Location: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Telephone Number: +81 570-200-606 Official Website: www.usj.co.jp
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Nearest Train Station: Universal City Station
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Guide to the Universal Studios Japan (USJ) & Wizarding World of Harry Potter Experience! ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン
Ah, the wonderful world of Universal Studios Japan (USJ). In all of the theme parks I’ve visited in my life, I never felt the same happiness as I had back in Universal Studios Japan. I am a huge movie fan since I was young, and seeing blockbuster movies come to life ~ Jurassic Park, The Amazing Spider-man, and Back to the Future included ~ made me very giddy. I couldn’t sleep the night before, and it was because the next day holds much excitement for me. It was all the more exciting to be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the first time. Needless to say, my first Harry Potter experience was extremely joyful, and it was because of a well-planned day, for things like this need thorough planning. And you can have an enjoyable experience too, despite the long, frustrating lines!
My Universal Studios Japan (USJ) Experience
The Christmas decorations set my expectations high. Fisherman’s Wharf was nowhere near the real thing in San Francisco. Ghirardelli looked miniature, so I was a bit disappointed. Even Pier 41 looked dull! In real life, the Pier 39 boardwalk stretches long, and you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in the horizon. At USJ, there’s a smaller version of New York, New York! Seeing Spider-man made me happy. I love The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man Ride 4K3D, but I feel it bore the same similarity with the Transformers Ride in Universal Studios Singapore, where the car fell from a tall tower somewhere in New York. Cliche, I know. But I did hoard a couple of unique items at Spider-man’s store because he’s my favorite Daily Bugle photographer. I also enjoyed the Back to the Future Ride, which was a 3D ride. The seats were a bit cramp inside the makeshift automobile though, and there were no lockers to put your stuff. I suggest you buy your items right after your rides. Minions Fever was extremely cute. You can buy popcorn buckets similar to Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland here, but in the shape of a minion. Luckily, when I went to USJ, the lines were non-existent. But I was partly bored with the rest of the rides, because I had gone to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Experience
Yes, when the gates of USJ opened, everyone went straight for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including me. And everyone ran. Nobody paid attention to the Ford Anglia at Forbidden Forest. And it was funny when I came out, everyone was lining up to take a photo of it. Needless to say, there were no timed entry tickets the day I went. I freely came and go as I please. 🙂 Turned out, everyone was running towards the Forbidden Journey ride. I was about to line up for my first ride, when I saw the cart of Hot Butterbeer (Nonalcoholic – 600 yen; Souvenir Mug – 1200 yen), brewing and unnoticed. Of course, no one comes between me and my food! Hello Butterbeer. You taste creamy and caramelicious! After quite a while the taste felt like icky sugary coffee. I quickly drank and head towards the Forbidden Journey, my first ride at Universal Studios Japan. It was life-changing. There’s some serious wizardry inside! It’s the very reason why the Spider-man ride and the Back to the Future rides felt blah to me. I nearly fell asleep. In fact, after circling Elmo and Cookie Monster Kiddie Land (Sorry, I really forgot what they were called.), I went out and headed back towards Harry Potter, without timed entry tickets. Getting around the small shopping area of Hogsmeade was unlike the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, but the cobblestones helped create that illusion of being in the world of Harry Potter. You can find all sorts of well-known Hogsmeade establishments here such as the Owl Post, Dervish and Banges, Ollivander’s, Gladrags Wizardwear, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. If you’ve been reading the books, you immediately know where to buy Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs! It’s amazing for us to be familiar with the whole concept of the place. While you can buy similar Harry Potter merchandise near the entrance of USJ, there are some items I didn’t see at the front store, so it’s best if you nab them, AFTER your rides. To know more about the things you can buy at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, check out my article at this link.
If I may add, I wish the park would add more touches, including a train that embarks at Platform 9 3/4; sickles, knuts and galleons for trading goods; the Diagon Alley; and more Deathly Hallows involvement. I felt I was stuck in Book One, with all of John William’s Hedwig’s Theme as the background score. It would be really great to see a darker portion of the park, like Knockturn Alley, with dementors and the Death Eaters maybe having regular meetings. I skipped riding the Flight of the Hippogriff as I was not a fan of roller coasters. This ride was formerly a kiddie rollercoaster that had been refurbished to fit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And besides, I’m more interested in the power of technology creating different experiences such as the 4K3D ride. Finally, I was hungry, and I was quite pleased to see a long line outside the Three Broomsticks. I was beginning to think there was a serious problem with the park that day.
If you want to drink Butterbeer, best you just drink it from the Butterbeer cart or at the Hogs Head. Three Broomsticks can be overcrowded, as it’s the only place where you can eat at Harry Potter.
Three Broomsticks Menu
For those traveling in groups of 4 or 5, I’d recommend ordering the Great Feast (7,600 yen). It’s a good deal versus ordering Chicken and Pork Ribs Platter at 1950 yen. But I warn you the food isn’t that delicious. It’s expensive, and the meat is really dry. What I love about eating inside the Three Broomsticks is its atmosphere. Hearing Harry Potter original score in the background helped. I felt like I was indeed in Hogwarts, mingling with fellow wizard and witches. That was what I paid for. After my stomach felt at ease, I went back in at Hogwarts and took the Forbidden Journey the second time, but this time I used my Express Pass. It was an experience well-spent at one of the happiest places on earth. I can honestly spend an entire day just drinking Butterbeer inside the park. So how did I manage to ride the Forbidden Journey twice? Why were there were no timed entry tickets on the day I went to USJ? How can I buy timed entry tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in advance?
All of your questions will be answered in these guides:
How to Buy Universal Studio Japan (USJ) Tickets Online
How to Buy Timed Entry Tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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10 Magical Things to Buy at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, USJ
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Guide to the Universal Studios Japan and Wizarding World of Harry Potter Experience!
How to Buy USJ Tickets Online & Timed Entry Tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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