A magical world awaits at Universal Studios Japan!

Updated 20 February 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 favourite theme parks can prove to be quite the nightmare!

The Klook Team recently had the chance to visit this amazing place and here’s 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 and not from Universal Studios Japan itself.

 

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:

ABCD
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3DThe Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - The Ride 4K3DBackdraft Terminator 2: 3-D
JAWSJurassic Park

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

ABCD
The Flying DinosaurHollywood Dream - The RideBackdraftJaws
Jurassic Park

*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:

ABCDEFG
Evangelion XR RideHarry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3DThe Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3DFlight of the HippogriffTerminator 2: 3-DHollywood Dream - The RideJAWS
BackdraftJurassic Park

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

ABCDEFG
The Flying DinosaurHarry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3DThe Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3DFlight of the HippogriffTerminator 2: 3-DHollywood Dream - The RideJAWS
BackdraftJurassic Park

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

ABCDEFG
BackdropHarry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3DThe Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3DFlight of the HippogriffTerminator 2: 3-DHollywood Dream - The RideJAWS
BackdraftJurassic Park

Universal Cool Japan* Express Pass
Gain access to the 4 newest rides at Universal Studios Japan – Evangelion XR Ride, Godzilla, Attack on Titan and Monster Hunter!

*Cool Japan happens for a limited time only and will end on 25 June 2017.

 

7. When are the special performances and parades?

Re-born Parade at Universal Studios Japan

There are smaller shows and performances at different areas of the park throughout the day, but the biggest and most exciting show happens at approximately 2.30pm – Universal Studio Japan’s special 15th anniversary RE-BOOOOOOOORN Parade!

Hello Kitty at Universal Studios Japan

In this spectacular show of colourful floats, music and all your favourite characters from Hello Kitty to Snoopy and everyone’s favourite yellow friends – the Minions!

Parade map at Universal Studios Japan

Parade map at Universal Studios Japan

Source

The best place to wait for the float would be right outside the Rock and Roll Show, where the floats will stop momentarily before moving onto the next location. Be sure to head there early to secure a spot!

Beatrice at Re-born Parade at Universal Studios Japan

The public is invited to join in the parade at certain segments of the show, so make full use of the opportunity and dance your heart out together with all your cartoon friends!

Shoes after Re-born Parade at Universal Studios Japan

Word of caution though – the parade uses a lot of bubble and foam at certain parts of the show, so be sure to keep all fragile items well out of the way when that happens!

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. How do I get a picture with a Minion?

Beatrice with Minion at Universal Studios Japan

Meet your favourite little workers the Minions in the flesh at the Hollywood area during the MINIONS SUPER GREETING street show at 13:30 every afternoon! Meet Bob, Stuart and Kevin and don’t forget to grab a picture with them before they disappear into their Minion lair!

Minion fans will also be overjoyed to know that a dedicated Minions Park – the largest Minion area in the world – is opening at Universal Studios Japan in April 2017! Expect a special Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Ride featuring none other than mad scientist extraordinaire and Minion dad Gru!

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. 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!