I grew up reading and watching Harry Potter so seeing the Wizarding world was a dream come true when I went to Universal Studios in Japan! I went with a friend (who also happened to be a Potterhead yay) and both of us got an Express Pass. They were quite the splurge! It was extra 4,500 Yen on top of our 1 Day Studio Pass valued at 7,400 Yen so that’s a total of 11,900 Yen. We just don’t have the patience to wait in line for hours and hours to ride an attraction.
First, let me explain what Express Pass, Studio Pass and Timed Entry Ticket are.
- STUDIO PASS – A Studio Pass grants you admission to the park. It’s your ticket to enter Universal Studios Japan. This admission ticket includes entrance and use of all attractions in the park. With this alone, you can’t get in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- EXPRESS PASS – The Universal Express Pass will shorten your waiting time at attractions which can be purchased on the day of your visit at the park, but only available while supplies last. It will not be available on the day if they are sold out beforehand.
- TIMED ENTRY TICKET – A Timed Entry Ticket grants you admission to enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and can only be obtained inside the park. Although Timed Entry Tickets are free, USJ only gives out a limited number of tickets per day to control monstrous crowds.
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
We were afraid that we might not be able to get a timed entry ticket for Harry Potter so we were there as early as 8 AM. We let out a sigh of relief as soon as we got out slots reserved at 11:00 AM. Since we had spare time, we walked around Universal Studios, but we didn’t go far from the entrance.
When it was our time to enter, we just couldn’t help but giggle at the thought of finally seeing the magical world with our own eyes! We’ve been dreaming to go here the moment we learned about its existence. Upon entering the park, you will see Flying Ford Anglia that Ron and Harry Potter crashed when Dobby did not let them through Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station in London. We waited for several minutes before we were able to take a picture of it without people photobombing the spot. By the way, we went there on a non-holiday weekday off-peak season in Japan and the place was still jampacked.
The entrance to Hogsmeade. You will be greeted by hundreds of people dressed in wizard robes and muggle outfits trying to take a photo op with Hogwarts Express train with a camera on one hand and a glass of Butterbeer on the other. Not ashamed that I did that obligatory shot as well. Haha!
Just not really a fan of Butterbeer though. It was way too sweet. Possibly even the sweetest cream soda ever made. It had a thin layer of foam and what seemed like liquified sugar beneath it. Not sure if other Potterheads would agree with me on that. Does Butterbeer in London and America taste different? Let me know. Anyway, you can either get it hot or cold. My friend says the cold Butterbeer tastes better.
From Hogwarts Station, there is a 8-10 minute walk to Hogwarts School and there will be shops along the way to distract you. My friend and I spent an hour checking out the sweets at Honeydukes and goodies at Zonko’s Joke Shop. I couldn’t pass up the chance to try the Chocolate Frogs so I bought the biggest one! It tasted absolutely amazing by the way. I will share the experience with you in a separate post so watch out for that. Blogged: Honeydukes Sweets Shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
We visited Ollivander’s Wand Shop after that. We took advantage of the short queue for the show inside where muggles can experience the same magical moment Harry had at Ollivanders in Diagon Alley. It was where he got fitted for the perfect wand. You have the option to buy your own wand after the show. The wands are priced about $25 to $30 each. There were other Harry Potter merchandise at Dervish and Banges and we spent another hour there trying on robes and scarves. My friend ended up buying the Slytherin and Ravenclaw scarves. She couldn’t help it, that Potterhead. See her own adventures here. 🙂
A tour inside the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.
Seeing the moving portraits, the staircase to Dumbledore’s office, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, The Defense Against The Dark Arts classroom inside the Hogwarts castle was definitely one of my highlights at WWoHP! I just loved every single minute I was there. Walking through the hallways, looking through the Dumbledore’s things… seriously, I could go on and on.
The tour inside the castle is free and I am surprised that not a lot of people line up for it (they were all busy queuing for 4K3D ride apparently). That’s how much time you can waste if you don’t get the Universal Express Pass. I should have taken a video to show you guys how long the queue was to prove my point.
We had lunch at Three Broomsticks, the long-established tavern where professors and students of Hogwarts frequent at and bought our first Butterbeer at Hog’s Head adjacent to the establishment. We waited for the queue to shorten, but the place seemed like it would never ran out of hungry customers. We lined up anyway and ordered The Great Feast platter which had the rotisserie chicken and chargrilled ribs along with roasted potatoes and sweet corn on the cob. Absolutely smashed it within minutes. It was delicious!
I’m quite sad that I actually missed Gladrags Wizardwear. I have a feeling that’s where I would have seen Hagrid’s house and his cool motorcycle. Anyhoo, since this is a muggle’s guide to WWoHP, it wouldn’t be complete without a map that I downloaded from USJ’s website:
HOW TO GET THERE
If you’re in Osaka, get to Universal City station using the JR Sakurajima line.
Universal Studios Japan has no closing days and is open from 9AM – 9PM daily.
Check the website to see their official calendar and announcements.
P.S. I’m just waiting for my acceptance letter to Hogwarts and I’m off to London lol.