It was as though I entered a completely different theme park.
My first visit to the Universal Studios Japan was in late 2012. It has been five years since then, and man, WHAT AN UPGRADE!
Universal Studios Japan feels brand spanking new!
Well, at least to me. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is now refurbished with 4K3D projections. Back to the Future has been replaced by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. In one corner rises the Hogwarts Castle, housing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And there are limited-time-only attractions that not only speak to the otaku in me but are all excellent and exciting. That Detective Conan: The Escape is cleverly crafted and wonderfully executed!
If you’ve never been to Universal Studios Japan before, this guide is for you. If it’s been too long since you last went, this is probably for you too because, trust me, it’s going to feel like the first time. (Not what you’re thinking, pervie.)
So here it is, a travel guide especially dedicated to Universal Studios Japan, presented in FAQs (frequently asked questions) format.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
I have been to Universal Studios Singapore. Should I still visit Universal Studios Japan? How different is it?
The difference is night and day. Universal Studios Singapore has its own key rides that are not present here. Likewise, Universal Studios Japan has so much to offer that cannot be found at its Singapore counterpart.
For example, the Minion Park and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are not in Singapore. Their limited-time-only attractions like Sailor Moon, Monster Hunters, Detective Conan, and Final Fantasy are also unique to this park.
When is the best time to visit?
Universal Studios Japan is one of the most visited attractions in Osaka. Any Osaka-bound tourist traveling with family or kids is most likely to have them in their itinerary. In 2016, it is listed as the 4th most popular theme park in the world. Hence, it could get crowded during weekends and peak seasons.
What are the peak seasons? According to most online sources:
- Golden Week (April 29 – May 5)
- Obon Festival (August 13–15)
- New Year (December 31 – January 5)
If you already have a set schedule, just try to avoid visiting on a weekend. But as early as now, for the sake of your sanity, accept in your heart that you will NOT get to experience everything!
How much is the admission ticket?
Here are the ticket prices (as of 2018):
You can double check the updated rates here.
Are there special tickets? Where can I get those?
Yes! Klook sells so-called 1.5 Day Pass. Basically, this pass will allow you to visit Universal Studios Japan at 3pm on Day 1 and then you can still use it for the entire day the following day. This gives you enough time to try more rides and enjoy more of the park.
The 1.5 Day Pass must be picked up at Kansai International Airport or Namba OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal).
Where to buy tickets?
You can buy tickets from the booths at the entrance. These booths can be used one hour before the park opens until two hours before closing.
But if you want to skip the line at the entrance and save more time, you can buy online. Klook sells standard 1-day passes.
You can check the rates or purchase one here: Get Tickets Here
Booking is easy and hassle-free.
1. Visit this page: Universal Studios Japan Ticket
2. Select date and quantity. Click on BOOK.
3. On the next page, enter your details. If you don’t have an account yet, you will be asked to sign up. It’s easy to do.
Make sure you enter the correct email address because the voucher and instructions will be sent to that email.
4. On the same page, pay using credit card or PayPal.
That’s it! You’ll get a confirmation via email!
Once booked, you just need to print out the voucher and bring it when you visit. You can also show the voucher on your mobile phone. No need to exchange the voucher for anything. Just go straight to the gates and show your voucher.
How to Get to Universal Studios Japan?
We have a separate, more detailed post just for that.
Read it here: How to Get to Universal Studios Japan
Is there a way to bypass the long lines?
Yes, it’s called EXPRESS PASS.
It’s an extra pass (separate from your park ticket) that you can purchase in order to skip the long lines. There are two types of Express Passes, depending on the number of rides you want to use it for.
- Express Pass 4, good for 4 rides
- Express Pass 7, good for 7 rides
At every key attraction, there is a separate lane for EXPRESS PASS holders, so you’re guaranteed to be prioritized. Just show your EXPRESS PASS to the staff by the entrance.
So for example, if you purchase an EXPRESS PASS 4, you don’t have to wait in line at up to 4 popular rides. To be clear, you can enjoy more than 4 attractions of course, but you don’t need to queue for 4 of them.
Its perfect for those who want to make the most of their day.
You can also buy Express Passes from Klook. Just follow the links below:
What are the best attractions?
The three most popular attractions are the following:
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
- The Flying Dinosaur
However, you should also watch out for Universal Cool Japan, an event that features limited-time-only attractions. For example, for January-June 2018, you can experience the following incredible rides:
- Final Fantasy XR Ride
- Detective Conan: The Escape
- Monster Hunters: The Real
These limited-time-only rides are widely popular so expect looooong lines.
These featured rides change every season!
What if I don’t have an EXPRESS PASS? Can I still have a great time?
Of course! But prepare to wait longer for your turn.
I personally don’t mind waiting if I’m with my friends because we could burn time just talking about anything. But when I was with my nephew, who was a very impatient kid, I regretted not purchasing an EXPRESS PASS.
Without Express Pass, how long do I have to wait in line?
Depends on the attraction and the season. If you’re lucky, 30-40 minutes. But for the extremely popular ones, prepare to wait for 60-90 minutes, sometimes 120 minutes.
Bring something to entertain yourself while waiting. In my case, my phone usually does the trick. I just upload pics and check my social accounts. And oh, bring a power bank (mobile charger).
How can I maximize my time?
If you don’t have an EXPRESS PASS, you might find these tips useful:
- Before the trip, research and identify your top 4 attractions. Now, get a map of the park and rearrange your Top 4 according to their location. Your #1 attraction should be near #2 and so on.
- Come to the park early. The earlier you arrive, the more rides you’ll enjoy. The crowd grows thicker over time so be an early bird.
- Once inside, prioritize your top attractions. Harry Potter is the most popular so it’s something to consider for your first pick.
Also, be mindful of certain schedules especially of the events and photo opportunities with certain characters. For example, Detective Conan: The Escape only happens twice a day.
Are there lockers inside the park?
Yes, but these are small lockers only.
If you need space to store your big bags, you’ll find coin lockers right outside the park. Use them before entering the park.
Here are the sizes of the lockers:
Multiple Time Use: 360×425×300
Are there ATMs inside the park?
Yes. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and AEON Bank.
If you have other questions, post them in the comments section below, and we’ll try to answer them and add them to this post. 🙂
Cover image by Astrid Alvarez