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As a child in the late 90’s and early 2000s, Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood. I was obsessed with the adventures that Harry, Hermione and Ron went on.
And I was convinced that my owl inviting me to attend Hogwarts got lost (hey a girl can dream, right?!)
Regardless of whether you’re a straight-up Harry Potter nerd or if you’ve never read a Harry Potter book in your life (the movies were pretty amazing) there is something oh-so-magical about the world of Harry Potter and how J.K Rowling has captured our imaginations.
Luckily, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Osaka, is the perfect place for your inner child can roam free and pretend that magic is real, even for a day…
Why should you visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka, Japan.
When visiting Japan, Universal Studios is probably one of the best theme parks you can visit here (other than Tokyo Disney, of course!)
For fans of the Harry Potter franchise, this is the perfect place to visit, as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is home to Hogwarts Castle, a real-life Hogsmede with magical stores and rides that bring the world of Harry Potter to life.
And as an English speaker, it’s somewhat fun to see the world of Harry Potter in Japanese, including a Japanese speaking Harry Potter on one of the rides here!
How much does it cost to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is included in your Universal Studios Ticket.
Entry to Universal Studios is typically around 7,900 JPY for adults (approximately $80 USD) but the price is demand-based and can vary depending on the season you’re visiting and the day.
This means that ticket prices increase for busier days and decreases for non-peak periods.
How do I get there?
Universal Studios Osaka is located in the city of Osaka. The most convenient way to get there is via train. The nearest train station Universal City is a 5 min walk from Universal Studios. This is a really helpful guide about the best way to get to Universal Studios.
How to make the most of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Yep, this is where we get to the juicy bits that I’m sure my fellow Harry Potter fans want to know!
It’s important to remember that Universal Studios Osaka can get really busy so you need to go in with a game plan. The theme park is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike, so the crowds can get busy during peak periods.
I have 2 tips that apply regardless of your budget, and that is:
1. Choose a “low traffic” day to visit and avoid Fridays and weekends if possible. This is a helpful calendar to find out when peak and off-peak periods are for Universal Studios <link to busy calendar>
2. Purchase your tickets prior to visiting. You do not want to waste time on the day buying tickets! You can buy your tickets directly from Universal Studios, or use Klook.
Now, depending on your budget, your game plan needs to be a lil’ different, so I’ve put together 3 plans depending on how much you can spend.
Read on my fellow wizards and witches!
Budget traveler: no fast pass tickets / early entry tickets
This is what I did when I visited Universal Studios, and I had an amazing time. I only paid for my entry tickets to Universal Studios and nothing extra.
Haven’t bought your tickets yet? You can buy your Universal Studios tickets from Klook here.
If this is you too, try to arrive before the park officially opens.
We arrived 30min before official opening and there were already crowds and crowds of people.
Honestly, if I could do it again, I’d arrive at least 1 hr before. If the crowds get too big, the park opens early. We visited on a “low” traffic day and this was still the case.
Before you line up at the gate to get your ticket scanned, check with the staff at the ticket boxes (these are before the gates) and find out whether they’re running timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
On low peak days (like the day we visited) they don’t have timed entry and basically let people enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as they like. But on busier days, you need to get a timed entry ticket (this is included in your ticket price).
You need to find out what applies on your day so you know exactly where to head the moment you’re let in! The machines to get timed entry are in a different place to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
When you enter…
If there is no timed entry: run (or walk) directly to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
If there is timed entry: head straight for the ticket machines (grab a map from the ticket box before you line up to enter the park!) You can choose an entry for later in the day or as early as you want!
When you get to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, head directly to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. This is one of the most popular rides and waits can often be 1.5-2hrs! We ran directly to this ride (because I’m extra like that *shrugs*) and didn’t even have to wait – this saved us loads of time.
“I could spend a bit extra” traveler: buy a ticket with early entry
If you’ have a bit of $ to spend, this is where I’d spend it.
Paying for early entry to Universal Studios is 100% worth it, especially since this is cheaper than paying for a Fast Pass.
The early entry is approximately $30 USD extra and gives you entry to the park 15 min before official opening hours.
You can purchase your Universal Studios Early Entry ticket from Klook.
Often Universal Studios will open before the official opening time, and if you have an early entry ticket, this means you can get entry to the park even earlier.
Yes – you’re paying for 15min entry before, but if you pay for early entry you could be admitted entry even before that.
So make sure you show up early to make the most of that early entry.
Once you enter the park, head on straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Depending on your priorities, you can hang around Hogsmede and take photos, or you can head for the most popular ride (and thus the one with the longest lines), Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.
“I have dollars to burn”: buy an Express Pass
If you have money to burn, this is where you should spend it. The Express Pass is expensive (especially when compared to buying a regular ticket) but if you’re really into theme parks, this is the best option.
I’d choose this option if you hate waiting in line for rides, and want to make the most of your visit to Universal Studios beyond Harry Potter.
The cost of the Express Pass increases depending on how many rides you want to have express access for. It’s important to note that you can only use your pass once per ride. This means if you use your pass for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you can’t use it a second time for the same ride. You would need to line up like a regular ticket holder if you wanted to do it a 2nd time.
Important reminder: entry to Universal Studios needs to be purchased in addition to the express pass. The express pass is an additional pass.
What every muggle needs to know before visiting Universal Studios Osaka
1. Make sure you buy your tickets before you go!
Like I mentioned above, you definitely should buy your tickets well before your visit. Purchase them online directly from Universal Studios or online from Klook.
2. There will be a bag check
Once your tickets are scanned, there is a brief bag search at the gate. You aren’t allowed to bring in food.
Bottles of water are allowed, but they can’t be too big (I had a 1L bottle and it was thrown out as I was told it was “too big”). There are water fountains around the park, so if you bring a smaller bottle you can refill it throughout the day.
3. There are 2 main “rides” in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The most popular ride is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, and this is what I would prioritize first.
I won’t spoil it, but it is a virtual reality ride and definitely a bumpy roller coaster (I read one review from someone who got motion sickness from it!)
There are lockers at the start of the ride where you can store your loose items/bags
The second ride is the Flight of the Hippogriff, which I didn’t find quite as exciting. Honestly when the ride ended I thought “is that it?” and I’m not even a theme park regular! But as a Harry Potter fan, it’s still worth a visit!
4. You need to buy a jug of butterbeer
Did you visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter if you didn’t get a butterbeer?
You can even purchase yours with a souvenir cup, they’ve got a plastic option and a more expensive stainless steel mug.
5. The best place to get shots of the Hogwarts castle is behind Hogs Head pub
One of the coolest parts of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is seeing the Hogwarts castle.
There’s a lookout point where you can take photos in front of the castle, but if you’re planning on grabbing a bite to eat the Hog’s Head Pub (one of the main places to eat in the Harry Potter section of the park) the back of the pug also has amazing views of Hogwarts.
6. On busy days, there is timed entry required for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I’ve mentioned this above, but it’s definitely worth remembering. Make sure you check at the ticket desks before the gates when you arrive if there is timed entry on the day you’re visiting.
This might influence what you do first. I would definitely head straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on non-timed ticket entry days.
Otherwise, head straight for the machines to book your timed entry time. (these machines are in a different location)
7. If you’re on a budget, bring your own Harry Potter gear and wear it on the day!
I wish I had remembered to bring my Griffindor scarf (I know, I know only a fellow Harry Potter nerd would understand) but you can definitely dress up when you visit.
Official Harry Potter gear is super expensive at Universal Studios, so if you’ve already got your own bring it, or purchase cheaper alternatives online before you go.
8. Spend your time exploring Hogsmede
Unlike the Harry Potter Studios in London, Hogsmede here is much more real.
The shops are not empty shop fronts – they’re actual shops.
That’s right, you can buy sweets from Honeydukes or enjoy a meal from the Hog’s Head.
9. This is the place to practice magic and embrace your inner witch or wizard
You read that correctly, you can actually practice magic here!
You can purchase a wand that actually performs magic at various spots around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Make sure when you go to Ollivander’s you purchase the magic performing wands (make sure you get the right one). You’ll get a special map which you can use to find the magic spots!
Psst: These wands can be used at other Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations like Orlando!