corn based soup.  Pretty decent but served cold so not exactly my style.  It wasn’t very clear what the options were so Ashley ordered something that included shrimp.  While it did include shrimp it also included some other unidentified, white/see through type fish eel things as you can see.

The chef then brought out the steak and the rest of the items and cooked everything.  As he cooked the steak he would give us each individual bite as it was ready which was interesting.  On one hand each bite was cooked perfectly but on the other you don’t get to eat a few bites at once to really get a food feeling for the taste/quality.   Overall, the steak was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.  I would say it’s probably one of the top 3 steaks I have ever had and Ashley said it was the best steak she’d ever had.    If you find yourself in Kobe or ready to splurge for a Wagyu beef steak, go for it!

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