Just one day at Universal Studios Japan…

G'Day Japan! / Entertainment / Just one day at Universal Studios Japan…

For most visitors, a day at Universal Studios Japan begins at Osaka station hopping aboard a train on the JR Sakurajima (also known as Yumesaki) line. Even at 10am on a weekday, you can expect the carriages to be packed to the roof with excited families, school kids, groups of young women and men, couples and of course, wide-eyed tourists who takes riding a packed Japanese train as the part of the experience.

In just a few stops, the majority of the crowd will spill out on to the platform at Universal City station. The crowd swiftly moves past the restaurants and the arcade of Universal City and a grand looking hotel. Within just a few minutes the sound of excited people and background music surrounds you and you see the famous globe of Universal Studios – you have arrived.

20130927 Globe_Entrance
Image provided by: Universal Studios Japan

All of the visitors passing through the ticketing gates become noticeably giddier as they step onto the grounds of Universal Studios Japan. There’s so many colours, so many people and so much to see. The view that welcomes each and every visitor is like a movie set of a classic Hollywood townscape – so inviting and so vibrant, it has a magnetic effect that pulls everyone in a bit of a hurry.

Once you walk into the join the view yourself, you’ll begin noticing people of all ages looking around curiously, power walking then slowing down as if to show how much they want to look at the very finely thought out details but at the same time how much they want to get to their desired attraction.

There are three main groups of attractions at Universal Studios. There’s the Universal Wonderland, much loved by small children and fans of adorable characters from the show like Sesame Street. Then there’s the big hitter – a must try on most visitors’ lists – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

ELMO'S BUBBLE BUBBLEImage provided by: Universal Studios Japan
pathImage provided by: Universal Studios Japan
HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

At any given day, you’ll see plenty of Potter fans dressed in the Hogwarts uniforms marching into the marvelously recreated Forbidden But during the Halloween period, you’ll see enough uniforms to actually fill up Hogwarts – plus a few special additions like Minions, Where’s Wally and of course, Zombies.

Following quirky crowd through the forest you’ll hear a familiar tune, one of the theme musics from the Harry Potter music. Within the forest there are curious things hidden, things like Arthur Weasley’s car, which his son, Ron Weasley crashed in his second year at Hogwarts, along with Harry Potter. It’s a clear photo op spot here, but the crashed car doesn’t just sit there. It honks and flashes its lights, bringing in the visitors further into their Harry Potter dream-come-trues.

Once the tall trees of the forest clear, visitors are now transported to a combination of Hogsmead, Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. To the right is the Hogwarts Express – another photo op spot – the jet black steam train takes everyone aback and they feel as if they’ve yet again arrived in a whole new world.

Hogwarts ExpressImage provided by: Universal Studios Japan
HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

Weaving through the crowds of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is a covered area with a beautiful owl to your right, the Three Broomsticks pub to the left and many of Harry Potter’s whimsical shops like Honeydukes and Olivander’s. There are fantastic replica wands of the main characters of Harry Potter sold at Olivander’s and Chocolate Frogs at Honeydukes. Each and every detail of the town and the products sold are refined immaculately, you could be there for hours.

But right at the end of the road is where everyone wants to be… Hogwarts. The school everybody wishes they had attended. Just outside is the ride, Flight of the Hippogriff and inside is the magical 3D ride – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The interior of Hogwarts is complete with moving paintings, talking photos, rooms of professors and characters…

moving portrait corridor
Image provided by: Universal Studios Japan
HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

Finally, the tour of Hogwarts leads to the 3D ride. The ride is a thrilling one which will hit any Harry Potter right in their soft spot, giving them nostalgia and pure joy. Even for non fans, this ride is an exciting combination of visual, audial and sensory experience.

You’ll feel the wind in your hair and your gut drop as your ride moves and glides through air. You don’t want to miss out on this ride if you can help it, however it’s important to remember during peak times like holidays and Halloween, this highly sought-after ride requires patience as the line can get as long as a full grown Basilisk.

Stepping back out into Universal Studios from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another different trip. You are leaving one world into another. Something that’s probably very underrated in the whole experience at Universal Studios Japan is ‘the stroll’. Just simply having a stroll through the ever-changing landscape of Universal Studios Japan is an experience in itself.

Hollywood Dream-The Ride~Backdrop_Entrance

spider_man_store_02Images provided by: Universal Studios Japan

From a magical world into a rustic beach town style area where you’ll find Jaws, to a classic New York style landscape that features The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man (another big favourite of many visitors) and of course, back in the old Hollywood landscape that welcomes the visitors. It’s nonstop visual enticement – when you see a sign or a door, you are instantly drawn to it, even when that door doesn’t open. Each and every window is dressed with mesmerising objects – what a great place to play a little (or a very long) game of ‘eye-spy’.

As you walk away from the fantastic townscape that welcomed you into the park, out of the gates you can’t help but to look back again and again. But the euphoria that over take the body while enjoying Universal Studios Japan remains even after you’ve stepped back into the real world – all the visitors leaving are still bursting with excitement, everybody is talking their freshly made memories and discussing their highlights.

The train ride back to the beginning point at Osaka station is full of hushed giggles and smiles all around. And all that comes from only a day at Universal Studios Japan.

*Cover image provided by: Universal Studios Japan



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Osaka is the cultural and economical centre of western Japan. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides, however, it’s Osaka’s vibrant and innovative culture that produced sushi trains and the tallest building in Japan that attracts its visitors.