If you had read my Osaka travel and tips post, or seen the fun photos on my Instagram, then you are probably anticipating this post. But before we get on to the fun stuff, here are some useful things to know – if you’re planning on making a trip there.
SHOULD I BUY MY TICKETS AHEAD OR BUY THEM THERE?
I would recommend you to buy your tickets ahead if you have the cash to spare. Buying them from Malaysia, you can either go through an agent, or buy from the Japanese site – but bear in mind, the prices are slightly higher. For us though, we arrived there at 9am, and queued for about 30 minutes to get our ticket for a one day pass for JPY6980/MYR204 (with tax) per person. It wasn’t too bad, to be honest.
SHOULD I GET THE EXPRESS PASS?
The express pass would definitely cost more, but save you time. If you have cash to spare, I’d say go for it. They categorize the express passes to Pass 3, Pass 5 and Pass 7 – the numbers stating how many rides and which particular rides you can use the express pass for. Check here for more information. We didn’t obtain the pass, which meant we had to queue for quite a lot of the rides (especially the new Harry Potter ones), so get your passes if you do not like queueing.
HOW DO I GET THERE WHEN IN JAPAN?
Take the train to Universal City Station, of course! The easiest point of reference would be to take that train from the Nishikujo Station, following the JR Yumesaki Line (or sometimes known as the Sakurajima Line) and it’ll take about 20 minutes or so to get there.
DO I NEED A TIMED TICKET TO ENTER THE HARRY POTTER THEME PARK?
Yes you do. Unless you bought the express pass, upon getting into the theme park, you will need to follow a given map to obtain your timed passes, they’re free. These will allow a certain number of people in at a certain time, to avoid over-crowding. And trust me, the Harry Potter park is definitely very crowded, since it’s so new. So the earlier you get your passes, the earlier you get to go in.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
Pros: New theme park, most rides are awesome, service from all theme park staff are impeccable, lots of interesting things too see, lots of cool stuff to buy and lots of great photos to take.
Cons: All the rides are in Japanese so mostly, you wouldn’t understand anything (yes, even the Harry Potter ride), everything’s expensive and of course, it’s very packed during peak seasons.
Now then, let the photo roll begin!
We tried the JAWS ride first, since we had some time to kill before our timed ticket allows us into the Harry Potter park. It’s a water ride, and isn’t as exciting as I hoped, but the Japanese conductor on board was a pretty great actress (acting all scared and panicky when the (fake) sharks arrived to attack our boat), but it was all in Japanese so her facial expressions and tone was good enough for us to figure out the plot.
And then… it was time for Harry Potter! (Nearly had a massive fan girl attack when we were denied entry because our watches were 3 minutes early!)
We went into the owl post souvenir shop, and I got my greedy hands on some Hogwarts notebooks, keychains and other fun stuff. I would have gotten myself a Gryffindor scarf too, but the prices were crazy!
We moved on to Ollivanders to check out the wands, but unfortunately, the wands look a little fake and were not made well. They should have at least made then out of wood instead of plastic – for the price of JPY3,500 which is about MYR100+ for a wand. No thank you!
And finally, we moved on to check out Hogwarts Castle. It’s quite amazing! And so huge! The new Harry Potter ride is really amazing anyways, so I guess they do need all that space. The line was kinda long, so it took us about over an hour just to wait.
No pics of the ride for obvious reasons. But it was awesome, and so worth the wait!
Much of the wonderful world of Harry Potter comes from the little details and the sights and sounds, it’s quite an experience for Harry Potter fans like myself. My next goal is to visit the one in Orlando, where Harry Potter would not be speaking in Japanese, at least.
We went into Jurassic Park next, much of it similar to the one in Universal Studios Singapore – the ride as well. We were greeted by a Velociraptor upon entry! 😀
Next, we ventured about the park until we came across the Back To The Future ride. I don’t remember much of the movie, but the ride was definitely fun, albeit a 3D ride done in 80s-style animation. And it was all in Japanese.
After that, we went for the Spiderman Ride. This is really good, an exciting 4D experience. Which also explains why the queue was so long. But I would ride this again and again, it’s totally worth the wait.
By the time we were done, it was already dark out. We ventured about and did some shopping (my mom did most of the shopping) before we rushed to the main square for a special Magical Starlight Parade. It’s one of the best parades I’ve ever seen! 🙂
And that concludes our trip to Universal Studios Japan. It was such a fun day, so our legs were like jello by then, from all the walking and queueing (another reason to buy that Express Pass!). If you’re going there, you can rest assured you will enjoy yourselves. We missed out a few rides like The Terminator and the Hollywood Coaster, but Harry Potter made it all worth it for me. We even went back to Honeydukes after the parade (and queued for 45 minutes just to get into the packed shop) to grab a few more servings of pumpkin juice, exploding bon-bons, chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts’ Every Flavour Beans and fudge flies.
For more posts to my other adventures in Japan, you can refer back to my main post on travel tips, as all the other links will be listed there for easy reference.