Travel Date: December 2016
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP) is among the theme park highlights of the Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Since USJ is one of the top attractions in Osaka, it’s busy and crowded almost all year round. Believe me, you can’t just hastily go there and expect to have a good time… you need to have a bit of planning for this trip.
Tips for a (less) worry-free muggle trip
Just a note:
As you know, USJ has many theme area attractions, but this itinerary is specifically intended for the WWoHP as the priority destination, and on the side, seeing other popular rides and attractions inside USJ (since I have been to USJ before).
Before the trip…
- Decide on the date and buy your tickets in advance. We bought our ticket at the Kansai Tourist Information Center when we landed via the Kansai International Airport.
- Based on your day of visit, check the USJ website to know the USJ opening time or hour. Note that the opening time of USJ changes daily. So check their calendar so you can plan your travel going there: USJ calendar for opening time
On the day of the trip…
- Wake up early. You should be there at least 1 hour before the opening time.
- Buy and bring your own food. All food items inside USJ are way expensive, so better to bring your own food like onigiri or small snacks. Although technically this is not allowed, you can fix it neatly inside your bag… haha!!! Anyway, they don’t really check your bags at entrance because of the long lines during opening.
- Ask for an English map. While waiting in line, you can approach one of the crews/guides and ask for an English map so you can revisit your USJ route plan while waiting for the gates to open.
Upon opening of the USJ gates…
- Once the USJ gates open, run for your lives!!! I’m not kidding, run as fast as you can towards the WWoHP. Don’t worry, everyone else will most probably be rushing towards that direction anyway.
- Once you’ve reached the entrance of Hogwarts, do not stop just yet and continue running towards the Forbidden Journey Ride. This is one of most popular and lined-up rides in all of USJ, so you should prioritize this ride to save yourself from super long queues of lines later.
Once inside the WWoHP…
- As mentioned, have the Forbidden Journey Ride first. After the ride, you can leisurely wander around and explore the attractions inside the WWoHP.
- Take pictures of the magnificent castle and castle grounds with the lake.
- Head to the Hogsmeade (and take tons of pictures again)
- Watch shows and street performances
- Try the butterbeer from the butterbeer truck
- Shop for souvenirs at: Ollivanders , Honeydukes, Zonko’s and Filch’s Emporium.
- You can also go back to enter and explore the interior of the castle (they allow a separate line for entering the castle only and not for riding the Forbidden Journey Ride).
At mid-day, explore the other USJ attractions…
Once you’ve pretty much checked out the attractions of WWoHP, you can head outside and explore the other popular attractions of USJ. Don’t forget to take a picture with the flying car on your way out.
Aside from the rides, there are also street parades/perfomances to enjoy during day time, and be sure to check out the schedule of the night shows.
At night, head back to the WWoHP…
The WWoHP is beautifully lit at night so be sure to go back to the theme park after the light show or grand show of USJ. During our visit, they were no longer requiring Timed Entry Tickets so can just go back to the WWoHP any time.
According to the USJ website, there is a Large-Scaled Night Show in the WWoHP from 21 April 2017 – 05 November 2017.
Visiting the WWoHP has always been in my bucket list, so this became the highlight of the Osaka leg for our 2016 autumn trip in Japan.
It’s every Harry Potter fan’s dream to be able to set foot at Hogwarts! So I was happy to have finally entered Hogwarts, even as a muggle. Haha! I kid you not, but I had goose bumps just upon hearing the HP theme song as we approach the entrance. Everything seemed surreal and magical, it’s as if you really stepped into the HP books and movies, a dream come true!!!
The regular ticket is worth 7,400Yen. But there are other different types of tickets that are coupled with Studio Pass and Express Pass, if you want to have less waiting time (for extra costs). For more information about the tickets, check out the USJ website: USJ Tickets
Don’t worry about changing dates, we had tickets that were valid for 1 year, but can be used only for one day. So depending on your circumstance or on the weather forecast, you can still change your actual day of visit.
How to get there
Check the Hyperdia.com on how you can take the train until the Universal City Station, which is the closest station going to USJ. From the Universal City Station, it’s about a 5-min walk going to the entrance of USJ.