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A must-see in Osaka: Universal Studios Japan

Everything you need to know about visiting Universal Studios Japan including attractions, restaurants, ticket prices, and ways to get to this theme park in Osaka.

One of the best things to do in Osaka is visiting Universal Studios Japan. This is an activity that travelers of all ages can enjoy so if you are traveling with a group, it won’t be hard to decide what to do because everyone loves theme parks!

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I spent two days in Universal Studios Japan because of work but one day is enough time to visit. In this article, I will share with you my personal experiences and tips on how to spend a day in USJ.

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⁉️ Is Universal Studios Japan worth it? 

If you love to bring out the kid in you and go on adventurous trips, then I’d say Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is worth the visit. 

Universal Studios Japan was the first theme park to be built in Asia. It opened back in 2001 and is located in the Osaka Bay Area. 

Over the years, the theme park has expanded. From the eye-catching attractions, epic events, and world-class rides, it stayed as one of the most visited and best theme parks in Southeast Asia. 

So, when you’re in Osaka or anywhere in the Kansai Region, USJ is a must! 

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💲 How much does Universal Studios Japan cost? 

Universal Studios Japan offers lots of different tickets for different perks. And worry Not; I’ll be sharing them with you. 

As of 2023, when you buy directly from the Universal Studios website, a standard 1-day studio pass to Universal Studios (for adults ages 12+) costs approximately $64 USD. This will vary if you buy tickets for children aged 11 and below and senior citizens.

Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy a two day pass to USJ, a ticket will cost you $123 USD. There is also an available 1.5 Day Studio Pass, which lets you enter the park 3:00 PM onwards for two days. This ticket costs $99 USD. 

For a full experience, I suggest you upgrade to a Universal Japan express pass 4 ticket. The pass lets you skip lines at top 4 attractions so you can cut your waiting time. It also gives you access to other attractions. not available to a regular pass holder.

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🙋 Is 1 day enough for Universal Studios Japan? 

For most people, a day exploring Universal Studios Japan is already enough. This is  especially true if you are a solo traveler (like me) who wants to experience the fun of USJ. 

After visiting the theme park a few times now, I suggest you get there early. This way you can make a full day of it.

But if you are visiting during peak season, or when the park has special events it would be best to upgrade your ticket to an Express one to minimize wait times for the rides and attractions.

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🉐 Do they speak English in Universal Studios Japan? 

Staff in Universal Studios  Studios Japan speak a little bit of English. They can help and direct you around the park if you find the directions in the USJ map confusing. But don’t worry too much because the map that will be provided will be in English. 

Signs, show times, posters and important information inside the park are also in English. However, some rides and attractions inside the park require a little bit of Japanese understanding. You can have fun on these rides, but some sound effects and narrations are only done in Japanese. 

It wouldn’t hurt to learn a little Japanese (especially basic ones) before visiting. You can use them not just inside Universal Studios, but during your stay in Osaka as a whole. 

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🪄 Is there a Harry Potter World in Japan? 

YES! If you are a fan of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can find the world attraction in Universal Studios Japan.

The Harry Potter World is a themed area based on the Harry Potter series. Inside the Harry Potter World, you will be welcomed with different unique areas related to the series. It seems like you entered the series yourself, enjoying the sight of wands, magic, quidditch and butterbeer! 

You can also enjoy thrilling rides themed on the Harry Potter Movie as well as seasonal events (watch out for them) for all ages to enjoy.

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🎡 How many rides does Universal Studios Japan have? 

Believe it or not, Universal Studios Japan is packed with over 60 heart-racing, movie-themed and unique themed rides. 

If you are in Osaka, this iconic themed park cannot be missed. It is one of the most visited tourist spots in Japan where you can expect loads of fun while you go on thrilling and exciting rides. 

🚆 Train to Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan is located in the bay area of Osaka. Although it may be tucked away from the city center, you can easily find your way there. 

The easiest way you can get to Universal Studios Japan is by train. 

If you are coming from Namba, the station you want to be at is OSAKA NAMBA station. Here you will take the Hanshin Namba Line bound to Amagasaki, and alight at Nishikujo.

From there, you will need to transfer to JR Yumesaki Line bound for Sakurajima and alight at UNIVERSAL CITY Station. 

Basically, if you are taking the train from anywhere in Osaka (even from Kansai Airport) you will need to reach the JR Yumesaki Line. This will take you to the nearest station, UNIVERSAL CITY. 

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🚌 How to get to Universal Studios by bus

Aside from taking the train, you can also ride the bus. Universal Studios is connected by bus to Kansai Airport and Itami Airport.

A trip from Kansai to USJ will take around 50 to 70 minutes and from Itami Airport, it will take 45 minutes. There are also overnight buses across the city of Osaka that stop at Universal Studios Japan. 

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⛴️ Ferry to Universal Studios

If you want to take the unique way to reach Universal Studios Japan, you can take the ferry service named “Captain Line”.

This connects USJ from the Osaka Aquarium, which is only 10 minutes away. A ticket to the ferry will cost starting from $6 USD for a one way trip.

🎟️ Universal Studios Japan tickets and packages

Universal Studios Japan offers different tickets and passes for visitors to avail. And for a smooth sailing trip, it would be great if you can buy your tickets in advance.  Among the available passes you can avail are: 

Universal Studios Japan Studio Pass 

Get to experience USJ for a day and enjoy 60+ attractions inside the theme park. From the newest Mario-themed area to the thrilling Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll catch not only amazing shows but experience heart-racing rides.

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This pass will cost you $42 USD and will vary depending on extra perks you avail (like Special Entry).

Universal Studios Japan Express Pass 4 

Save time and get to enjoy more inside USJ when you upgrade your day pass to a USJ Express Pass 4.  You’ll be able to skip and cut lines at the top 4 attractions inside the park. 

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You will have easy access to Super Nintendo World, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, The Flying Dinosaur, Sing On Tour, Space Fantasy, The Ride and a lot more (depending on which attractions you choose). Price of the ticket starts at $44 USD.  

Universal Studios Japan Express Pass 7 

Availing the USJ Express Pass 7 will let you avoid long lines and enter the rides directly at 7 top attractions inside the park.

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You can choose from Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Backdrop, Space Fantasy The Ride, Sing on Tour, The Flying Dinosaur, and a lot more. Price of the USJ Express Pass 7 starts at $74 USD. 

🎢 Universal Studios Japan attractions

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and enjoy the world of Harry Potter! If you are a fan of the series, you’ll enjoy exploring the area and check out what it’s like to live as Harry. 

As a fan myself, I was stoked to see Diagon Alley and real-life Hogwarts inside the USJ. You can even buy it. your own wand and use it for magic inside the park. Of course, you’ll be able to enjoy the heart-racing rides in this attraction as well. 

Just take note that timed tickets are required for entry inside because it gets easily crowded. 

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Super Nintendo World 

The newest attraction inside Universal Studios Japan – Super Nintendo World! Just from hearing it, I can already feel the excitement and fun inside the area.

Here you’ll be able to immerse yourself into Mario’s world as you race your way to victory on Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. 

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This is the world’s first Super Nintendo World packed with interactive rides and attractions made with cutting-edge technology. 

Jurassic Park 

Get to enjoy in real-life what it’s like to be inside Jurassic Park. Of course dinosaurs here aren’t totally alive, but still! This area is home to the famous watery slide which you will enjoy while a pterodactyl follows you. 

Also ride the famous Flying Dinosaur where you will be pulled up high into the sky and swing you 360 degrees through the world of Jurassic Park. This was one of the most memorable ride inside the USJ for me, so I suggest you don’t miss this one!

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Universal Wonderland 

Bring out the kid in you as you visit Elmo, Snoopy, HelloKitt and other cute characters in Universal Wonderland. Inside the area, there are 30 different attractions you can try and explore.

This is the perfect place to visit if you have your kids and family with you! 

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Minion Park 

Minion Park is one of my favorite attractions in USJ! It’s full of Minions (of course) everywhere, which are adorable and despicably hilarious!  

Attractions inside the Minion Park, like Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, lets you in a massive dome screen with hyper-realistic projection system and ivsit the laboratory of Gru and his three daughters.

This will definitely challenge your senses (and warmheart). You definitely should not miss this out. 

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🍲 Restaurants in Universal Studios Japan

Mario Cafe & Store

What’s a better pick than enjoying themed food in a stylish cafe capturing the charm of Super Mario?

Inside the cafe, you’ll be welcomed by neon signs and decorations in recreation of Mario World. They serve uniquely decorated food that is only available inside the cafe. 

Best-seller among all else is their Pancake Sandwich, in either Mario or Luigi’s Cap! Also enjoy hot parfait drinks or italian cream soda that features Princess Peach or Mario and Luigi pop-art designs. 

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Pink Cloud Universal Citywalk Osaka Store

Love all things colorful and sweet (like me)? The Pink Cloud Universal Citywalk Osaka Store is a must-visit then! 

Get to enjoy adorable and refreshing “Decoshakes” from the Pink Cloud Universal Citywalk Store. You can pick a flavor to match your mood, whether you’re in love, feeling excited or want to chill out they have it all! 

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Three Broomsticks

Three Broomsticks is a favorite among restaurants inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is designed as a Hogsmeade Tavern, where you can enjoy a traditional English feast. 

Among the recommended dishes are the Christmas Plate, Rotisserie Smoked Chicken and Shepherd’s Pie Plate and the famous Hot Butterbeer! 

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Kinopio’s Cafe

Childhood memories re-invented! I enjoyed my experience in the Kinopio’s Cafe while trying out fun gourmet dishes. Inside the Super Nintendo World, the restaurant is a transformed Toad House where you can see the beautiful views of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Their Chef’s Special, a Grating Hamburger Steak with a Mashed Potato Tree and Bread or Rice is a must-try. I also enjoyed Yoshi’ Spinach Carbonara. No worries with payment because they accept both cash and credit inside the restaurant. 

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Tips for visiting Universal Studios Japan

Book tickets 2 months in advance

Although tickets can be bought on the day of your visit at the front counter, I highly suggest you save yourself some time and buy them beforehand. 

You can get tickets online in many ways as stated in the ticket prices section of this article. Once you arrive at USJ, just have your QR code ready, and it will be automated right away at the entrance. 

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Go USJ as early as possible

Universal Studios is visited by lots of locals and foreign tourists at the same time, and most of them go to USJ during weekends. So if time permits, try to plan your visit to Universal Studios in the middle of the week. 

Try visiting during Wednesday or Thursday as these days are not so near the weekends. This way you can avoid long lines and crowded areas, which can save you time. You’ll get to enjoy more of the attractions and try out more rides. 

Of course, it’s also a good idea to book your flight to Osaka during low season or shoulder season. Holidays must be avoided too! 

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Plan your route

If you don’t plan on getting express passes, I suggest you plan your route inside the park. Maps are free to download on the internet so you can check what area to visit first.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, then you definitely want to add this as priority to your list. This area is between Universal Wonderland and Super Nintendo World so you might want to consider visiting these areas too.

You can also choose from Hollywood, Amity Village, Jurassic Park and Minion Park and rank them into what you prefer the most. 

It’s best to prioritize the rides before slowing down to enjoy the decor and other attractions. This is because queuing takes a long time and might take up most of your time. 

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Here’s a free sample route to take: 

  • Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey 
  • Explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Yoshi’s Adventure
  • Explore Nintendo World
  • The Flying Dinosaur
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 
  • Hollywood Dream The Ride: Backdrop
  • Explore Hollywood Zone 
  • Jaws
  • Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue & Snoopy Studios (lines here are generally short)

Always opt for express passes

It is highly recommended that you get fast-track entry to the top attractions. This way your queue time will lessen from an hour to only 20 minutes. 

You can purchase express passes to 4 or 7 attractions online. Just be sure to buy your Express Pass at least a week before arrival because they only sell a limited number of tickets. 

Budget tip: free-timed entry ticket

A timed entry ticket for attractions you’d wanna catch (and don’t want to miss) is a must! This will help avoid too much crowd and long lines. There are also some attractions like the Super Nintendo World that won’t allow you to enter unless you have an entry ticket so make sure to check beforehand. 

By getting a free-timed entry ticket, you are assured of an entry time and can stay for as long as you want after you’re in! You can obtain the ticket through the official USJ app for FREE!

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🙋 Questions about Osaka Japan? Leave a comment below or connect with me on Instagram or Tiktok where I answer questions without a cost.

🇯🇵 Osaka Travel Resources

🚑 Do I need insurance to travel to Osaka Japan?
Yes, you do! This is the number one requirement when traveling to Japan. I use SafetyWing and I only pay $40 USD per month for my digital nomad travel insurance!

✈️ Where can I find cheap flights to Osaka Japan?
You can find cheap flights to Osaka, Japan by using WayAway. This is my current flight search favorite and I have proven that flights on this website are way cheaper!

🛏️ Where can I find cheap hotels in Osaka Japan?
Budget travelers, use Hostelworld when looking for accommodations in Japan. A bed in a hostel dorm starts at $25 USD per night. Booking.com is best for boutique hotels while you will find many luxury hotels on Expedia.

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Rebecca

Tuesday 7th of August 2018

Fantastic! Looks like so much fun! Japan just do everything great!! <3 <3 <3