This is the ONLY guide you need to Minions, Harry Potter and Halloween at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka! In this article, we will touch on different areas of Universal Studios Japan and the Halloween events we experienced. We will also tell you how to get to the Universal Studios Japan, where to stay near Universal Studios Japan and how to buy ticked for Universal Studios Japan (we will touch on the Universal Studios express pass and which one is the best to get!).
Grab a coffee and a seat in your favourite comfortable chair – this is a huge article dedicated to making your day at Universal Studios Japan the best it can be!
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Introduction to Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is divided into 9 areas each with its own themes and attractions, shows and ride. The Park covers a land mass of 54 hectares (108 acres) so make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes!
The USJ Areas Include:
- New York
- San Francisco
- Jurassic Park
- Minion Park
- Universal Wonderland (mainly for small children)
- Water World
- Amity Village
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Studios Japan Map
The official Universal Studios Japan site offers limited information in English (most of the information is in Japanese) so it can be a little difficult to navigate so it’s best to check out a few reviews online.
While Universal Studios Japan sees huge amount of traffic throughout the year, it can a little less crowded in January and between December to February as this is the off season for Japanese Visitors. There are no particular days in the week that are less crowded, Friday through to Sunday are the weekly peak time.
Universal Studios Japan has different events throughout the year to change “things up”. I went during the Halloween season however below is a list of different events/season through the year:
January – Feb: Cool Japan event (Cool Japan sections of the park are all based on iconic anime, video game, music, and manga titles produced in Japan)
March (onwards): Summer season, which they also offer Easter events and other promotional events (this could be the launch of a new ride or a special co-hosted event)
July – Aug: Summer theme events
Sept – Oct: Halloween events
Nov -Dec: Christmas events.
Universal Studios Japan Tickets
I was going to touch on the tickets for USJ at the end of this article however the type of ticket you purchase can and will impact your day in the park.
A few things to keep in mind, during peak periods at the park you will need a “Timed Entry Ticket” (which is free) to be able to enter places such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’ll be able to obtain this ticket either before your visit, or on the day of admission.
Make sure to purchase your tickets before arriving at the park otherwise you might need to get used to lining up in long lines… By purchasing beforehand you will receive a QR code that you scanned at the automated teller, bypassing the lines entirely!
There are basically 2 types of tickets you can get at Universal Studios Japan;
A studio pass grants you admission to the park and a Universal Express® Pass will shorten the waiting time for attractions.
Standard entry ticket – Studio Pass:
You can select either a 1 day or 2 day pass, depending how much time you have allocated to the park. Personally I think, if you’re going via standard entry I would recommend a 2 day pass – 1 day for all the rides and the second day to wander around the park and check out the parades.
With this ticket type, you may need to get a Timed Entry tickets on-site (for harry Potter), you can proceed to the ticketing site at Central Park inside Universal Studios and get it for free. The ticketing site is located next to Jaws. The machine requires you choose a desired time of entrance. Remember that this ticket can only be used at designated times, if you miss your time slot, the ticket cannot be re-issued.
If you go for the Standard entry, I would recommend getting to the park as early as possible so that you can be first in line for your first ride. The lines for the rides can be 2-3 hours!
Standard entry ticket – Studio Pass Prices (as of September 2017)
1 Day Pass:
Adult – 7,038 yen (7,600 yen with tax) Approx. $85 AUD
Children – 4,723 yen (5,100 yen with tax) Approx. $57 AUD
2 Days Pass:
Adult – 11,852 yen (12,800 yen with tax) Approx. $143 AUD
Children – 7,982 yen (8,620 yen with tax) Approx. $96 AUD
Universal Express® Pass
Purchasing an Express Pass before arriving at the park will also give you access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (as mentioned above – during peak times you may need to get a timed ticket). The Universal Express® Pass is a convenient ticket that lets you enjoy each attraction once with shortened waiting times and guarantee a spot for viewing the parades. Tickets can be purchased on the day at the park at ticket windows inside the park, but are available only while supplies last or tickets can be purchased through flight centre, Sachi Tours and JTB in Australia or at hotels near USJ (for hotel guests only). Don’t get caught by purchasing ticketed from unauthorized sellers as you won’t be able to get in.
The ticket booths inside the park are located in the following locations:
Stores within the park
Universal Studios Store
The Amazing Spider-Man Store
The express passes require you to purchase a standard entry pass (see above) to gain entry into the park.
There are 3 types of express passes you can get depending on what you want to see and do in the park:
Universal Express® Pass 7
Fully enjoy the Park by experiencing 7 popular attractions!
Price: 6,852 yen (7,400 yen with tax) through to 13,704 yen (14,800 yen with tax)
(approx. $82 AUD through to $165 AUD)
Universal Express® Pass 4
Experience the top 4 must-see attractions at the Studios!
Price: 4,630 yen (5,000 yen with tax) through to 8,519 yen (9,200 yen with tax)
(Approx. $56 AUD through to $103 AUD)
Universal Express® Pass 3
Experience the top 3 must-see attractions at the Studios!
Price: 3,797 yen (4,100 yen with tax) through to 6,575 yen (7,100 yen with tax)
(Approx. $45AUD through to $79 AUD)
** I was advised by my guide that you can also purchase an afternoon ticket from approx. 3pm which can be found on the Japanese section of the USJ website however they can be purchased at the gate.***
I personally think the express passes are well worth it as they skip the large 2-3 hour wait times for rides and free up your day however if you can’t afford to upgrade I would recommend queuing up in the “single rider lines” (which means you may not be able to go on the ride with your friends) however it means you’ll like get on the ride quicker!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Japan Harry Potter)
Great news for all those Harry Potter fans out there! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in April 2016 as a permeant feature in USJ. As mentioned above you may need a timed ticket however when I went it was open to all. Keep in mind it can get very crowded so if you’re a big fan I would recommend getting to the park first thing in the morning and heading straight to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to get all the best photo ops!
For the full Harry Potter experience, you can purchase a robe and wand from Hogsmeade Village. Inside a number of shops sell Harry Potter merchandise, from what I could see some stores stole similar items for the same price. A robe can cost around ¥14,000 ($$156 AUD) and a wand ¥3,000 ($33AUD) – ¥4,500 ($50AUD) *prices are subject to change*. You can select your own wand or go to Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands – here the Ollivander selects someone from the crowd to demonstrate a wand selection ceremony.
If you purchase a “Magical Wand” you can wander around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with your wand and check out the “wand attractions” which comprised of six spell-casting stations. Here the Wand Assistants teach you how to light the chimney by waving the wand in a specific manner and chanting Incendio! As well as several other wand stations around and guide you through your new spells!
The Harry Potter Expecto Patronum Night Show starts just after sunset is one of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter best feature (this will go on till November 2017). It consists of state-of-the-art technology (aka Magic!), producing a never before seen look inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Witness a tremendous magical battle between the ominous Dementors™ and the students of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the skies above Hogwarts™ castle. The view at the restaurant 3 Broomsticks is the best, so try in early (30-40mins before the start of the show) and request a seat outside (note you can’t see the full performance form here but you will get a better view of the castle). Enjoy a meal and a butterbeer while you’re there.
Visitors get to pick from three of butterbeer varieties: hot, cold or frozen (available in Summer). The Frozen versions is similar to a frozen coke and very refreshing on a hot summers day. The hot version comes with a hint of ginger and was much sweeter than the cold version. (¥550 Regular ($6AUD), ¥1,000 ($11 AUD) which includes a take home plastic mug – you need to rinse this out in the bathrooms when you’re finished).
I’d highly recommend The Great Feast (¥7,600 – $85 AUD) from The Three Broom Sticks! The platter comes with Roasted Chicken, steamed corn, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and a slab of BBQ Pork Ribs and serves 2 people.
There are 2 rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is the Flight of the Hippogriff and the Forbidden Journey ride. The Flight of the Hippogriff is a roller coast and the Forbidden Journey ride is a 4K3D ride – I won’t ruin it for you but the graphics are incredible!!
Lastly If you’re not keen on queueing for hours (or don’t have an express pass) for the Forbidden Journey ride, you can still take a stroll around Hogwarts Castle, exploring iconic places like Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts and Herbology classrooms, and walk through a corridor of moving portraits (that do more and talk).
Minion Park at Universal Studio Japan
The Minion park is one of USJ biggest attractions and why it, its super cute! Who doesn’t love the cute little yellow minions!
The park is fairly small but still have plenty to do such as the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, where you head into Gru’s house which doubles as his laboratory, hop into a vehicle designed by Gru to transform you into an actual Minion (if only!) Most of the storyline is in Japanese however keep an eye on the screens as some sections to have English subtitles.
If you don’t have time to go on one of the rides, then there are smaller games within the Minion Park that you can play to win prizes, or head to the “Sweet Surrender” store to purchase a few minion goodies to take home for the kids (or nieces and nephews).
There are a few quirky things in the Minion park such, I especially loved the “Bank of Evil” in the where you can withdraw money from “someone else’s” bank account, (not really – that would be slightly illegal but it’s still cool non the less).
If you’re feeling peakish, try “The Delicious Me Ice-cream Sandwiches” which are something worth the wait (there is usually a long lone but it goes quickly), they come in 3 flavors and are perfect for children and even the kids at heart. Mango Marshmallow Mousse, Tiramisu Cream, and Banana Ice-cream and fruit. Prices range from ¥500-600 ($5-$6 AUD). Or head over to the Minion Popcorn cart aka Pop-A-Nanna (which yes also can have a long line), they offer banana/banana Carmel flavored popcorn which you can get in a small box or you can purchase a Minion collectable carrier for ¥2,980 ($33AUD).
Minion Park Map:
Halloween at Universal Studio Japan
Halloween runs from September 8 (Fri) to November 5 (Sun) 2017
As mentioned above a lot of the attractions in Japanese, I was lucky to have an English speaking guide who translated for me but most people won’t have this opportunity so I have provided a quick guide on each Halloween attraction we went on:
Cult of Chucky Chucky’s Hospital Ward of Madness
The curtain rises on the terrifying show of atrocities….He’s back to attack, slice, and dissect patients! Get swept up in a sense of tension with no escape, and a realistic, unsettling world. You wander through a hospital full of Chuckie’s either hacking away at patients or trapped in cages, some jump out at you or chase you! The fear level of this attraction is level 5 (out of 10).
Deadman’s Forest Escape from the Forest of Death
You start off in a factory where the military personnel telling us that the factory has had a chemical spill and you have to get through the forest to a decontamination area however the forest is full of zombies and a few dead ends! Chased by a horde of zombies into a dark, gloomy forest, you encounter a series of terrible traps…You’ve got to escape this mad nightmare on your own! The fear level of this attraction is level 4 (out of 10) – personally I found it very funny watching other people getting freaked out I did get a fright now and then from Zombies jumping out of nowhere!
If you want the zombies to “attack you” you can purchase a small light up necklace that tells the zombies that you want to get up, close and personal. The park will be the site of an outbreak of the nastiest and most diverse zombies ever, with over 20 kinds of all shapes and sizes! The fear level of this attraction is level 2 (out of 10). If you don’t want to see the street zombies or have young children, there are safe areas in the park that you can use to avoid them.
**The Zombies were a little hard to capture in photos as the park asks guests not to use flash photography on the Zombies.**
Trauma 3 has the highest fear level – 10 out of 10! Sadly, we didn’t get to experience this due to time constraints however needless to say I heard a lot of screams coming out of this building! After arriving at the facility, you must now embark on a long, mad journey through a maze (the longest one in the parks history!). You’ll witness twisted human experiments that have been covered up, and uncanny creatures that attack you no matter where you go.
The Festa de Parade starts at approx. 2:30pm everyday during the Halloween season (each season there are different parades eg: Summer there is usually a water “fight” parade”).
The Parade includes large colourful floats, interesting characters and live performances. The floats Fire confetti into the sky and you’ll lose yourself in the bubbles (shooting from foam guns!).
You can join in on the parades (when in invited to do so – usually when the floats have stopped) so you can dance in the street with all the characters.
Make sur to dress up of your favourite characters during Halloween to add to the fun! We saw a heap of nurses, police (swat) and lots of Anime characters and of course minions!
Where to stay near Universal Studios Japan
For backpackers or travelers who like to travel on a budget you can check out J-Hoppers Osaka Universal Hostel, which is only 1 stop (Ajikawaguchi Station) or a 15mins walk away from the park.
Below are a list of hotels fairly close to Universal Studio Japan, making your trip to the park quick and easy!
Other info About Universal Studios Japan:
Unfortunately, almost all the rides and attractions are in Japanese (keep in mind you are in Japan!). Some of the ride likes the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem do have subtitles, so I would recommend reading up what the rides are about before you go.
My recommendation would be to sit on the left for all rides as you get to see more, except on the Harry Potter “Forbidden Journey in 4K3D”, where the middle seat is the best!
Keep in mind that once you leave the park, you can’t come back in – so you can’t leave to get lunch or go back to your hotel, make sure to plan ahead and do your shopping last – there are also lockers you can pay to use.
What impressed me about Universal Studios Japan is how much detail they went in with not only the attractions but the general areas as well, such as Moaning Myrtle haunts the restrooms at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – however she does talk in Japanese which is a little “trippy”. As well as the detail they put into the Zombies, they look incredibly real.
There are plenty of restaurants in the park, you’ll never go hungry. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and take sunscreen and an umbrella in the rainy seasons.
How to get to Universal Studios Japan:
From Kansai Airport:
Duration: 35-75 minutes
Cost: 1550 yen
From Itami Airport
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 930 yen
Frequency: 1 train hourly
The USJ is a 5-minute walk from Universal City Station (JR Yumesaki Line) through City Walk.
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: approx. 1 train per 15 minutes
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 hourly
Universal Studios Japan
2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka,
Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Opening Hours: 8:30 am – 9 pm daily
Telephone: +81 570-200-606 / 06-6465-4005
Tickets & Bookings: http://www.usj.co.jp/ticket/ or https://www.usj.co.jp/e/ticket/ (English site)
Some of the above images have been provided by Universal Studios Japan
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