I have a confession, I am actually not a big fan of Harry Potter. I watched all the movies but did not read the books. Even if I am not a big fan of the series, a visit to Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan is still a must when you visit Universal Studios Japan. You don’t need to be a fan in order to enjoy this attraction.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not only in Japan. There are also Wizarding World of Harry Potter in California and Orlando. The one in California has a very cool attraction which is called the Dark Arts Light Show
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We wanted to make the most out of our visit that’s why we have carefully planned for our trip. The first thing we did is to book our express pass.
Express passes have a different queue where the waiting time is shorter. There are different types of express pass, depending on how many rides are included such as the Universal Express Pass 3, 4 and 7. However, only the Express Pass 4 and 7 include the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D. We booked the Universal Express Pass 4 Minion Ride from Klook because we preferred the rides included in that pass. The ride includes Despicable Me Ride, Harry Potter Forbidden Journey, Amazing Spider-man ride and Terminator.
You need to pay an additional fee just for the express pass aside from the Universal Studios Japan studio pass. It is a bit pricey but it is worth it. The waiting time can go from two to three hours on popular rides especially during peak season. On crowded days, the waiting time for Flying Dinosaur and Forbidden Journey rides can go up to five hours. With the express pass, you can just enjoy the rides and stroll around the park leisurely instead of waiting in line the whole day.
Timed Entry Tickets
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan is popular both to locals and tourists. During peak season, timed entry tickets will be given in order to enter Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can only enter on the designated time specified in your timed-entry ticket. There are also days where you do not need to have a timed entry ticket, especially if it is offseason. The purpose of the timed entry tickets is to maintain the crowds that enter Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan
I highly suggest getting your timed-entry ticket the moment the gates open before you run out of it. However, if you purchased Express Pass 4 or 7, both of these passes also include timed entry to Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan
The first thing we did when we enter the park is to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan. Our timed entry from our Express Pass was supposed to be at 2 P.M. We visited on Wednesday and it was not a crowded day. There were no timed entry tickets given to enter Wizarding World of Harry Potter for that day. Because timed entry tickets are not needed that day, we were able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before our designated time. If you did not purchase Express pass, you should immediately queue for The Forbidden Journey ride.
1. Drink Butterbeer
The Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride is one of the most popular rides in Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan. Due to its popularity, there’ a designated time on your express pass when you will be able to queue for that ride. This is to maintain the crowds. Our time slot was still at two in the afternoon so we did not rush to the queue with other guests who did not have Express Pass. The first thing we did in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan is to buy Butterbeer.
If you have watched the movies, you would be familiar with this drink. Do not be fooled by its name though. It doesn’t taste like beer at all, it’s actually a sweet and sugary drink. If you have a sweet tooth, you would definitely love this. I am not really the biggest fan of sweets so I did not really enjoy it.
You can also buy your drink with a souvenir mug to bring home with you. The staff will also give you a small shopping bag for you to put your mug which makes it convenient.
2. All Aboard the Hogwarts Express
The moment you set foot in Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan, you’ll immediately see the Hogwarts Express. You can also take a photo with the conductor who would be more than happy to take a photo with you. I was too shy to ask the conductor for a photo though. Imagine yourself boarding the iconic train on your way to Hogwarts. This is one of my favorites in Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan. It is also a great photo spot.
3. Admire the beauty of Hogwarts Castle
While the crowds were rushing to queue for the Forbidden Journey, we took photos of the castle without any photobombers. This is the best time to take that perfect photo of Hogwarts Castle. Funny story, the photo below was taken before we went inside the castle to ride Forbidden Journey. We were not supposed to ride until two in the afternoon. I was looking for the queue for the castle walkthrough attraction. In the end, we accidentally queued for the ride for an hour.
You need to store all your bags and belongings to the lockers before you ride. We were able to ride Forbidden Journey twice that day. If you want to ride Forbidden Journey, I highly recommend buying the express pass and going there as soon as the park opens.
4. Visit Three Broomsticks Restaurant
If you have watched the movies, you would know this tavern where students from Hogwarts would come here to have great food and butterbeer.
The food can be quite expensive but it will also be a great and unique experience. This is the only restaurant in Wizarding World of Harry Potter so expect this to be full during mealtime. You need to order your food first before finding your table. The staff will help and assist you to find a table. It is not advisable for groups to split to reserve a table. The staffs frown upon that. You can also choose to head outside and enjoy the beautiful view of Hogwarts Castle. It is one of the best spots to take a photo of Hogwarts Castle without crowds.
5. Enjoy the Street Entertainment
Near the Flight of the Hippogriff ride, there is a small stage which is also the performance area. There will be street performance throughout the day at different schedules. The language they use for performance is a mix of Japanese and English.
Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs. Like most theme parks, souvenirs and food are overpriced. I felt like the souvenirs in Universal Studios Singapore is more expensive than the souvenirs here in USJ though.
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