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Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

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Welcome to probably my biggest trip report yet!


When I first had the opportunity to consider the 2019 Japan trip it was nearly a full year before in October 2018. Let's take it probably 10 years further back, to 2008 when Tower of Terror at TDS was fresh. Robb and Elissa's trips to Japan with friends looked sublime and the whole country seemed so alluring and mysterious. The parks looked incredible as did the food, scenery, trains, and random excitement that comes with just being in Japan really piqued my interest. So when I saw Japan/October 2019 I told Elissa it's the easiest decision of my life Not only was it Japan with R&E, there was also going to be a lot of of USA 2018 trippers going as well!


Elissa and Robb did a ton of planning between October 2018 and October 2019. They really prepped us for pretty much everything! Helpful phrases, getting around, trains, hotels, and so much more all with the added complications of the Rugby Cup. Which, yeah, Japan was ALL about the Rugby Cup! They did a great job.


Anyways, as you saw from the updates in real time and in bert's excellent live report, we all had an incredible time.


Day 0/1

I'll dive right in! I flew out of Chicago October 5th at noon and was set to arrive in Tokyo NRT at 4pm the next day October 6th. I got a sweet start to the trip with an upgrade to business class so I arrived fresh, and we arrived early!


I had a different plan than the full TPR trip since I had never been to Japan before. I didn't do any of the Tokyo parks with the group and instead focused on exploring Tokyo itself. Staying in Shinjuku Sun-Weds morning. Getting in early set things up perfectly because I was able to meet up with Luke and go straight to Elissa to get my rail pass, which is the most important item I've ever come into contact with! That was all too easy - airport limousine bus to Shinagawa, hang out with friends, get rail pass & suica, then bounce up to Shinjuku.


Being solo the first few days I wanted to be prepared so I created an organized list of words/phrases for being out in the city, at restaurants, greetings/replies, and fun words. I think I did a great job trying to learn some Japanese. Shout out to Abroad in Japan podcast and other helpful youtube videos! I still have my document if anyone would like it, just DM me.


I stayed in Shinjuku right next to the busiest train station in the world; averaging 3.5 million people a day. It has over 200 entrance/exits and 53 platforms! Do not mess with Shinjuku station!


I immediately found my local gyoza izakaya (bar) next to my hotel - Ichigoro Shinjuku (西新宿 7 1 10 守矢ビル1F, 1, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan)


I spent the first full day exploring the West side of Tokyo and the middle: I started with a walk from Shinjuku to Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya, Roppongi, Ginza, Tokyo Station, and Imperial Palace. Alex and I went around Harajuku at night and had an amazing improvised dinner at Soregashi (2 Chome-3-11 Ebisunishi, 渋谷区 Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0021, Japan) after the planned art/sake exhibit was closed and it started to rain. I wish I took pictures there! It was an incredible experience with help from our waiter who spoke a good amount of English.


Day 1 Japan surprises, learnings, and hilarity:


Walking at a normal pace in a pack of people down the sidewalk and the business men or women will just start sprinting full force to beat traffic lights or just get to where they need to go quicker In full suits/dress shoes! You never know when someone's GOTTA GO FAST


I got on the Hibiya train line and was immediately greeted to the sight of a woman with a giant bag of balloons. Thanks to learning some phrases and words I knew to say "Ohmadeto gozaimasu!" (Congratulations!!) and she laughed from the surprise of an American saying that so loud she apologized to the car (because everyone is polite and relatively quiet on the train) and thanked me a bunch before getting off the train


It is really easy to use Google maps to plan out where you want to go and how to do it, which is why I could walk around everywhere. Not once did I hit a dead end or get lost. Only Shinjuku station got me a little lost but it is the most populated station in the world (3.5 million people in and out daily I think).


I tried to win a little Tokyo Disney coin purse at a gachapon (coin toy capsule machine) but instead was first greeted by an older business man holding 2 gachapon capsules. He said "Look, same same." And then bowed and held out one and said "Special present." Clearly he had one the same prize and wanted to give the 2nd one away so I got a Lego-Gundam suit. Awesome! I thanked him a bunch.


More to come!


Check out TPR's Insta or mine @photoboothez for the collection of videos taken from the trip.



If your trip report starts with beer on an airplane it's going to be a good one! Also big recco for Stuber. Kumail Nanjiani is a national treasure.


My streak of delayed & canceled flights is over! Biz class on American to Tokyo!


It's funny and practical!


After a stop in Shinagawa, I headed on the Yamanote up to Shinjuku where I'd be staying the next 3 nights.


Memory Lane / Piss Alley. I wasn't ready to explore the intimate Japanese izakayas at 11pm on my first night in Tokyo coming off a 13 hour flight, haha.


I see you down there Godzilla!


I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, and walked a few blocks over to explore Kabuki-cho. Where are the dirty panty capsule machines?! Honestly I just grabbed a beer from 7/11 and walked around taking in the sensory overload of Tokyo at night for the first time.


Time for some food. I found a local gyoza izakaya next to my hotel - Ichigoro Shinjuku (西新宿 7 1 10 守矢ビル1F, 1, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan). All of this for about $12.


Here it is from the outside. I was given an ipad with an English menu which made ordering SO easy. I dream about those gyoza and I ended every night in Shinjuku here!


Stopping by Family Mart I picked up to random drinks - Strong Zero, 9% super popular Shōchū drink. It came in grapefruit, lemon, and lime I believe. So good. Then a classic Suntory Highball!


Origiri!!!!!! Being later at night, the conbini (another for convenience store| 7/11 | Family Mart | etc) was pretty much sold out. They're fresh and brought in daily. Look at the price. 110-120Y


Next morning! Let's explore. Ohayo, Cocoon building.


One of the coolest structures in the skyline. Are you hiding Mothra?


"Gashapon" is onomatopoeic from the two sounds "gasha" (or "gacha") for the hand-cranking action of a toy-vending machine, and "pon" for the toy capsule landing in the collection tray.


Oh hey some more Tokyo Disney collectibles!


Just a residential street a block off the business-y area of Shinjuku on the way to Meiji Shrine. I found a recording of a walk from Shinjuku station to Meiji Shrine on youtube and followed it. So easy!


Pocari Sweat and Green Tea and Coffee are your regular options! With a Coke machine typically next to it.


Oh cool, pretty!




I walked from Shinjuku south to the north entrance of Meiji Shrine which included this really pretty walk through the park/forest, which was the opposite of the normal popular South entrance from Shibuya.


Elissa I'm so sorry I should have never strayed from the group now I'm lost in the Japanese forest surrounded by giant spiders there's tens of millions of people in this city and there's no one out here and oh there's the shrine :p


All joking aside I only saw those spiders around the lanterns and up in the mountains at Fuji Q, but wow were they impressive! I think they're harmless banana spiders.


Squatting behind the camera and in front of the camera, Japan is rad. No photos near the Meiji Shrine itself, but I did the ritual to say a prayer and toss a coin in while the monks did a ceremony. Very cool!


Heading out the South entrance of Meiji Shrine I continued on down to Shibuya!


Shibuya at 10am on a Monday was not the best time to visit Shibuya as I walked through the famous crosswalk without even noticing it because there weren't very many people there on a random October Monday, haha.


Shibuya Shibuya Shibuya Shibuya Shibuya


Let's keep the Tokyo tour rolling! Onto Roppongi Hills where I was told the best view of Tokyo is.


Alright Tokyo I've had enough of the f***ing giant spiders!


Much safer up here. There was an art exhibit going on, so I had to combo the skydeck + art ticket which was whatever, but totally worth the view and figuring out Tokyo.


It just goes on forever. But it's so easy to get around!


Mt. Fuji if you follow the highway out, Shinjuki and Shibuya at 12.


This walking tour of Tokyo is sponsored by Coke Energy. A little DoDoDonpa in every can! :D


And now we're in Ginza! After the first 3 sushi spots on my list were too crowded, I just stumbled into this spot and ate lunch among the salary men and women. $12 for a huge marinated tuna bowl.


Is this a train station or a 5 star hotel?


It's Tokyo Station!


Beautiful Tokyo Station area..


Of course the Emperor has swans in his moat!


I didn't study up on the whole Tokyo Imperial Palace area and I was meeting with Alex later so I turned back towards the train.


It was a beautiful day. Mid 70's. The sun seems pretty strong here!


Cocoon building! Back in Shinjuku! Success!


The busiest in the world!


Walking down from the station in Shinjuku taking a look at the entertainment section


Ahhhhh this view....


Craft beer drinkers - stick with Kirin/Sapporo/Asahi. Tokyo is still learning the craft beer game.


Slowly, please relax!! I promise I will have a roller coaster in the next update.


Ginza glowing up

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YAY !!


so happy to see you kicking this off. You did so many neat things before meeting up with the group - and even once with the group, y'all did some stuff different than others did (I'm sure our Disney experiences, while overlapping in some places? are gonna be VERY different in others).


can't wait to see more, as this is off to an amazing start.



(oh, and don't worry that you didn't get a pic of a dirty panties machine.. I actually did - tho it was more of a pic of the fetish shop. My next update this week at some point, will be mostly Shinjuku/Godzilla, so you'll see it, LOL).

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(oh, and don't worry that you didn't get a pic of a dirty panties machine.. I actually did - tho it was more of a pic of the fetish shop. My next update this week at some point, will be mostly Shinjuku/Godzilla, so you'll see it, LOL).


Oh good to hear haha. I was too distracted just taking in my first hours of Tokyo to find them and I was a little intimidated being solo at night not wanting to accidentally go into a place I didn't want to go haha.


Great report! While there are no coasters, Japan is such a fascinating country that I have no problem seeing a report on their culture.

Thanks there will definitely be more of non park updates!


Great report...adding your gyoza place to my list for next time!

Thanks! It's such a convenient spot and consistently delicious! I liked the boiled better than the pan fried ones.

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The gyoza place sounds great. I agree that Japan is still trying to work out the whole "craft beer" thing; that being said, I did enjoy touring and dining at the Sapporo brewery a few years back.

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Thanks everyone! Let's continue with Day 2 Tuesday, October 8th. My last solo day!


Big fan of the hotel Mystays I was at in Shinjuku. Cheap, breakfast included, great bed and shower, and quiet even in Shinjuku! I got up and had another big day of exploration!


Nishi Shinjuku Hotel Mystays

Address: 7 Chome-14-14 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan


Since I spend the previous day in central and West part of Tokyo, I focused this day on more so on the East side. For this update I'll cover: Metropolitan building, Shinjuku Gyoen Park/Garden, Olympic Park area, Meiji Jingu Stadium (professional baseball for the Swallows) along with Akihabara, Asakusa (a-sok-suh, thank you Elissa!), Asahi and Nikka whiskey, Thunder Dolphin & Baack Daaann Coaster!


Quick notes and hilarity and learnings from day 2:

*Saying hello, good morning/how are you in Japanese to the many workers you see out in public is a great way to learn how greetings are exchanged and how they can vary. "Ohayo gozaimasu!" Put a smile on everyone's face and it helped me get more confident with just being out and about in the city.


->Asakusa was my favorite part of Tokyo. All of the bridges across the water ways, unique architecture, and areas to either embrace the touristy chaos (Nakamise Street & ancient Sensō-ji temple) or to just chill out by the Sumida river.


? I was in Akihabara going from store to store and went into what I thought was a 10+ level arcade. Immediately was hit by a cloud of smoke upon entering and I quickly realized it was like a casino. It took me a minute to figure out how to operate the motion-sensor door until I realized the image of the hand on the door was trying to show me how to "touch to open" where as I thought the sign was saying "DONT touch the door"


*Hangryness hit me all of a sudden so I needed to stop for lunch. This katsu spot looked amazing, but when I sat down I realized there was no english menu and google translate doesn't work very well. This amazing older Japanese women taking my order disappeared for a few minutes, and then I see a large 8th-grade-science-project-like-colorful-cardboard moving towards me. She brought in the picture menu which was probably used to be put outside because she was able to hide behind the entire thing as she shimmied it over. I thanked her over and over again and got delicious chicken katsu curry.


*Akihabra was playing a ton of No Doubt in Japanese.


*Check the La Qua/Thunder Dolphin schedule and pick a day when it's open later in the evening. They sell an evening passport/unlimited ride wristband that's a great value vs just paying to ride TD a couple times.


*Thunder Dolphin was one of the few coasters in Japan where I could pick my seat. The first visit the place was deserted in the last 2 hours of operations so I rode the front, back, the ops were totally cool! They also let us pick when I returned with Allison and Alex on a return visit.


*There was a huge area cone'd off by police and a huge crowd gathering so I went to see what was up........

It was an electric scooter company like Lime (or any of the other electric scooters you see in big cities now) giving demos and business men and women were doing laps and looking so amazed at this new mode of transport



AKin no Kura Jr. (Akihabara katsu curry) - Japan, 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Sotokanda, 1 Chome−18−18 6階 ・駅前プラザ Akihabara Daibiru Building


Nikka Whiskey Bar - Japan, 〒107-0062 Tokyo, Minato City, Minamiaoyama, 5 Chome−4−31 B1F ニッカウイスキー本社ビル


Asahi Beer Asakusa - 1 Chome-23-1 Azumabashi, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0001, Japan


Let me know if you have any questions or want more info I'm happy to answer!



FUJI Q update is next!



Boom here's my hotel. Just look at how many blocks it is from Shinjuku station...and then see how massive Shinjuku station is...massive!


Big plans for a full day 2!


Good morning Shinjuku Station!


I'm heading over to the Government building where there are two towers to go on top of for.... free! Thanks Tokyo!


Is that a new crack on the Cocoon building? Is Mothra hatching? Where is Condor to call Godzilla?


ohayo gozaimasu!!!!!


Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is the green space on the right, I'll head there next.


Make sure to go on an off time or earlier in the morning to avoid long waits at the bottom. Again, it's free.


Ahh sights around Shinjuku as I head to the park.


No jellyfishing!!! Do not pet fish or eat Sweedish fish!!!


This bird only had one leg and was still successfully catching fish. Not pictured: a dozen photography students next to me


NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building, the 2nd tallest clock tower in the world. #1 in my heart.


One of the many gardens in Gyoen park. I think it cost ~500 yen to enter.


Just a great place to get away from the city for a bit and just relax.


In a Japanese garden in Tokyo in..Japan!!


Just popping out on the other side of the park. It's fully integrated with the surrounding residential area of Shinjuku.


t o k y o b i r b c r u


Approaching the Olympic park....TOP GOLF IN TOKYO?!


Jingu golf! I was tempted to swing though (heh) but was lured by something else...


Tokyo Baseball was in playoff mode, but there was no baseball today. Ask Jew/Joey about his experience going to a game! He'll tell you about all of the wrong decisions I've made!


Property of the Meiji Shrine, it is the home field of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows professional baseball team.


Are you part of the Swallows Crew?


Norichika Aoki is on the Swallows! A lot of MLB guys come through Tokyo or end their careers there.


Be a Swallows fan!


Swallows RISING


Here's the front of the stadium! They had their fight song/cheer playing on the speakers all day, it sounded like a game was happening.


No update is complete without a gashapon! Do you want to annoy your cat? Here's how in 6 different ways.


Heading to Akihabara! This train station was very unique. I'm not even 6' tall and this hallway's limit was probably 7'5".


Random train station info!


Video games! I'm in Akihabara! This seemed to be the most popular game. Way too intimidated to play, it looked like a crazy RPG.


This it what a video game arcade looks like at 11am on at random Tuesday, haha.


Shopping, video games, gambling, snacking, lewd nerdy things, it's all in Akihabara.


1,200 for that OG Blastoise!


Listening to No Doubt in Japanese and having some amazing katsu curry. Have you booked a trip to Japan yet?


How many nazi zombies do I need to kill to win the kawaii Timon or Stitch?


I played this baseball game for probably 30 minutes. It was a cool pinball/baseball mashup.


Gotta hit it away from the infield and out field to try for a hit. It was so much fun!


Time to wash away all of the sins I collected going in and out of all the comic stores!


A short walk from Akihabara take the famous stairs featured in Love Live School Idol Project anime to take you to Kanda Myoujin Shrine! Climb the stairs and make a wish!


Kanda Myoujin Shrine gets a lot of visitors since it's in a lot of anime (since it's so close to Akihabara) so there are a lot of English-speaking guides there.


Across the street - Yushima Seido. Dating to the 17th century, this Confucian temple is known for serving as a center of learning.


Confucius say "Don't touch my forbidden fruit!!"


It was seriously a nice serene place, I'm glad I stopped by! Collecting all of the spiritual energy for our Fuji Q day!


You seein' what I'm seein'? Post a comment if you do!


Yes, you can take a Mario Kart 'track' around Tokyo. There have been some IP battles that might prevent you from getting in full Mario/Yoshi/Peach gear but they're still going!


A quick train ride over to Asakusa area! Glimpses of the Sky Tree.


This. Is. Tokyo.


It seemed as if it was perfectly centered looking down every street.


Indoor/outdoor shopping Asakusa near Orange St. Find owl/shiba cafes, matcha ice cream, and more here.


Tanuki Street is right around the corner! It was underwhelming, IMO. It was just some of these little (beer mug size) tanukis in different moods. It was cute but nothing to go out of your way for.


Getting closer to the Sky Tree.


All of a sudden, I was caught up in this crowd swarming towards Sensoji Temple and check it out, Sumos hanging out with their significant others on their time off!


William says "Definitely Rikishi (sumo wrestlers) and their significant others, enjoying their time off between sumo tournaments!"


Finally able to break away, I was treated to this stunning view.


the Sumida river to the right


Time for a high ball! First whisky of the trip! I made some Aussie friends in Tokyo for the Rugby Cup. Oh yeah, Rugby Cup!


Asakusa at sunset. Take. It. In.


Oh yeah, I'm supposed to go ride an Intamin tonight!


But don't forget to give money kitty a chin rub.


When in Tokyo, save all your energy for the evenings because that's the time to be out and about!


This is just so surreal.


Am I really here at Thunder Dolphin in Tokyo?!


My gracious. It's mineeeee allllll mineeeeee!


Oh, I didn't see you two.


Now it's mine!!!


Thunder Dolphin is like seeing a glass of water mirage in the desert. Is it really there? It's there. It's real. But it's just water, not a Coke or a beer. Sure, it'll quench your thirst but it's just water. Thanks for reading my cryptic review!


La Qua is into two pieces, on the triangle side you've got Thunder Dolphin, ferris wheel, flume, and across the street there's some more flats and the new coaster.


See you next time, Thunder Dolphin!


I rode Baack Daan! I had it to myself, it was hysterical. It's the perfect cute family coaster that's very Japanese and has some surprises!


Vending machines everywhere in Tokyo and yes that means ice cream vending machines!


Grindr for cats or luggage delivery? Email DAN at mrt0ad13@aol.com to find out and tell him to get back on the forum!


Ending the night with William and Joey with some Nikka Whiskey! Thanks for reading! FUJI Q NEXT!

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this update was everything I was hoping it would be, Zach.


some really STUNNING pics you got over by the sky tree. . . if I'm back in Tokyo, that's absolutely on my list to do (the whole Asakusa & Akihabara areas, actually)


thanks for sharing these. . I knew you got some really fun stuff done during your "alone" days before we all met up. Great to see the full pic reports.

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Vending machines in Japan are awesome! No matter what they're selling in them, you keep staring at them,

TRYING to figure out which (i.e. ice cream) product is which, etc. I love the challenge, heh.


Great Last Solo Day you had, there! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Love the shots of nature and landscaping, where you find it, or "run into it".

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It's really sad, because I have such a simple mind that the Go-Karts and Baseball game machine were my favorite parts of the TR. NOT to say that everything else wasn't incredible.


Great update. This explains why you couldn't give two shits about Six Flags Great America.

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Wednesday, October 9th! Fuji Q time!


Anyone who has read TPR Japan updates going back to the beginning of TPR should gag and shudder when they hear the words "Fuji Q" for so many reasons. I honestly was not planning to go to Fuji Q because it just seemed too risky. Even a week before visiting the weather forecast just always seemed iffy and a wasted day in Japan was just something I didn't want to risk. But. I thought about DoDoDonpa, Eejanaika, and Takabisha and the idea of being so close to Mt. Fuji and I started to come around.


I went in listening to everything Elissa and Robb had to say, had low expectations, and it turns out my visits to different temples and shrines in Tokyo the days before paid off. We had a pretty great day as far as Fuji Q visits go.


Let's be real here - outside of the main coasters, there were still lots of closed rides and they had just closed the mouse for good. I don't care about missing them but I do care about how much I have to pay to get into the park.


This park is very small. It's a slab of concrete except for the new European entrance. The setting is fantastic up in the mountains near Mt. Fuji.


The food was great! Operations were just fine! We were able to pick seats, there wasn't any down time on rides that opened with the park, and the park announces any early closures.


We got very lucky this visit. I'm not taking that for granted at all. After riding DoDoDonpa and Eejanaika, I would make a return visit for them even if everything else was closed. I think that highly of them.


DoDoDonpa 100% lived up to the hype and the launch is unlike any other coaster element (airtime, zero g, lateral, etc) in that it is just best described as pure bliss. Following the launch the dip down provides a great pop of air and the loop pulls some serious g's at the bottom while giving some hangtime at the top. Since the trains use real tires it is bouncy at times so depending on your tolerance that will effect how much you like it. It's not a jackhammer by any means.


Fujiyama was very okay in the middle when we tried to play it safe on our first ride. Our final ride in the back row was fantastic. My thinking is since the back of the train isn't THROWN into those weird turns and elements towards the middle/end like the front of the train is there just....wasn't any joltyness or roughness. It was excellent.


Takabisha I'm a massive fan of. I rode this right after DoDoDonpa, the strongest launch in the world. I really expected Takabisha's launch to feel like a booster bike. Nope, it still kicked my ass. Smooth, too.


Seinfeld fan visits Japan.


Great morning for a walk!


Through these doors are....


Your opportunity to win a full sized can of Pringles.


The views when we arrived at Fuji Q were stunning. Snowcap-less Mt. Fuji.


Gotta look my best for FujiSan.


At the back of the park you'll find Eejanaika, the 2nd S&S 4D


I have never been on a 4D before so I had no idea what to expect.


Heading up the lift to be chucked off a cliff into oblivion.


This ride is an experience and now I am on an insatiable quest to ride the others!




Ain't it great?


Eeeeeeejainaika! Eeeeeeejainaika! Eeeeeeejainaika! Eeeeeeejainaika!


My first ride, the restraints were not as tight as they could be so next ride I made sure to pull as tight as possible because whew, you get absolutely tossed in every way possible!


The coasters weren't scary enough for me, but the Halloween decorations did the trick.


When Fujiyama opened in 1996 it was the world's tallest roller coaster at 259 feet


Roller coasters + Japanese Beer = ZB Heaven


Best view from a lift!




First ride in the middle was okay, but our last ride in the back was fantastic. I wish everyone had a spin on Fujiyama like we did!


The trains looked so uncomfortable, but they were just fine!


As you can see the weather can change any second here.


Thankfully there was no rain and the rides ran all visit.


高飛車 Takabisha


Fuji Q had these awesome selfie spots where you just set up your camera timer and go stand to take a photo!




Beyond vertical 121* drop. I'm not really a fan of these extreme beyond vertical drops, I'd rather have a simple straight down.


It's so smooth!


Taking in FujiSan upside down is wild




Eejanaika has turned me into a 4D addict, now I need to go to SFMM and Dinosaur Park in China to try them all


Similar to DoDoDonpa's launch, I'm just speechless or screaming the whole ride.


Make sure you hold on tight!


The structure is massive.


Kitty will soak you. See how literally everyone is wearing ponchos? Learn from the locals.




You know how Flight of Fear has this whole pre-show-queue story thing? So did this ride.


Instead of aliens it's about angry cats and flooding.


I swear at one point you're sideways. This was wicked!!


Sneaking through the massive spider webs to get some great shots.


DoDoDonpa's massive loop. It's an excellent replacement for the violent airtime hill that (I never experienced) was there before.


Loved this WAY more than I thought!


It's pure bliss.


Location is just the icing.




Did you know this has fire at night?


Strap your flaps in everyone, we're going on a quick little photo shoot here.





Engage rainbow tunnel!



See! Fire!!


Some cool relics they had out!


Moonsault Scramble!


Wow, what a trip.


What an unexpectedly amazing start to our Japan trip!


Eyes here!


Fujiyama O-Shiri Crew! The back seat is AMAZING!

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I’m dying to go to Japan and Fuji-Q. I’m glad you had an excellent time here! I just watched a video on YouTube where someone talked about Fujiyama somewhat negatively, but they too had a middle row seat. The back is definitely where it’s at. That is a bucket list coaster for me, along with the other three headlining attractions.


Also love they had the front car of Moonsault Scramble out on display. That was a ride that caught my attention at a young age. 6.5 Gs?!? That seems physically impossible.

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Hey everyone, hope the week is going well!


Thursday, October 10th!


You would think most of us would be pretty wiped out from a loooong day at Fuji Q (up at 4am-bed at 11ish, all well worth it) but were brimming with excitement since we were getting on the Shinkansen for the first time this trip. Osaka is the destination for Universal Studios Japan.


Oh, and there’s potentially a massive typhoon headed to Osaka, too! Robb and Elissa did an incredible job keeping us up to date on how to a) stay safe b) best use our time c) predict how Universal will react. We were all patient and I think everyone had a great plan of attack.Our group, who had never been to Universal Japan before, decided to buy an evening ticket for Thursday night just in case Universal decided to close early on Friday (the storm was either going to hit Friday evening or Saturday). While I was bummed to lose a half day of just exploring Osaka doing non park stuff, I was way more excited with the opportunity for more time at Universal and more HHN!


FIRST! We were set up so well by R&E. When we arrived at the fantastic Universal hotel, our rooms were not going to be ready for a couple hours. It was lunch time so that gave us the chance to get something to eat and more importantly… get typhoon rations! Just in case we lost power/weren’t able to find stores open when the storm hit. We were going to be ready for a day inside the hotel all day. There was a grocery store, 7/11, Family Mart/Lawson right there in the Universal City Walk area so it was incredibly easy to stock up on the necessities!


After we got our rations, hotel rooms were ready, and we did a little sampling of our rations to try some fun new snacks, sake, whiskey, beer, and more for happy hour before going into the park! When I say we, it’s Alex, Allison, Jon, bert, William, and we had David and Tabatha with us here and there so it was a solid group!


We didn’t have too much of a plan, but we agreed we’d try to get on Flying Dino if we could (since our express pass was later in the day Friday…so if the park closed early we’d pretty much have to eat the cost) do a haunt or two, and just soak in the atmosphere. Here’s how it went! Bert I threw a couple of your photos in here, too. I’ll give more of a breakdown on the rides/haunts in the next full day update.



Universal Japan is amazing for many reasons, but one big highlight was were those who staffed the place! Our friend here saw me with a beer in line and was having fun with making sure I finished my beer before the ride, haha.


It's pretty similar to the look and feel of an airplane, but more comfortable =.


No bento for me since we had breakfast, but I tried to pick a random drink or snack whenever I had the opportunity. These were similar to fig newtons, but apricot flavor and wrapped in a kitkat wafer.


Studying up on our express passes! Really not that difficult once to understand, but unnecessarily difficult in general haha. Thankfully taking a picture of them worked and still scanned so we didn't need to be carrying around newspapers with us.


Shinkansen time! Let's get out of Tokyo and go to Osaka!


So many delicious bento options... all right in the train station. So convenient!


Alex or Allison's chocolate. Not pictured: Sake and beer, haha.


They were also having us do this peek-a-boo "SCARY....SURPRISE!" thing which was just so funny given the language barrier.


Okay okay let's not eat and drink all of our rations let's get over to the park!


TYPHOON HAGIBIS RATIONS! All the necessities. Spicy beef...cheetos... sweet potato sticks, Chicken ramen snacks, and some good 'ol Suntory Whiskey!


Hogwarts time! It was kinda of weird experiencing one without Diagon Alley. It definitely feels like it's lacking as far as attractions go, but it's definitely a better Hogsmeade than Orlando because it's more secluded and the black lake is cool, too.


It feels like there is something missing here..


Butterbeer! The only non alcoholic beverage I had this evening, haha.


I'm weird I like the regular vs frozen.


It's just as fantastic as the Orlando version! Such a great ride and it was fun to ride with some that had never experienced it before.


At night it looks even more stunning!


Beautiful day... we were still in shirt + shorts mode in October. Amazing!


My 2018 trip to Universal Orlando made me a Potter fan, so during 2019 pre-Japan I read the books. I'm a real fan now so time to celebrate!


I found my way to the source!


The classic red ale they sell in the other parks and.... a Suntory High Ball!


Making our way around to Jurassic Park.


The beautiful bridge in the background over the Aji river lets you know you're not in Florida or Orlando!


This was my first time riding JP with a working T-Rex finale....EPIC!


This is an unacceptable amount of wetness and pressure on my skull.


Looking across the pond in the middle of the park. Such a great looking Universal!


Chucky was posting a 15 minute wait so it would be our first HHN maze! It was fantastic with so many incredible costumes, well done sets, and unique characters. Don't miss it!


You have a mysterious scientist who's sick of all these zombies. Zombies are boring and overdone!


Here you are, nice and comfy ready for space.


Sorry your space flight is delayed, so let's go all Animal Crossing and go fishing?


Fishing for monsters!!! With zombies as bait!!! YES!! You lure the real spooky monsters out of a different dimension andddd....when you exit the ride into the park boom you see all the HHN monsters walking around. You successfully reeled in them big monsters, well done Chip.


It's time for our first coaster at USJ! Space Fantasy - Black Hole HHN version


By this point we were getting some good news about the weather so we called it a night. We didn't do Hollywood Dream or Dino due to long lines and no express pass, we were going to save all those for the next day.


551 HORAI post-USJ party! Fuuuck so delicious... the shimp shumai turned out to be my favorite!


Can you tell who the theme park enthusiasts are?


The much sought after beer vending machine...ahhh Japan <3. Next update will be the full day at USJ!

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such a wonderful update, and brings back great memories.


you got some really good pics, too. How did I miss those Butterbeer barrels?


and now I want Shumai, and some of those buns again

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such a wonderful update, and brings back great memories.


you got some really good pics, too. How did I miss those Butterbeer barrels?


and now I want Shumai, and some of those buns again


I can't remember if you went into the Hog's Head, but that's where that shot is from. It was a sectioned off area attached to the Three Broomsticks where we had lunch. It was in the same building but dark and off to the side, haha. The hog's head blinks and snorts and moves around. Next time!

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