universal studio japan harry potter

The Klook Guide To Universal Studios Japan 2017

A magical world awaits at Universal Studios Japan!

Updated 11 July 2017

You can’t visit Osaka and NOT visit Universal Studios Japan, but with so many other like-minded tourists and locals thinking the same, planning a trip to one of Japan’s favorite theme parks can prove to be quite the nightmare!

The Klook Team recently had the chance to visit this amazing place and here are some insider tips and tricks of our own!

1. What time does Universal Studios Japan open?

Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Japan’s opening hours vary a lot between seasons so it’s best to check the official website for the most up to date information. Alternatively, you can purchase the Universal Studios Japan VIP Wristband* for insider information on park opening hours and front of line admission for certain rides!

USJ VIP Wristband

With this wristband, you’ll receive an email a day before alerting you of the opening times so you are among the first to enter the park through the VIP line. Additionally, you also get access to view Osaka’s skyline from the tallest building in Japan, HARUKAS 300.

Universal Studios Japan typically opens between 8:30am and 9:30am and closes between 7:00pm and 9:00pm with longer opening hours on weekends and public holidays.

*Do note the VIP Wristband has to be collected from HARUKAS 300 the day before your intended Universal Studios Japan visit.

2. When is the best time to visit Universal Studios Japan?

Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit as crowds start to stream in from Friday till Tuesday.

While Universal Studios Japan sees huge traffic throughout the year, it is less crowded in January and inbetween June and July when the park undergoes a theme change. Most shows and parades do not run during this period, which might explain the smaller crowds.

3. What time is the last ride?

Flying Dinosaur at Universal Studios Japan

Rides typically close at 6.30pm, though shows and experiences like Ollivander’s run till approximately 7pm.

4. Can I bring food from outside into the park?

Beatrice at The Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Nope! Stringent bag checks are conducted at the entrance of Universal Studios Japan and all prohibited items will not be allowed on park grounds.

Food platter at The Three Broomsticks

Universal Studios Japan is definitely not short on mouth-watering food options including this delicious food platter from The Three Broomsticks!

Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Not forgetting the famous Butterbeer which tastes every bit as delicious as it sounds. Visitors get to pick from three varieties: hot, cold or frozen (available in Summer). We didn’t get to try the frozen version, but the hot version came with a hint of ginger and was much sweeter than the cold version.

Klook Pro-Tip: There are two Butterbeer carts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – skip the one closer to the entrance and head for the less crowded one nearer to The Flight of the Hippogriff instead for significantly shorter waiting times!

Minion popcorn at Minion Area

Not up for something so heavy? Cute snacks abound that are almost too adorable to eat! Check out this talking Minion popcorn bucket for instance that shouts “BEEDO!” and comes filled with chocolate banana popcorn (and other seasonal flavours) and its own little teddy bear!

5. How long do I need to wait at each attraction?

Waiting times at Universal Studios Japan

Waiting times vary from five minutes to a whopping two hours, so be prepared to wait especially for more popular rides like The Flying Dinosaur and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D.

Can’t wait? No worries! Express Passes will help you to make the most of your trip to Universal Studios Japan.

6. How do I get my hands on Express Passes?

Express Passes at Universal Studios Japan

Don’t push your patience to its limits, jump to the front of the lines with an Express Pass. You have the option of purchasing a pass that works for 4 or 6 or 7 Universal Studios attractions.

Universal Express Pass 4 – Standard
Choose one ride from each of the following 4 categories:

 AquaLunaDukLing
Adult$185 ($271)$230 ($280)
Child$147 ($209)$160 ($209)

Universal Express Pass 4 – The Flying Dinosaur
Choose one ride from each of the following 4 categories:

Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 2Central Pier 9
17:3017:45
18:30#18:45#
19:30*19:45*
20:3020:45
21:3021:45
22:30^22:45^

*Not inclusive of timed entry ticket to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Express Pass 7 – XR RIDE
Choose one ride from each of the following 7 categories:

Ticket TypeRegularKlook Discount
Regular Seat1500 THB700 THB
Regular Seat with Buffet1850 THB850 THB
Golden Seat with Buffet2350 THB1300 THB

Universal Express Pass 7 – The Flying Dinosaur
Choose one ride from each of the following 7 categories:

Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 3Central Pier 9
16:3016:45
17:3017:45
18:3018:45
19:30*19:45*
20:3020:45

Universal Express Pass 7 – Backdrop
Choose one ride from each of the following 7 categories:

Ticket TypeRegular PriceKlook Discount
Regular Seat 1200 THB550 THB
Premium Seat 1500 THB950 THB

7. When are the special performances and parades?

Harry Potter Night Show

Good news for Harry Potter fans – starting this April, USJ will debut a large scale night show that features the students of Hogwarts battling off Dementors across the Black Lake. A true performance that will thrill both the fans and non-fans alike, this night show will be guaranteed to leave you at the edge of your seats.

The light show, which will go on till November 2017, will consist of state-of-the-art technology, producing a never before seen look inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Also, there will be new Wand Magic locations in the park where guests can cast spells at. Wand Assistants will also be around to guide you through your new spells!

8. Where can I buy tickets online?

VIP entrance at Universal Studios Japan

Tickets can be purchased at the Universal Studios ticket booths near the park entrance, partner hotels or via official partners like Klook. You can also purchase the Express Pass here on Klook, even if you have already purchased your own tickets.

Re-entry is restricted – once you leave, there’s no going back in.

Note: Only purchase your Universal Studios Japan tickets from an official partner. Tickets purchased from external sources that are not official partners of the park may be denied.

9. What is Timed Entry?

Harry Potter timed entry

During peak periods you will need a Timed Entry Ticket in order to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’ll be able to obtain this ticket before your visit, or on the day of admission.

Purchasing an Express Pass beforehand will give you access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. includes the timed entry ticket (except for Express Pass 4 – Flying Dinosaur).
To get the Timed Entry tickets on-site, proceed to the ticketing site at Central Park inside Universal Studios and get it for free.

Timed Entry Map Universal Studios Japan

The ticketing site is located next to Jaws, the big shark statue (see map above). The machine requires you choose a desired time of entrance. Get your ticket and make your way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter once the chosen time comes. Remember that this ticket can only be used at designated times and once you miss your slot, the ticket cannot be re-issued.

To ensure you have the best chances of getting in, make sure to go to the ticket machines as soon as you enter the park!

Klook Pro-Tip: Purchase the USJ VIP Wristband as an add-on and be one of the first few in line for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

10. What’s in the Minion Park?

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Between the New York and Jurassic Park themed lands, sits Universal Studios Japan’s latest addition, the Minion Park. Recently opened in April, the park features attractions like the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 4D ride, Minion-themed eateries, goods stores, playlands, and designated photo op areas.

Being the newest and largest Minion Park in the world, it’s incredibly popular with visitors. It’s absolute Minion mayhem at the park, so best is to head there as soon as the park gates open if you want to beat the crowd! You can also purchase the USJ VIP wristband to make sure you’re one of the first ones in.

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The Minion-themed snacks and tidbits will also have you catching the Minion fever (if you haven’t already, that is). You can find giant Minion-inspired cookies and banana-flavored popcorn that comes in the cutest Minion popcorn bucket to fill not only your tummy, but also all of your heart’s Minion desires.

Hacha Mecha Snow Party in USJ

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The Hacha-Mecha Snow Party, which is running now till 3rd September 2017, is also worth catching. This street show allows visitors to get up close and personal with their favourite Minions. With snow and icy water during the Japanese summer and the Minions up to their usual antics, it sure promises an unforgettable experience!

11. When are the fireworks?

Beatrice in Gryffindor robes at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Japan only has fireworks on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve or Christmas Day. There aren’t any fireworks on regular park opening days, but visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the evening is highly recommended.

Hogwarts Castle at night

In the darkness, the street looks even more magical with soft lighting from the shops and animated objects moving about in the windows. Plus, the view of Hogwarts Castle at night beats fireworks on any given day!

Klook Pro-Tip: The best picture you’ll get of Hogwarts Castle isn’t in front of it but from the outdoor courtyard of The Three Broomsticks where you’ll be able to capture the castle together with its reflection on the Black Lake (the only one in the world!).

12. Where can I get USJ special stickers?

Universal Studios Japan Special Stickers

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This may not be a very well-known fact but you can actually get free special stickers throughout the park! Souvenirs can get pretty pricey, so these stickers are great as mementos. Look out for staff members and if you ask them nicely, they will most likely give them to you. Not all staff members carry the stickers with them though, so try to find the ones with a fanny pack. Also, if it’s your birthday, you get a special sticker as well!

13. How do I get there?

via GIPHY

Some hotels in Osaka provide shuttle services to Universal Studios Japan, so it’s always a good idea to check

By Bus:
From Kansai Airport:
Duration: 35-75 minutes
Cost: 1550 yen
Frequency: hourly

From Itami Airport
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 930 yen
Frequency: hourly

By Train:
From Namba
The theme park is a 5-minute walk from Universal City Station (JR Yumesaki Line).
Hanshin Namba Line to Nishikujo (4th stop) then transfer to JR Yumesaki Line and get off at Universal City Station
Duration: 25 minutes
Cost: 360 yen
Frequency: ~1 train per 15 minutes

By Ferry
Captain Line transfers people to and from Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Aquarium
Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: 700 yen one way, 1300 yen round trip
Frequency: 1-2 ferries per hour

Enjoy unlimited train rides, food discounts and free entry to 30 attractions in Osaka with the Osaka Amazing Pass! Don’t forget to pick up some WiFi and share all your memories with your loved ones!

KLOOK ME TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN!

If you have your own tips and tricks for visiting Universal Studios Japan, please share them with us in the comments section below!

Top 10 Things To Do In Osaka

things to do in Osaka
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Usually overlooked for bustling Tokyo metropolis or romantic and charming Kyoto, Osaka holds its own as a gourmands’ land. An underrated city, known as Japan’s Kitchen, it is undeniably a food lover’s paradise. Dishes such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and kitsune udon adored by many around the world, all originate from this part of Japan. With an extensive history, elaborate shopping districts and Universal Studios all on offer, you will be spoiled for choice for things to do in Osaka. Compiled here is a list of the top things you shouldn’t miss when you find yourself in the city.

1. Food and Shopping: Dotonbori

Dotonbori Osaka
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Nestled in Namba district or as the locals call it, Minami (South), Dotonbori is a street most popular for food and shopping. A former theater zone turned heart of Osaka’s legendary food culture, people flock nightly to this area for succulent tastes of Osaka’s famous dishes. It is also the place you are most likely to find cheap hotels. See restaurants we recommend in this blog.

 

2. Shopping: Umeda (Kita District)

Umeda Osaka
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Umeda is a major shopping, dining, entertainment and commercial zone with an expansive underground shopping mall. It is one of Osaka’s main city centers (the other being Namba) and a busy transportation hub. While there, visit Grand Front Osaka for its modern design and trendy mall. Most noteworthy is Umeda Sky Building, an impressive two-tower building with a floating garden observatory at the top.

3. Seeing the Skyline: Harukas 300 Observatory

Abeno Harukas Observatory
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Abeno Harukas is Osaka’s tallest building standing at 300 meters with 62 floors. Connected to Kintetsu Osaka Abenoshi station, it features department stores, dining restaurants, an art museum, a floating garden and 2 floors of the glossy Harukas 300 observatory. Get your Harukas 300 ticket which comes with an Osaka Municipal subway and bus pass and stand tall as you watch the city come to life.

Book Discount Tickets Here 

4. History and Culture: Osaka Castle

Osaka castle Osaka
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With a history beginning late 1400’s, Osaka Castle is considered the symbol of Osaka. The castle is centered in Osaka Castle Park and is a good spot for both being historically cultured and kicking it back with a picnic basket. The castle, with its museum, the Osaka Castle Museum is adorned with a myriad of cherry blossom trees and surrounded by a pool of water.

Castle tower price: ¥600/person
Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm (last admission at 4:30pm)
Nishinomaru Garden price: ¥200, ¥350 during cherry blossom season
Nishinomaru Garden opening hours: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm (cherry blossom season until 9pm)
Please note the Osaka Castle Museum will be closed 28 Dec- 2 Jan 2017. For more information, check their website.

From December 16 to March 12, 2017, Osaka Castle will be hosting ‘Sengoku The Real’. This live performance will depict the story of Yukimura Sanada, a samurai who risked his life during the Sengoku civil war. This event is happening in Nishinomaru garden. Watch in awe as it renders a realistic performance with impressive sound effects and lights. Don’t miss this stellar performance and book your ticket now.

Book Discount Tickets Here 

5. Being one with nature: Minoo Park

Minoo Park Osaka
Source: falls, red bridge, bridge

Mino Park (alternative spelling Minoo, Minoh) is a quasi-national park popularly known for its waterfall, Mino Falls. The waterfall drops from heights of 33 meters and is 5m wide. The park is one of Japan’s oldest. Located north of Osaka city, this peaceful paradise is reachable within 30 minutes from Umeda.

It’s perfect for a day out with a little bit of hiking involved. To reach the waterfall, you embark on a scenic 3km walk along the river, passing the iconic red bridge. The best season to go is unarguably late August when the beauty of the park is enhanced by the daring red maple leaves. It is however, beautiful all year round. 

6. Food and Culture: Kuromon Ichiba Market

Kuromon Ichiba Market
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Kuromon ichiba market is where you find everything fresh. Starting out as a fresh vegetable, fruits and seafood bazaar, it now has clothing, gadgets and ready to eat food amongst others. Pop up restaurants and food stands grant the chance for a taste of fresh seafood meals for lunch. The market has been around for about 190 years, it got popular because of top chefs from famous restaurants buying their ingredients here.

For fresh and sumptuous seafood snacks and meals, Kuromon Ichiba is highly recommended. This is a daytime market; opening time varies between 8:00am and 5:00pm. Here are some suggestions of what food you should try.

7. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
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Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan exhibits over 30,000 marine creatures of 620 different species hence it is considered one of the largest aquariums in the world. This gigantic aquarium houses favorites like whale sharks, dolphins and penguins. It was voted as Asia’s Best in Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. Get your Osaka Aquarium ticket here. It is opened from 10:00am to 8:00pm daily.

Book Discount Tickets Here

8. History and Culture: Sumiyoshi Taisha

Sumiyoshi_Taisha_osaka
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Sumiyoshi Taisha also called Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine is one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines. Built in the 3rd century, it is believed to protect sailors, travelers and fishermen. The Taiko-Bashi Bridge serves as a cleanser from impurities and is a great photography spot. It receives about 2 million people annually during the New Year when people come for their first temple visit.

9. Shitennoji Temple

Shinneji Temple Osaka
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Shitennoji Temple is a five storey pagoda temple complex built in 593AD and is considered the first Buddhist temple in Japan. The temple however not in its original state has been rebuilt according to the first design and in Buddhist style. Roam the inner grounds, see the four guardian kings and visit the first two floors of the pagoda for free, with the other three for ¥300

10. Theme Park: Universal Studios Japan

universal studio Japan
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And finally, probably the most popular of all Osaka attractions and one of the reasons many tourists find themselves in Osaka. Universal Studios Japan offers a variety of thrilling rides inspired by blockbuster movies. The most famous is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Better understand what to expect and how to navigate USJ in this blog then get discounted tickets hassle free from Klook, an authorized USJ partner.

Book Discount Tickets Here