The Wizardry World of Harry Potter Japan is a theme park located within Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not, this park is definitely worth visiting while you are in Osaka.
The second you walk through the entrance, you know that you have arrived at the magical world of Harry Potter.
With cobblestone path, snow-capped buildings, shops selling wands and other magical items, you will feel that you have been transported to the world of wizardry in a city of Hogsmeade where Harry Potter bought his wand.
It was fun to see so many people dressed up to the Harry Potter’s theme, donning Hogswart’s robes, Gryffindor’s and Slytherins’ woollen hats and scarfs and swirling magic wands.
The souvenir shops at Harry Potter World had almost everything you could remember from the movie.
The shop selling wands at Ollivanders sold a variety of wands that could be used to cast magic at various places within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The girls bought another type of wand – Harry’s and Hermione’s souvenir wands that lit on and off when flicked.
Best 4D Ride ever!
The highlight of the Wizardry World of Harry Potter, and in fact the whole Universal Studios Japan park was its Harry Potter and the Forbidden City ride. I thought the 4D Transformer ride in Universal Studio Singapore was fantastic, but the Harry Potter and the Forbidden City ride was, hands down, the best 4D ride we had ever taken at any themed park, and we have been to many.
The magic started even while we were queuing for the ride. There were the oh-so-real talking portraits just like in the movies except that the portraits spoke in Japanese and we did not understand a thing! Haha. There were also Dumbledore’s office and Gryffindor’s common room. There were even holograms of different characters walking around the castle. How cool is that?
The ride itself was worth the long wait. As we were hanging in pods, the 3D movements were far more exhilarating than if we were using 3D cars/pods on the ground.
After the adrenaline rush from the Harry Potter and the Forbidden City ride, there was no better way to get our bloods flowing normally again than to cool down with the most popular drink in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Butterbeer!
This non-alcoholic beverage has a butterscotch flavour and is suitable for both kids and adults. During winter, a warm version of the drink is also available. We tried both and they were equally good.
Best View of the Hogwarts Castle
Not far from the butterbeer cart was a not-so-obvious path to a lake that gives you the best mirror-image view of the Hogwarts castle. Not many people were there as it was not easy to find. The trick was to look for The Three Broomsticks cafe and walk to the back of it.
After spending half a day at The Wizardry World of Harry Potter we could see why more and more to people were visiting Osaka, Japan.
Universal Studios Japan
Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was not the only themed area in USJ.
There was the Jurassic Park with the Jurassic Park ride and the flying dinosaur ride.
Next to it was the San Francisco area where you could face an inferno at the Backdraft attraction.
The Minion Park was a new area with the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. The New York area had the Spider-Man 4K3D ride as well as the Terminator 2 3D ride. The Hollywood area had a number of rides as well. For young kids (and adults), there were the Sesame Fun World, Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue and Snoopy Studios.
What was notably different about Universal Studios Japan compared to other Universal Studios was the Japanese visitors. Their cute outfits and poses made the park fun to walk around.
Where to Eat in Universal Studios Japan
There were several restaurants in the park. We had a filling seafood sandwich at Amity Landing restaurant in Amity Village.
Universal City Walk
Like all Universal Studios, there is always a Universal City Walk just outside the theme park. We planned to eat the snow crabs at the The Red Lobster, but were too full.
After spending a full day at USJ, we could see why more and more people were visiting Osaka, Japan. Before you go, read the tips below.
Tips on visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios Japan
- Like most popular theme parks, USJ gets a lot of visitors everyday. The queues for its popular rides can be unbearably long. One way to enjoy USJ with a lesser crowd is to visit it midweek i.e Tuesdays to Thursdays. Also check that it is not a public holiday.
- Book tickets online to avoid wasting an hour or so queuing to get the tickets. The tickets at the gates are not cheaper anyway. Don’t be confused with the different types of tickets and passes.
- The Universal Studios Japan ticket gets you an entrance ticket to the theme park.
- In addition to the entrance ticket, you can also add on The Universal Express pass that allows you to shorten the waiting time for selected popular rides, including the one at the Harry Potter World. There are two types of such passes. One type is for 4 rides and the other type is for 7 rides.
- The third type is The Harry Potter pass. It provides you with a timed entry to the Harry Potter World. It is free and you can only get them after you enter the park. This is the first thing that you should do when entering the park because the later you get this pass, the later your timed entry will be and the longer the queue for the best ride in USJ. The kiosks where you can collect the timed entry tickets are not located at the entrance of the Harry Potter park itself. Instead, you have to go to the centre of the park, near the lake and queue up at the kiosks to get the timed entry.
- Your best chance of avoiding a long queue at the Harry Potter ride is to reach USJ before it opens, with tickets pre-purchased, walk briskly to get the timed entry, and head straight to the Harry Potter ride once you enter Harry Potter World.
- If you didn’t manage to come early, and do not want to pay for the Express Pass, the only other way to cut short the waiting time is to queue at the single rider lane. Of course, this means that you cannot take the ride together with your family or travel companions. It is not as fun but you can save a lot of time which you can use to enjoy other attractions within the park.
Where to Stay
There is a hotel just outside of Universal Studios Japan called Park Front Hotel.
Other popular options for places to stay in Osaka would be in Dotonbori/Namba. Check for deals below.