We’re officially back in the land of kimchi after a great trip to Japan. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll slowly be posting about our experiences. While in Osaka, we were able to spend a fun day at Universal Studios Japan. If you ever get a chance to check out this park, I recommend it!
While we wanted to check out mostly cultural Japanese attractions while on this trip, I had hoped to visit one amusement park. When deciding between Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan, we picked USJ because neither of us had been to a Universal Studios location before and we also were interested in checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
It’s interesting to note that while many people comment on how expensive Japan is (it can be for long-term travel or if you don’t plan properly), the admission tickets for this park are much cheaper than the Florida and California locations. A one-day adult ticket (with tax included) is 7,200 yen (about $57 USD), compared to about $108 (with tax included) for a Universal Studios Florida one-day adult ticket. Even our local amusement park back home is close to $45 for a one-day adult pass, if you buy tickets at the gate. So, this price felt very reasonable!
While at the park, we spent a big chunk of the day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, because we’re both fans of the books and movies. We spent a lot of time walking throughout the themed shops — there’s a lot to see. We also ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks. I had frozen butterbeer, which was delicious and Nick had a Hog’s Head Brew. The food itself was okay, but nothing special. I do recommend eating and drinking there because it’s fun to take in the atmosphere! While walking through this portion of Universal Studios Japan, you really do feel like you’re at Hogwarts! The music, how the staff members are dressed, and Moaning Mrytle in the bathrooms are just some of the awesome added touches that make it seem real.
As for the rest of the park, we enjoyed riding rides like the Back to the Future ride, the Hollywood Dream roller coaster, and the JAWS boat ride. Many of the rides have been there for many years, but they’re still a lot of fun. Unfortunately, they were re-doing (or possibly removing?) the Jurassic Park ride when we visited. If you like movies and amusement parks, you’ll enjoy your visit here! If you plan to check out the park while in Japan, check out the below tips!
Universal Studios Japan Tips
- If possible, visit on a weekday. Like most theme parks, it gets packed on the weekend. It wasn’t really possible for us to avoid the weekend based on our traveling dates and destinations, but you may be able to pack more rides in if you visit on a less busy weekday.
- Arrive as early as you can. While the park opens at 9:00 on most days, there will likely be many people already lined up well before the park opens. We got there at 8:30 and there was a huge line. If you get there very early, you may be able to race straight to one of the busiest rides so that you can avoid a long wait.
- Get help buying your tickets ahead of time. We didn’t buy tickets ahead of time because it was a challenge due to the website only allowing you to order in Japanese. If I were to visit again, I would get help from a travel agency and obtain my tickets ahead of time. This can allow you to also order express pass tickets in advance. We arrived around 8:30 before the park opened, and they were already sold out of the express passes for the day! We would have loved to have those.
- Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter early in the day. We found out (luckily by reading the park map/guide) that they hand out passes for this part of the park. This helps to keep the Wizarding World of Harry Potter from getting over-crowded. You will be given a ticket with a time to visit later in the day. They may reach capacity and at that point, tickets are given on a lottery basis. It’s best to be safe and get your ticket early!
- Take advantage of the single ride lanes, which is available for some rides. This can cut your wait time down considerably! We waited less than 20 minutes for the Jaws ride and we were still able to ride next to each other. For regular seating, some rides listed wait times at 3 hours+!
As you can see from our pictures, we had a great experience. If you get the chance to visit Universal Studios Japan while in Osaka, do it! You’ll have a lot of fun!