These 12 things are a lot better than french hens and lords a-leaping.

On the twelfth day of the winter holiday season, our dear friends at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) sent to us…

12 Souvenirs Selling

Every time we visit USJ, we’re sure to stop by the 1-Up Factory in the Super Nintendo World section and this year certainly did not disappoint. You might notice by the photo below that a festive bow was placed on the lamppost. That’s because the whole section was decorated for the holidays.

▼ The Princess’ decorations are not in another castle

Walking in, you’re immediately greeted by some Nintendo holiday apparel from Pom-Pom Crowns for 3,200 yen (US$23) to Mario snowman cushions for 4000 yen ($29) and even three types of holiday sweaters for 6,700 yen ($48) each.

There’s plenty more inside too, such as pairs of Mario snowman slippers for 2,800 yen ($20)…

…and Mario-themed stockings for 2,300 yen ($16).

You can also decorate your home with some Mario winter-themed hand towels or mugs with invincibility star spoons to stir your piping hot cocoa with impunity.

▼ Just kidding. You should always be careful with piping hot cocoa.

And adorn your bags, keys or ears this season with Mario Joyful Holidays earrings, charms, and keychains.

There’s certainly a lot at USJ you can take home with you this winter. In fact, on the eleventh day of the season USJ is giving us…

11 More Souvenirs Selling

We’ve talked about the 1-Up Factory so much that we’ve overlooked the fact that there’s two gift shops in Super Nintendo World. The other one is Mario Motors, located at the exit of the Mario Kart attraction. They have most of the same holiday merch, along with some more Mario Kart-oriented stuff.

You probably don’t get more Mario Kart-oriented than an entire plush Mario Kart for 3,800 yen ($27). You can find them throughout the store, including over these racks of Mario Kart tote bags and socks.

It took me a minute to realize that they were really tissue box covers, which means you’ll need to set aside a little more space for your tissues than usual.

There’s no shortage of other plush items either, such as question block throw pillows, Bullet Bill cushions, and these cool blue shells for 4,000 yen ($29) that are also available in red. There are also some Mario Kart jackets and hoodies available in various sizes.

The shells have little holes inside so you can use them as a hand warmer, but I thought it looked more bad-ass as a plush gauntlet.

And finally, there were a lot of neat boxes of cookies, chocolates, and other snacks but my favorite was probably this Thwomp box of crackers for 1,500 yen ($11).

And speaking of favorites, most agreed that the plush banana peel weapons were the star of the bunch, and that’s including actual stars.

We’re still just scratching the surface of what’s available, but in the spirit of the numbered theme let’s move on to the tenth day of the season where USJ is giving us…

10 Minutes O’ Projection Mapping

From 11 November to 9 January, after the sun goes down USJ will hold a daily tree lighting and projection mapping display in the central courtyard area.

▼ The lighting of the tree

While holiday themed music plays throughout the area, the tree throbs various colors of light while images of snow, bells, and cakes dance across the buildings.

The entire projection display runs for about 10 minutes, but just starts again in a loop once it finishes so don’t worry about missing anything.

Actually, this huge tree is also the scene of what USJ gives us on the ninth day of the season…

Nine Minions A-Dancing

Who doesn’t love a bunch of minions dancing for their amusement, aside from that one guy in the middle that doesn’t seem to be having a good time.

Minions are always prowling around the park, but this is a chance to catch them dressed up in unusual costumes featuring the likes of reindeer, trees, and Santa.

These are enough festivities to make you a little hungry, but luckily on the eighth day of the season USJ is bringing us…

Eight Main Menu Uh, Items

Every time we dine at Kinopio’s Cafe we’re never disappointed so we were sure to stop by again.

Not only is everything crafted and served in a Mario theme, but all of the eight items pictured above, from the Mario and Luigi burgers to the Yoshi carbonara pasta and even the Fish Bone Mouniere (“Fish Bone” is an enemy character from the game), is really meticulously prepared and tastes amazing.

There’s even a special holiday dish being served, but we’ll get to that a few days later. Before that, on the 7th day of the season, USJ sent to us….

7 Ornaments A-Hanging

Sure, they’re not hanging yet, but they will be in your home after picking up one of these four-packs of Super Mario themed tree ornaments for 3,900 yen ($28).

Even better, this set of two ornaments for 1,700 yen ($12) comes stuffed with chocolates!

And there’s also this lovely plush Mario Wreath for 3,500 yen ($25). And don’t get on my case about a wreath not technically being an ornament… It’s hard making an article based on a classic carol like this!

Anyway, on the sixth day of winter at USJ they are giving us…

Six People A-Posing

Not just any people… Well OK, those kids are just any people… Don’t get me wrong though, I’m sure they’re wonderful kids and all but… Jeez, the point I’m trying to make is that several Mario characters including Mario and Luigi themselves are available to get your picture taken with them.

I also made the discovery this time that when Mario and Luigi talk, their mouths actually move. It’s pretty impressive from a mascot technology standpoint.

Moving along, on the fifth day of the season USJ is giving us…

Five Miiiiiission Nooootes

OK, you’re probably asking yourself, like I was; “What the heck is a ‘Mission Note?'” But it’s actually pretty neat. By friending USJ on the Japanese messaging app Line, you can access Mission Notes which are five missions that you can accomplish just by hanging around the park.

The missions are only in Japanese, but there’s no shortage of incredibly cheery staff at USJ with decent English ability who can probably help.

They’re like puzzle quizzes. For example, the mission we did was to read a few sentences describing the Hollywood section and find which one is not correct. It’s not just for fun either, because if you complete the missions, you’ll be entered in a contest to win a free one-day pass at the park or assorted USJ merch.

It’s something you can do while enjoying everything else USJ has to offer, such as what they’re giving on the fourth day…

4-D Jujutsu Kaisen

Also screening around the clock is Jujutsu Kaisen The Real 4-D which is a short original episode of the anime series in which the gang from Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School investigate the opening of a suspicious Osaka campus.

Like other Universal Studios 3-D movies, the visuals are top notch and jump right out into your face. Also, since this is 4-D you can expect the very ground to quake beneath you and the occasional feel of Curse drool splashing across your face.

After toweling ourselves off, we headed over to the third day of the holidays when USJ gave us…

Three-Piece Lunch

As we mentioned earlier, Kinopio’s Cafe has some special limited edition dishes for the season, so we tried them all. First up was the Super Star Hot Yuzu Lemonade for 650 yen ($4.65).

All decked out in stars, this drink might frighten some with its mention of the very sour yuzu fruit. But with a hearty dollop of cream it’s like drinking a warm glass of lemon merengue pie.

For the main dish, we had the Chef’s Special Gratin Hamburg Steak & Mashed Potato Tree for 2,600 yen ($19), served with a side of rice or bread.

This nicely seasoned Salisbury steak is topped with a soft-boiled egg and white sauce, all covered in a sheet of rich cheese.

And yes, that little green tree on the side is actually made of mashed potato!

That’s just the beginning too. The white drizzle garland is actually cheese and hidden underneath the tree is a tart filled with presents of pasta and spinach.

For dessert, there was the Chef’s Special Cut Log Cake for 900 yen ($6.44). Saying this is “chocolate cake” is a huge understatement. There are so many different kinds of chocolate packed into this cake, I’m not sure I even noticed them all.

There are also some cherries inside and little hard sugar mushrooms on top.

Altogether it’s a rather expensive meal, which is probably expected at a theme park. But unlike places that charge ten bucks for a crummy hot dog, the food at USJ is extremely high quality and actually feels worth the gourmet prices.

With full bellies we moved on to the second day of the holidays where USJ has given us…

Two Stars in Pine Trees

Sure, the tree thing usually comes last, but we’re all about subverting expectations. So here we have a lovely tree topped with an invincibility star, along with two Mario and Luigi snow men that you can pose for photos with.

As for the second tree, that’s found back inside the Mario Motors gift shop and can even be yours for 23,000 yen ($165).

That just leaves us with the first day of the holiday season, where USJ is giving us…

One Monster Hunter in XR

Sure there’s only one, but the real reason this attraction is mentioned here is because it is hands-down the single most fun thing I’ve ever done at USJ. I’ve done VR before and thought it was fun, but I never really see the same potential that people like Mark Zuckerberg seem to see.

That all changed on this day. Saying something “makes you feel like you’re in the game” sounds like a cliché, but this really makes you feel like you’re in a Monster Hunter game. Guests get into teams of four and choose one of several characters, armors, and weapons.

Everyone then dons VR helmets, hand sensors, and portable backpack computers that look like Ghostbuster proton packs. Then you’re immersed in the game and when you walk in reality, you walk in virtual reality. I was whacking monsters with a hammer that I held in my real hands which I also used to gather herbs, metals, and stag beetles along the way.

▼ That’s me!

Parts of it were tricky, like climbing and using the grappling hook, but even if you’re hopeless, like I was at one point, you’ll just get warped to the next spot to keep things moving. When everyone was finished we all looked noticeably tired having just gone on a journey and battled gigantic beasts. We were also given a QR code that accessed our results.

▼ I came in second and P.K. Sanjun got third place

As you can see, it’s a jam-packed holiday season at Universal Studios Japan, and that’s just what I could cram into the “12 Days” format. So, get out and see it all for yourself while you can, because everything there is for a limited time only!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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