I was super excited to find that Universal Studio Japan in Osaka (or USJ for short) was part of our Osaka itinerary and that we will be spending The Whole Day inside USJ. Yay!
I have been to both Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) and Universal Studios Singapore (USS) before but that’s no reason not to be exited about Universal Studios Japan. USJ has attractions that Singapore doesn’t; an important one being the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Actually, it’s probably best that you’ve already visited another Universal Studios because USJ is so huge, it’s impossible to visit all the attractions in one day. To be honest, I doubt it is doable in 2 days. So you really have to plan your visit.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a themed area in Universal Studio Japan based on the Harry Potter series. While I’m not a Harry Potter geek, I have all the books, seen all the movies and will make effort to see the play in the future. So it was very magical for me to walk into Hogsmeade. It took me back to when I read Harry Potter for the first time, quite literally.
Hogsmeade Wizard Village
Walking through the quaint village of Hogsmeade, you see familiar shops named Zonkos Joke Shop, Honey Dukes, Hog’s Head Pub selling Butter Beer!
And of course, there’s Ollivanders Wand Shop where you can get magical wands! You can actually get magical wands! There are 2 types of wands: souvenir wands (no magic) and magic wands (I know). With the Magic Wand, you get a map that shows you where magic spells can be performed.
I didn’t have time to figure out the trick behind it, but I did have time to cast a Cistem Apero spell. Ha ha ha! Would love more time to discover all the small details on this wizard village, to but we were on a mission!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
We quickly made our way to the newest attraction in town, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4k3D. What it means is, it’s the greatest theme park attraction in the world today today! I remember being blown away by the Mystique Manor in Disneyland Hong Kong because of the 4D experience, but that was sitting on a spinning chair and watching a magic show.
But with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you became one of the student wizard flying around the sky above Hogwarts. It’s a semi-roller coaster ride and you get to experience the thrill and excitement of playing Quidditch with Harry Potter and almost catching the Golden Snitch!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction is located inside this real life Hogwarts Castle. While waiting in line for the ride, you walk through the creepy corridor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll pass through the Professor Dumbledore’s office, Gryffindor common room, Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and see the moving and talking portraits hanging on the wall.
3 Broom Sticks for Lunch
Still in the Wizarding village, we ate our lunch at the Three Broomsticks Inn. This restaurant has indoor and outdoor sitting. Outdoor gives you a stunning view of Hogwarts Castle with its reflection on the lake. We ordered the Halloween special, a plateful of goodies to share with 4 of your friends. We paired our food with Butter Beer and Gilly Water.
Halloween at Universal Studio Japan
There are already so many attractions in Universal Studio Japan and yet if you visits during the Halloween season (now until end of October 2016), you’ll experience many added attractions the comprise the Horror Night. You won’t find this bonus attractions on the USJ website, but let me give you preview:
The Exorcist is one of Hollywood’s most famous horror film series. It’s story of a teenage girl possessed by an evil spirit and whose mother seek the help of a priest to help exorcist. You walked in as a group arranged in line and expect the scariest walk through maze. It was also really funny because we scream like crazy and pull each other as we go through the different section of the house.
Tatari Doll House
Only in USJ, the Tatari attraction is also a walk through maze of a make believe ghost village of porcelain dolls. You walk in as a group where you will be met with crazy characters who scream, cry, as they led you out of the maze. It’s suspenseful that may cause you to pee in your pants, but hopefully you take a time to admire the beautiful dolls on loan from a temple in Japan.
I’m not a zombie fan, but I love this added attraction in Universal Studios Japan for Halloween!
At the strike of 6 in the evening, the whole USJ floor turns into zombie apocalypse scene! Zombies just kept coming out from different corners of the streets. It’s a scary and thrilling experience! You know it’s not real but when they start to walk towards you, you can’t help but retreat screaming. They don’t touch you, so don’t worry. And don’t punch or push them. Haha.
Walk through a series of torii and the zombies are replaced with Walking Dead Japanese style. They’re kind of funny rather than scary.
Harry Potter and the Death Eater
By night time, I was quite tired running away from ghosts and zombies, but we must not miss on final act. That is to experience the horror of Hogsmeade being taken over by the Death Eaters at night fall.