Universal Studios Japan!

Screaming in excitement


Universal Studios Japan

Address2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, 554-0031, Japan

Universal Studio Japan is a popular theme park in Osaka, Japan, which officially opened its doors to the world on March 31, 2001. It is one of six Universal Studios theme park worldwide and second to open outside of United States. Japan Universal Studios happens to be the most visited theme park in Asia. Now it is no wonder why it’s important to plan ahead and get your tickets in advance online before heading there. 

USJ Ticket Purchase (For overseas)

Don’t wait till you head into the country to purchase your ticket! Universal Studios Japan has a few themed attractions that are highly popular and if you wish to skip the queues and be guaranteed an entry, purchase the express pass in advance at USJ webpage linked above or head to Klook to purchase.  

I personally brought it from Universal Studios Japan website and because my planning was a little late, i missed out on the express tickets from both websites, (including Klook), they were all sold out. I could only purchase the normal day pass which cost about 8600Yen/80Sgd/58Usd depending on the day of the week you are visiting. Weekends are going to cost you a lot more and not to mention the crowds! 

A tip from many sources, it is best to head to Universal Studio Japan on a Wednesday or Thursday as Monday and Tuesdays can be filled with school kids on excursion and weekends are filled with the general tourist crowds and families out on a weekend trip.  We went on a Monday and it was equally crowded! 

Buy the express pass if Super Nintendo World is top of your bucket list, saves the time to actually rush down to get a timed entry and head in at any time you want to experience the beauty of either the day or night. More on timed ticket entry later. 

Getting to Universal Studios Japan and Opening hours

It is convenient to get to Universal Studios Japan by train. Take the JR Yumesaki line from Osaka Station to Universal City Station which takes around 10-15 minutes and cost about 180Yen/1.70Sgd/1.20Usd (one way), or if you are lost, google maps will lead you with the right train line to board. From Universal City Station, there will be clear signages leading you to the park station. 

USJ Entrance

The opening hours of Universal Studios Japan varies and it is best practice to check the official website for the opening time of the date you’re visiting, even a day before to ensure that it doesn’t change. If the opening time states 9.00am opening, be there 1 hour before as it is common unspoken practice for them to open the gates 1 hour before opening time. Our opening time for that day was 8.00am, so we made sure to be there before 7.00am and true enough, the gate opens at 7.00am. Our crowd video snippets will tell you that this is an open secret. 

Us at 6.40am waiting for the unofficial 7.00am opening time.

Themed Zones

Universal Studios Japan has 10 areas of themed zones, each transporting you to a different world of excitement and thrilling adventures. Here’s the map.  

Courtesy of USJ

Here’s a brief snapshot of the themed zones 

  • Super Nintendo World
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Minion Park
  • Universal Wonderland
  • Hollywood
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Jurassic Park
  • Amity Village
  • Waterworld

We did not visit all of them, some areas we briefly walked through as we spent a huge amount of time at Nintendo and Wizarding World of Harry Potter, taking into account queuing for the rides. However, let us run you through these areas that we will recommend for anyone intending to visit these areas. An update in 2024, Spiderman has swung its last run in Jan 2024 so keep your eyes out for the next marvel feature hopefully? 

Super Nintendo World

As this themed area is the newest attraction, it was prone to heavy traffic. To combat this problem, USJ has introduced timed ticket entries (free) or (in advance – charged) to enter this play zone. For us, we didn’t managed to snag any express pass or advanced timed ticket entries, hence we went for the free timed ticket entry. 

The timed ticket entry is relatively easy to follow through, as long as you download the official Universal Studio Japan app, when you enter the doors of USJ, you can head over to your app and reserve the time slot you want for the timed entry. Just be early during your timed entry slots as the queue can take quite awhile to clear. 

what a timed entry looks like on the app

This area was our favourite as Super Nintendo was rooted deep in our childhood memories and games, if you were like us, this place will feel right at home to you. 

Power-up bands

To enjoy a more interactive and immersive experience, get yourself a power-up band to interact with the blocks and games in the area to earn digital coins and keys to unlock the ultimate challenge with Bowser Jr. The power-up bands comes in 6 different characters for you to personalise. Connect the band with the USJ app and you are set to go, there’s even a standing to compete with the people around and with your friends!  

All the colorful bands
Getting to the front is hard! Even with our timed entry

Inside Nintendo World 

Got our bands and ready to go!

The entrance brings back many nostalgic moments and when you pass through the green tunnel shown above, you will hear the tunnel sound in the games you used to play! 

A look inside the park!

Not just a child’s play, it’s an adult playground as well. We were so excited to start using our bands to collect digital coins from the power-up boxes lining every corner. As you can see, despite with timed-entry, the area gets really crowded, try to go as empty handed as possible to have a more pleasant experience playing with the interactive games. 

Mario Kart (Koopa’s challenge)

The first thing we did was head over to the ride attractions, mainly the Mario Kart as that was the most popular ride and the queue builds up really fast. Our tip for you is to head straight for single-ride line, as it generally goes a lot faster. If you are lucky, you may even still end up playing the game with your friend. 

I didn’t get to be in the same kart as my friend but it was fun nevertheless. For the Mario kart, you will have to put on these VR googles and it will take you on a virtual kart race that feels really immersive. Highly recommend to queue for this game, kids will love the experience as well. Here’s a POV from my friend’s experience on the Mario Kart below. 

The other ride is Yoshi’s adventure, where you take a kid’s track ride through the themed zone. As the queue for this was way longer as many families with kids were queueing for this ride, we decided to skip that, and head on to the restaurant for a meal and spend the rest of the day playing with the interactive games to collect the 3 keys to enter Bowser JR’s challenge. We didn’t made it unfortunately, even trying to complete the different games required queueing, and we realise we do want to spend some time outside of Nintendo world to see the other zones as well. 

Here’s some pictures from our experiences in Nintendo World. I would love to return to try a night experience in future, as the lightings will bring a different visual experience compared to daylight. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This was actually the first attraction we went to, because we didn’t manage to obtain the first timed entry for Nintendo World and lucky us, because it was just the opening of the day, the crowds were just streaming in and we managed to head over immediately to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey theme ride! The queue moved fast and within 10 minutes, we were on this exhilarating journey as the ride transport you to the Harry Potter and the quidditch game. I could still remember the fire breath from the dragon right in my face!

After the thrilling ride, we spent some time at the wizarding shop and admire the expensive wands and robes that they put for sale. Unsuspecting tourists will be tempted to buy something there as everything felt so movie-like and real. The wand makes you want to buy it and cast a spell within the Wizarding world at USJ, there are a few points to play out those spells with your newly purchased wands. As the queue for the other ride grew longer and we had to rush to our timed entry at Nintendo World, we headed to queue for Butter Beer before quickly moving on to Nintendo World. 

We trying butter beer!

Jurassic World, Minion Park, Amity Village & Waterworld 

After a few good hours or spending half a day at both Potterworld and Nintendo World, we moved on to other themed areas of the Park. My friend is a big fan of minions hence we made a point to visit that themed area and we were lucky to meet the minion mascots, and took many pictures with them. We also went to Amity Village and took the infamous jaws ride, it was the perfect excuse to just sit down and let the boat take us through the adventures because we were tired of standing and walking.

Then we went on to catch the action packed stunt show at Waterworld (highly recommended). The sound effects together with the explosions and gunfire will keep you glued to your seat and very entertained. Hehe, another respite from standing 🙂 Then onwards to the last attraction at Jurassic World where we waited for the meet and greet with the Dinosaurs. It was so surreal to see these dinosaurs up close, it was one of my favourites, because i love dinosaurs. Dropping some cool pictures here and also some videos of the meet and greet with Dinosaurs. 

Food in USJ 

Spending money on food in USJ can’t really be avoided if you want to spend a full day inside. You could take in some sandwiches from Lawson outside or just try some of the themed food in any of the attractions that you loved! How many times am i really heading back to USJ, so we had lunch at Nintendo World. The marketing i will say is 100% geared towards you spending your hard earned cash but the taste isn’t up to any gourmet standards that will make you go wow, and will return 100% just for food.

Honestly we were just tired and hungry and the food at Nintendo world looked cute, the queue was horrendous but the cafe was quite instagram worthy and has a cute Toad mushroom video to keep you entertained. The outlook of the dishes looked great but they taste alright, wouldn’t say it’s a disaster but for the price, well let’s just say, you don’t go to USJ just to eat, it’s for the overall experience! 

Overall experience at USJ

Highly on the to do list for your Osaka trip! Would recommend staying at the hotel inside USJ if you plan to spend a whole day there, because the tiredness from all the adrenaline and walking is real. Otherwise, get the 2 day pass if you want to take it slow at every theme attraction or trying all the rides are your priority because without the express pass, the wait can be really long for each ride. Be prepared for crowds and emptying your wallets for cute merchandises and exorbitant food prices that may not fill up your tummy leading you to second servings somewhere else. 

P.S We settled our dinner out of USJ, the whole area in general, and went for a very Japanese restaurant near the mall in Osaka station that only has their menu in Japanese and the prawn was still alive in our sashimi! Culture and food shocked and a group of Japanese ladies decided to chat with us. Rest and onward to Hakone! 

Missed our journey? Start from our first post in Osaka!

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