Your Ultimate Guide to Universal Studios Japan

I may not be the biggest fan of theme parks, but one place that I really looked forward to on my trip to Osaka was going to Universal Studios Japan. As a Harry Potter fan, it has been a dream for me to go to Hogwarts, play Quidditch with Harry Potter, and perhaps even marry him. LOL. But there is much, much more than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that you can see in USJ. So, for those of you who are planning on visiting the place soon, here is a guide for you!

Buy your tickets in advance.

This is very crucial when it comes to theme parks. I always buy my tickets in advance through online travel platform re-sellers. Besides, if you’re lucky, you might be able to snatch discounted ticket prices. Sometimes, they even offer buy one take one tickets! ;) Just print out the voucher, go straight up the entrance, and scan the bar code at the gates – that’s it! Plain and simple. No need to waste 30-45 minutes in line because you’ll already be doing that inside the park. This will save you so much time.

(READ: 14 Ways to Visit Japan on a Budget)

Buy an Express Pass if you can.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie and you would like to experience more than 2 rides for your 1 day pass in USJ without stressing over the long waiting time for a ride, I suggest you buy the Express Pass. This is something I regret not doing, but I will definitely buy one the next time I visit USJ. You can also buy this in advance through online travel platform re-sellers. Do take note that this is different from the actual park ticket itself, though, and this is merely optional.

How to get to Universal Studios Japan:

From Osaka Station, the fare is just 180 yen. You can either take a direct train and get there in 12 minutes, or do a quick transfer at Nishikujo Station and get there in 15 minutes.

From Kansai International Airport, take the Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Nishikujo Station, and then transfer to the JR Sakurajima Line. The trip is 1 hour and 20 minutes long and the fare is 1,190 yen.

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Opening Hours:

The opening hours are not the same everyday and also varies by season. Usually, the park opens between 8:30 and 9:00, and closes between 19:00 and 21:00. You can check the USJ calendar for the most up-to-date schedule. Also, try to be at the park 1 hour before opening time, so you can enter the park first and get dibs on the front line of your first ride! :)

Tip: If your itinerary allows, avoid visiting the park on weekends and school holidays as the waiting time for attractions will be longer during those times. It’s usually best to visit USJ on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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Queue at Single Rider Lanes.

If you don’t have an Express Pass, consider queuing at the Single Rider Lane. This is a great alternative, even if you’re going to the park as a group. Unless it’s really important for you to stick together during a ride, then this is a much faster way to experience those rides at USJ.

This was the route that we followed during our day at USJ:

Disclaimer: apologies if the arrows made it a bit more confusing, but I have also listed the route that we took below for your reference:

  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Amity Village
  • Jurassic Park
  • San Francisco
  • Minion Park
  • New York
  • Hollywood
  • Back to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Roam around Universal Wonderland before leaving the park

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We were aware that we had to get a timed ticket to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but by the time we reached the booth to get it at, the sign board said that we didn’t need one, after all. I’m not really sure when the timed ticket rule applies, but either way, every Harry Potter fan will be amazed by how realistic everything is there.

From the Flying Ford Anglia:

To this life-sized Hogwarts Express:

Where you can take a photo with the Hogwarts Express conductor… if you’re lucky enough, anyway. He’s not always there; but when he is, it’s just for a short period of time:

To Hogsmeade:

Where you can find “shops” like these:

And the moving Sirius Black Wanted Poster:

Just at the end of Hogsmeade, you will be welcomed by a majestic view of Hogwarts:

Where you can either take the Castle Walk and experience the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D – which is definitely a must! I swear. If I had the Express Pass, I would probably have ridden it on repeat lol Right outside the exit of the Forbidden Journey Ride, there’s also a souvenir shop where you can buy items like this mug:

Or a wand at 4,900 yen:

It’s not cheap; but hey, if you buy a wand, you’ll get to cast spells all over WWOHP… like a real witch or wizard! :D

Read on for more!


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