While planning our trip, I wondered if I would enjoy Universal Studios in Japan. The joy of my travelling is wandering with my dear husband. So I agreed to visit USJ for my better half. Thanks to my persuasive man – It was one of those few days when my adrenaline and dopamine reached the highest level.
Here we show you how to plan your trip to Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, with all the necessary info and some of the “shouldn’t be missed” experiences.
- What makes USJ unique from others?
- Attractions in USJ
- Best month and day to visit.
- How, where and what USJ Tickets to Buy
- How many days do you need?
- How to get to USJ?
- Dos and Donts
- Top 5 things you shouldn’t miss at USJ
Is it worth going to Universal Studios Japan?
Do you like rides that make your heart race faster than a Tokyo bullet train?
Do you enjoy immersing yourself in other worlds so completely that you forget you’re actually in Osaka?
Waiting to meet some of the most beloved characters from movies and TV shows without having to deal with paparazzi or bodyguards?
Then you absolutely must visit USJ!
It’s the kind of place where you can scream your lungs out on roller coasters and munch on delicious food.
Those who don’t know what USJ is asked why two adults visited a theme park.
Perhaps the best part of Universal Studios Japan was the sheer joy of it all.
Universal Studios Japan: Where Dreams Come to Life for Fans of All Ages
Everywhere I looked, I saw smiling faces, both young and old, enjoying themselves to the fullest. Everyone was having a blast, whether it was taking selfies with Minions, chowing down on giant turkey legs, or screaming their lungs out on roller coasters. It was infectious and reminded me that sometimes, it’s good to let loose and just have fun.
From the moment I stepped through the gates, I didn’t know if I was on earth or another planet. It sounds like any other Universal Studios in the world. Isn’t it?
What is a fact about Universal Studios Japan?
World’s first and only Mario Nintendo world exists in USJ! Meeting Mario or Mario’s brothers and getting a hug from princess peach is exciting. And hitting the brick box, collecting coins, or wandering around the budding mushrooms makes you part of Mario’s world.
Another beauty of USJ is that the American-franchised theme park has a Japanese cultural twist. The park has an entire area dedicated to popular anime and manga series. In spiderman ride, he speaks Japanese!
Wait, there is more!
USJ conducts seasonal events unique to the park, such as the Halloween Horror Nights event and the Cool Japan event, showcasing Japanese pop culture. Then there are many souvenir shops where you can buy your favourite unique, high-quality (and expensive) merchandise.
It’s not just the rides and shows that make USJ special. The attention to detail and the immersive environments truly transport you to another world.
You get drinks in Matcha flavour. The burgers resemble Marios’s mushrooms. There is Minion Japanese Curry Omurice. You can get popcorn in “Lumas” – the star-like creatures!
Here is a pro tip – Visit Universal Studios in Japan, irrespective of your age!
How many attractions are at Universal Studios Japan?
Universal Studios Japan has over 30 attractions, including popular ones like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park etc.
What does Japan Universal Studios have?
Other attractions are based on popular movies and characters, such as Minions, Snoopy, and the Spiderman Ride. The exact number of attractions may vary depending on how you define “attraction,” Some experiences may be considered as shows or exhibits rather than rides.
The park is divided into areas, with other attractions and rides in each area.
What is the best month to go to Universal Studios Japan?
- You need no cherry blossom to beautify this place. But the entry ticket varies as per the season and day you visit.
- The golden weeks of late April-early May and Japan’s summer vacation of July to August are the most expensive and crowded times to visit USJ.
- The next expensive time of the year is December last week – due to Christmas and New Year’s.
- Best months to visit USJ – March and September to December 3rd week.
- January to March is cheaper and less crowded, but it can get very cold.
What is the best day to visit Universal Studios Japan?
Plan so that you visit in the middle of the week. Like, Tuesday and Wednesday.
How to buy USJ Tickets?
As much as I loved the vibe of USJ and enjoyed every bit of it, buying a ticket was challenging for various reasons. We tried to book on the USJ Official website because external agencies will cost you more. Trust me; the USJ website works as badly as the IRCTC website.
After navigating through their official site, we chose our tickets and came to the checkout page only to know that you must pay using American Express Card only! And we didn’t have one!
Where to buy Universal Studio Japan Tickets.
After a week of hunting, we figured out a legit website to buy the Universal Studio Japan Tickets. It was easy, as there was no restriction on which card to use, and the customer service from Rakuten Travel Experience was super appropriate regarding which tickets to buy – because just the entrance ticket may not be enough for your USJ day!
What are the types of tickets you need for USJ?
You need an entrance ticket. You can buy a 1-day / 1.5-DAY / 2-DAY pass based on your preferences. This lets you enter & wander every corner of USJ. You can take the rides also with this -But you will have to wait in loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong waiting lines – As long as 120 minutes to get a ride.
A most useful tip for visiting Universal Studios Japan and skipping the lines is- Buy an express pass with an admission ticket.
Left side – USJ Admission passes are Mandatory for every visitor. Without this, you can’t enter the park. Click here to buy.
Universal Studios Express Ticket -An optional add-on to regular admission and can be purchased for an additional fee. Click here to buy.
What is Universal Studios Express Ticket?
This express ticket can significantly reduce wait time and allows you to experience more rides and attractions in a shorter amount of time.
The availability and pricing of the Universal Studios Japan Express Pass can vary by season and can be affected by park attendance levels. Therefore, it’s essential to check the availability and pricing of the pass before purchasing your admission ticket to ensure the pass suits your needs and budget.
The Universal Studios Japan Express Pass comes in different tiers – 4 and 7.
With each tier, access to different attractions changes or increases. So with 7 – Express Pass, you can skip lines at seven specific rides mentioned in the pass. Mind that some of this may have timed entries.
How much is the ticket for Universal Studios Japan?
For a Sunday ticket to USJ on December 3rd week of 2022, it cost us 51500 yen for two tickets.
- 2 admission tickets
- 2 Universal Express Pass 4：Fun Ride
- 2 Mario World Power-Up Band – More on this in the section below.
What is the difference between Studio Pass A and Studio Pass B?
The colour-coded alphabet labelled passes can confuse first-timers. It just signifies what date you’re visiting.
For example, without Studio Pass “B”, we could visit USJ on any calendar day labelled with “B” within the specified date. In a nutshell, the colour coding says –
- A with Green – Cheapest
- B with Orange – Middle
- C with Pink – Most expensive.
- D with Blue – less crowd, and price can vary.
How far in advance can you buy Universal Studios Japan tickets?
We thought it was the off-season for tourists in Japan, and we tried to book 15 days earlier for our trip. We were wrong!
By then, all the better combo express passes were sold out. We couldn’t get the admission ticket for a weekday. You must book at least a month prior.
Do you need printed tickets for USJ?
A printed ticket is optional to enter USJ. But it is better to have one- God knows how many pictures you will click as we did, and the phone battery will surely drain out faster. This will lead you to stand and wonder how to show your express pass at the rides! A print solves all this.
Can you do Universal Studios Japan in a day?
It depends on what you want to do. More than a day is needed if you plan to sit on each ride and experience all attractions. On the other hand, two days in USJ will be exhausting. Plus, you must consider the pricing of two days if you are on a tight budget like us.
If you wish to spend two days at USJ, staying at hotels right outside the entrance is better. They may be costlier. But, you will not lose time commuting.
Is 1 day enough for Universal Studios Japan?
Yes. You must spend one whole day seeing all the attractions and be part of a few rides if you have the express pass.
How to get to Universal Studio Osaka?
Hiring a taxi and self-driving would be the most expensive way to get to USJ. Plus, you will lose time in Osaka’s traffic.
Tips on Getting to Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.
Taking the metro train is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to get to USJ in Osaka. JR Yumesaki Line for Universal Studios Japan takes you to the wonderland of USJ. This line starts from Osaka station, takes 10 minutes and costs 180 yen (As of December 2022)
If you are in the other parts of the city like we were at Namba, you may have to transfer to JR Yumesaki Line at an intermediate station. For example, we took a train to Nishukujo and transferred to the Yumesaki line from there. Use Jorudan Transit Planner to check your particular routes.
Follow the sign and crowd from the station
A giant Gorilla hanging from the signpost welcomes you to an arcade of merchandise shops and eateries. A 200m walk takes you to the USJ Entrance.
Where do you fly into to get to Universal Studios Japan?
Osaka has two international airports – Kansai and Itami. Kansai has more international flight connectivity than the latter. There are direct buses from both airports to USJ. The journey takes approximately 1 hour.
Dos and Dont’s at USJ.
The rules to follow in USJ may not be plenty. Most rules are easy to follow and common to any other theme park worldwide.
What is not allowed in Universal Studios?
Any sharp objects, weapons, or explosive materials aren’t allowed. Your bags will be checked for inspection. But surprisingly, your monopods, tripods and selfie sticks aren’t allowed too – Imagine there will be lakhs of people inside. And you keep pricking people with selfies ticks – Good riddance.
You can click photos using phones and cameras. But it isn’t allowed during any rides.
You can’t take drones either – Think of a drone flying above a roller coaster and getting stuck in the track! So no flying drones inside USJ
Japan is pet friendly – I am sure having fun at USJ with your furry friends would be a delight. But it isn’t allowed. So make arrangements for your pets before you arrive. Or book the kennel service at USJ prior.
Oversized luggage must be kept in either USJ locker. But we recommend keeping it either in your room or the USJ metro station locker.
Can we bring food to Universal Studio Japan?
There is plenty of quirky food inside USJ, but the quirkiness comes with a cost. So if you bring food, eat it at the picnic area before entering the park. Or have a whole jiggly cheesecake at the most famous place in Osaka before you arrive at USJ, as we did.
Can I wear a dress to Universal Studio?
Yes, you may! But ask yourself if it is appropriate for the weather. And is it comfortable enough for you to jump around, sit on a roller coaster and be part of rides that rotate your body in more than 360-degree angles? Plus, you spend more time outdoors. It can get windy.
So I recommend wearing shorts in summer and layered full-length pants with warm jackets for December.
Some rides go along with water. So you must be prepared to deal with it later.
Is it allowed to wear Costumes in Universal Studios Japan?
Yes totally! We saw two people dressed like Mario brothers. Some kids wore totally Minion outfit. For winter, spiderman outfit seemed to be kid’s favourite. Many adults wore Shark costumes. And there was thousands of people like us who wore hats or scrafs from a character and not an entire outfit.
As long as your costumes aren’t revealing, you can wear anything you want. (I have read stories where people tried to enter USJ with skimpy clothes and were denied of entry)
Can you go to Universal Studios Japan without knowing Japanese?
All the signboards in USJ are in English and Japanese both. So you get to hear Japanglish and read ultra-detailed signboards in English. All staff at USJ speak English well enough to help visitors. Knowing at least the basic Japanese phrases can take a long way, though.
5 Things we loved most at USJ.
Actually, we loved the vibe and atmosphere more than anything. I don’t recall seeing anyone unhappy. Every staff was smiling, helping and excited as if it was their first time in USJ. So kudos to the people who make USJ “The happiest man-made place on Earth.”
When it comes to the attractions of USJ – There wasn’t even a single poring place.
I have motion sickness, and roller coasters can make me throw up like a monster. So I can’t tell you anything about which ride was the best. But the attractions evoked a lot of childhood memories in me!
Here are our top 5 favourites of Universal Studios, along with tips for visiting them.
1. The Jurassic World.
Being a dinosaur fan since the Jurassic park film was released in 1993 (I was 4!), the Jurassic world at USJ reminded me of my Grandfather! We had watched the movie together, and he used to mispronounce dinosaurs as “Dino-doar” because of his lisp.
The attraction features life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that move, make sounds, and even breathe, creating a realistic and immersive experience. It is a fun place to watch small kids getting scared and screaming, thinking the dinosaurs are alive.
2. Minion world.
With a four-year-old niece back in India, I have listened to the “Banana” song by minions a billion times, and I am quite annoyed with it because of “over-listening”. But living with minions for a few minutes was hilarious.
The experience begins with witty ride instructions where minions warn you of their process of converting you into a minion, including many twists and turns that may affect people with motion sickness.
I thought I should try it even if I puked post-ride – because we entered the minion world at the day’s end.
Then you are taken further and made to sit inside a capsule with 5 more humans.
Gru and his army of minions take you on a wild and wacky adventure that’s sure to have you laughing and screaming all at once. From banana peels to giant robots, this ride is packed with all the crazy antics and quirky humour we’ve come to expect from these lovable little creatures.
FYI – I felt a lot weird during the ride – But I didn’t puke. A soup from the cart outside the minion world reset my stomach.
Get ready to sling your way through the streets of New York City on the Spiderman ride at Universal Studios Japan! This ride will spin your senses with its high-tech 3D visuals, heart-pumping drops, and crazy twists and turns.
You’ll feel like you’re flying through the air alongside spiderman, battling villains and saving the city from danger. But don’t worry; you won’t need spidey sense to enjoy this ride – just a sense of adventure and a willingness to have some web-slinging fun! The best part is, spiderman at USJ speaks Japanese!
I really thought I had a web left over my body at the end of the ride! I even smiled at the photo when spiderman clicked a photo after he caught us with the web and said, “Haiyaaa, say Cheese.”
4. The wizarding world of Harry Potter
Perhaps this is the most popular attraction of Univer Studios Japan for all the right reasons.
Is there a Harry Potter world in Japan?
Yes, and it is magical!
From the cobblestone streets of Hogsmeade to the towering spires of Hogwarts castle, it’s like stepping into the pages of the books (or the frames of the movies). The white thing on the steeply sloped roof looked like real snow. Somwhoe I even thought of England’s charming Coltswood too!
A pro tip to visit Harry potter world in Universal Studios Japan :
You must enjoy the architectural detailing during daylight. To feel Hogwarts, you must go there after dark.
I got to sip butterbeer. And Ashrith got to cast spells with the interactive wand he bought at the store. Just ensure you follow the pattern on the floor when you move your hands. If you imitate the pattern perfectly, better the performance of your spells.
If you have an express pass or are okay with waiting in line, you can even ride the Hogwarts Express.
5. The best of all attractions in Universal Studios Japan – Mario Nintendo World.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gamers and non-gamers alike, let me tell you about a place where magic and technology collide, mushrooms grow to enormous sizes, turtles throw fireballs, and where you can live out your wildest video game dreams-I’m talking about the one and only Nintendo World!
Is there a Mario World in Japan?
Yes! As of now, it is the world’s only Nintendo world.
Nintendo World is home to some truly immersive rides and experiences. We got to ride on Yoshi’s Adventure;
Yoshi’s adventure is the opposite of all the other rides of USJ – a gentle but charming and calm ride through a vibrant world filled with shy guys, flowers, and Yoshis.
Entering Super Mario world japan
It was like stepping into the Mushroom Kingdom itself. Everywhere I looked, there were nods and references to classic Nintendo games, from giant Piranha Plants to Power-Up Mushrooms. I half-expected to see Mario himself strolling down the street, jumping on Goombas and collecting coins along the way.
Why is Universal Studios Japan famous?
USJ is famous for its interactive experiences. Especially in the Nintendo world, You can wield a real-life Piranha Plant and chomp down on virtual coins in the Kinopio’s Cafe game. Then you can try your hand at the Power-Up Band Challenge, where you collect virtual coins and power-ups by waving your arm like a madman. It was like being inside a video.
Things to know about Super Nintendo World’s Power-Up Bands
Super Nintendo World’s Power-Up Bands are a key part of the immersive experience. Here are a few things you should know about them:
What are Power-Up Bands?
These wristbands are designed to be worn while exploring the park and interacting with various elements of the environment.
What do they do?
They allow visitors to collect virtual coins, participate in challenges, and unlock hidden surprises as they explore the world of Super Mario.
How do they work?
You can simply tap their bands on certain objects, such as question mark blocks, to trigger various effects and activities.
How much do they cost?
As of December 2022, the Power-Up Bands cost 3,800 yen. They are available for purchase at various locations throughout Super Nintendo World. But these kiosks can get crowded. So buy these while purchasing your admission and Express tickets.
Can I keep the band?
Yes, you can keep Power-Up Bands as a souvenir as we did. However, the bands are only designed to work within the park, so they cannot be used for any other purposes or activities outside of Super Nintendo World.
Overall, the Super Mario Nintendo world makes Universal Studios Japan unique. Seeing Mario characters, princess peach and going on Yoshi’s adventure is one of the highlights of our 19 days Japan trip.
Found our tips for visiting Universal Studios Japan useful? Let us know in the comment section below.
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