Who loves to go on a theme park adventure? I do. Universal Studios Japan or most people like to call it, USJ, is the most family friendly place you can find in Osaka. However, it is also the most crowded place you can find in Osaka too. This vastly huge place can become cramped before it opens its gates to the thousands of visitors that come here daily. I had the privilege to witness this madness on my visit during the recent Osaka trip.
We went to USJ early. “Early” means we arrived at USJ before it opened its gate. We reached the front gate at 8.30am on a Wednesday morning. The official opening hour is from 9.00am to 7.00pm. So obviously we thought we would be at the start of the queue since we were early. However, to our surprise, the gates were flooded with people. There were so many people that some USJ staff had to usher us to form proper queues a few time to ease the congestion of human beings.
Once the gates were opened at exactly 9.00am, everyone entered the gates in an orderly fashion. However, our queue seemed to stop moving. Then we realised it’s because some visitors did not get the authorised tickets to enter the park. Please beware of buying unauthorised tickets online because you may be denied entry into the park. We got our tickets online from Klook.com and it is one of the authorized agents to sell tickets on behalf of USJ.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Once we were through, we quickly rushed to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Lots of people were running towards the same direction as well. Apparently, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had a crowd control mechanism in place. During peak hours, visitors will have to take an allotted time slot to enter the magical world of Harry and friends.
Be prepared because it was a long walk from the theme park entrance to the Hogwarts school. Along the winding road with lines of trees, we got to see the Flying Ford Anglia lying among the trees. Once enter the Wizarding World, if you are a fan of Harry Potter or have seen the movies, everything inside would seem familiar to you.
The Hogsmeade village, from Harry Potter movies, was reenacted here and very much resemblance to the movie set. It included restaurants, cafes and retail shops selling various merchandise. Want a souvenir for remembrance? You can consider buying a wizard/witch wand and can try out on the Wand Magic at various spots inside the village.
What is the MUST-TRY thing to do in Harry Potter world? I would say it is the Butterbeer and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.
This was a very popular among visitors that it took us more than 20 minutes to get our hands on the tasty sweet Butterbeer. Unlike its name suggested, this is a non-alcoholic drink so adults, as well as children, can enjoy this drink together. The top of the drink is a layer of white milk foam and the bottom is a fizzy soft drink. It comes in hot or cold version. After drinking the Butterbeer, it left a white foam moustache on our mouths, haha…
Harry Lotter and the Forbidden Journey Ride
The ride was thrilling and exhilarating. It is an indoor ride with 4K3D. So every thrill seekers are required to wear the 3D glasses to enjoy the ride. While queuing for the ride, we walked through the Hogwarts castle and could get a glimpse of what the interior of the castle looked like. However, it was dark inside the castle and we were required to keep our bags in the lockers so no picture to show you what we had seen inside the castle. Overall, we enjoyed the ride and all the waiting and queuing and crowding were worth it.
Lunch at Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
After spending half a day playing, waiting and having fun in the theme park, we needed refuel and calories to continue this thrill-seeking journey. We stopped by at the New York Park and went to Finnegan’s Bar & Grill for lunch. We chose the recommended and popular dishes, i.e. Finnegan’s Steak Meal with beef steak, potato soup, french fries and sandwich and the Finnegan’s Potato Onion Webb. The kids had kids’ meals with fried prawn, rice, omelette, wedges and desserts. What a full meals we had. This Irish bar is located right in front of the Spiderman 4K3D ride.
The street parade was one of the highlights. Everyone was waiting patiently for the parade to begin. Some were sitting on the curbs, chit-chatting or eating, while others were standing looking left and right for the parade to start. I must say the performers really did a good job in making this a spectacular parade. Everyone enjoyed themselves by clapping their hands, singing together, doing little dances and most importantly smiling at each other.
Lastly, let’s put a quote for this fun and amazing day.
Let us step into the night and pursue the flighty temptress, adventure.
– Albus Dumbledore
Interested in reading about my other adventures in Osaka? Click the following links.