City Life, Events, Explore and Discover, People, Photography, Food

Takoyaki たこ焼き

This is by far the most famous Osaka street food or the people here call it “snack food”.

Every visitor to Osaka will want to try it.

Not just foreign non-Japanese visitors, even locals from Tokyo or other prefectures will want to have a taste of it.

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Takoyaki たこ焼き

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City Life, Coffee Connections, Events, Explore and Discover, Food, How To, People, Photography

How to enjoy the best of Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is becoming more popular and crowded.

What visitors wanted are the excitement and fun.

What everybody wishes to avoid are the long queue and hours of waiting time for attractions.

So I am going to share some insider tips how to enjoy the best of USJ with practical important info park staff would rather not say directly and openly but you wish you knew!


(1) Time in terms of days not hours in a day!

If you have more days to spare the better!

A lot of tourist on short trip uses the 1 or 2 Day Pass but left with that sense of dissatisfaction wishing they have more time as the park do offer great fun and excitement with lots of special attractions.

My personal best is The Flying Dinosaur!

Be informed sometime the park is open but certain attractions are closed due to technical maintenance, earthquake tremors or strong winds!


(2) Get the best value-for-money ticket!

The park management has been issuing more new types of pass each year adding to more confusion. The new “Express Pass” was supposed to help short-cut waiting time but with the ever increasing crowd visitors are back to long queue again.

To enjoy the best of Universal Studios Japan I strongly recommend the Universal Annual Pass




Here is the important practical reason park staff would rather not say directly and openly but something that will help you enjoy the theme park better!

“The Universal Annual Pass (UAP) is the only pass with multi-entry capability that allows you to enter and exit, re-enter again as you need even within the same day!”




Imagine all the long queue and waiting time people gets hungry and thirsty, food and drinks sold inside the theme park are excessively priced to the profits of the operator.

It’s not unusual for visitors to stay 12 hours within the park! There are people who started waiting outside the gate before the door open and stayed till the park close.

USJ have strict rule against visitors bringing in their own food – except for baby needs – and there are growing numbers of visitors who sneak in food from outside.

**I would strongly suggest against that because you will have lots of problems with recycle waste! Visitor to Japan already know this country is very strict about recycles and throwing rubbish outside is a big problem!

Furthermore if you enter the park with lots of extra food and drinks like going for picnic it feel cumbersome. You rather wish to carry as little as possible to enjoy most of the attractions.




Right outside the park is Universal City Walk where you will find a long list of restaurants and food that are at least 3 to 5 times cheaper then inside the theme park!

Therefore with the UAP you can just exit the park anytime to get food and drink at Universal City Walk – eat till you are full and satisfied – and re-enter the park again!

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The Universal Annual Pass is valid for one whole year from the date of purchase!

Even if you exit the country and come back you can still use it although it is not transferable. When you buy it your name and ID is recorded with it therefore it is not transferable but it remains valid for a whole year from the date of purchase!


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Currently the standard Universal Annual Pass @ ¥25,800 with 20 blackout/exclusion days but these dates refer to super peak season like Year End Count-Down and Golden Week when the whole park is so jam packed to the point going to use toilet will be problem! I would not recommend visiting during these dates.

But if you want the full privilege without any blackout/exclusion days, the Universal Annual Pass VIP @ ¥36 800

End 2018 the management introduced “Universal Annual Pass Light” @ ¥19,800 but this one comes with 75 blackout/exclusion days!

I hope this info will be useful in helping you plan for a trip to USJ!


David Z

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City Life, Coffee Connections, Events, Explore and Discover, Food, People, Photography

Universal City Walk Osaka

This Universal City Walk is just outside Universal Studios Japan theme park.

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Even if you are not visiting Universal Studios Japan theme park, there are lots of restaurants, cafe and shopping to enjoy here outside the park.

Can be a nice place to hang out with friends for a cup of coffee!


David Z

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City Life, Explore and Discover, Food, People, Photography

Visual Communications

Japan tourism ministry had tried ways and means to attract more tourists with hope and expectations to cash in on the tourist dollars many other nations are competing for.

But there have been long standing issues with free WIFI and language.

Japan is one of the few or last monolingual nation.

Majority of the 127 million residents don’t speak English!

A lot of the young people know English but they may not speak it!

Somebody did come up with ingenious ways to communicate.

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City Life, Coffee Connections, Explore and Discover, Food, Photography

Cheap Lunch #001

Inside Japan, eating out can be expensive compared to cooking your own meal.

With lots of choices for supermarkets and low cost raw materials many housewives cut cost by preparing home-cooked O-Bento for their working men and families.

When you are out and needed to pay for a quick bite, there are very limited options for cheap lunch depending on locations and providers.

Convenient stores can be an option but most of these konbini (コンビニ) don’t provide eat-in space and Japanese culture considered it “bad manners” to eat and walk on the streets!

Take a breather and relax …here is one good option if you happen to be in the right location!

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This Hot Dog by Burger King cost only 150 JPY! And you can dine in!

Here are three Burger King at popular spots in Kobe and Osaka

Burger King @ Kobe-Sannomiya

Burger King @ Namba

Burger King @ Shinsaibashi