We opted to go to Hirakata instead of Universal because we heard of some of the horrendous wait times at Universal. This was a great decision and an unforgettable experience. Park is in a small town that is about a half hour train ride outside of Osaka. Park appears to be frequented mostly by Japanese locals and there appeared to be few tourists. Although it lacked the newest, most daring rides, the rides were exciting enough to keep our family entertained for the entire day. There are a few roller coasters, carnival type rides, a log ride and adventure area. The lines were not bad and most of the rids had a 5 minute or less wait (some of the roller coasters were about 20-30 minutes). Our 6 year old and 9 year old didn't want to leave at the end of the day! There eateries are also decent and affordable compared to other amusement parks. The park offers an admission only ticket which gets you admission to the park and then you pay for each ride individually as you go, or there is also an all inclusive option where they give you a wristband for unlimited rides. Go for the all inclusive package.
The only negative comment that I have is that the height requirements for some of the rides seem a bit conservative. Our 6 year old is very small, but is daring and can ride almost all of the rides in U.S. theme parks no problem, but he was about an inch shy of being able to ride some of the roller coasters at Hirakata. He still had fun riding the other rides, but it would have been great if he could ride the roller coasters with his older sister. On the flip side, since he is small, he can pass as a 5 year old so we paid less for his admission. So no real complaints here. Will definetly return and will tell friends to visit this park before they visit Universal.
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