When in Japan: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan Review

Confession: My dream of going to Japan is mainly because of the WWoHP. I am a die-hard Potterhead and needless to say, Day 3 is the highlight of my trip!!! So, get ready because this is going to be a long one!

I did my research and I know we had to be at the Universal Studios as early as 7am even though the gates open at 10am due to the long line. We got there at exactly 7am and true enough, a line is already building up!

Entrance to USJ

1. Just got off the Universal City station | 2. Entrance to USJ

Ticket prices, USJ globe, express pass

1. Ticket prices | 2. USJ globe | 3. Express Pass 5

Killing time by grabbing some soup and tea before the opening!

Killing time by grabbing some soup and tea before the opening!

Best advice I can give you when you visit USJ:

  1. Go really early so you can purchase the express pass tickets! The Universal Express Pass (4,500 yen) allows you to skip the line in certain popular attractions and if you don’t have that much patience like me, it is highly recommended to get one. Not getting this would mean spending half of your time waiting in lines! USJ is really crowded regardless if it’s peak or off-peak season and the average waiting time for each ride is more than 2 hours so if you ask me, the 4,500 yen is totally worth it. I’ve been told that they get sold out really fast so better come early! There are 3 types of express pass tickets — Express Pass 3, 5 and 7. If your goal is to skip the line in Harry Potter attractions, purchase either 5 or 7.
  2. Once you’re in, find the ticketing booth to get a timed-entry access to the WWoHP. Your express pass ticket already includes your timed-entry slot which is the same as your Forbidden Journey or Flight of the Hippogriff schedule (whichever comes first) stated at the back of your ticket. You may choose to honor that but if you got a much later time and JUST COULDN’T WAIT to get in sooner, then you may get a free timed-entry ticket. If you don’t have an express pass ticket, then it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to get this.

Map, tickets

You may choose NOT to follow the time slot indicated in your express pass, EXCEPT for the Forbidden Journey. You may ride the other attractions at your convenience without having to follow the schedule listed on your ticket (I asked!) — but due to the intense popularity of HP’s Forbidden Journey, it is the only ride that follows the schedule, so make sure you don’t miss it or else you would have to fall in line!

Anyway, once we got in — I couldn’t accept that we are entering the wizarding world at 2:30pm (as stated in our tickets) when it’s only 10am and that is ALL we ever want to be in USJ. So we set off to find this magical ticketing booth so we can get an earlier pass!

Time-entry booth

(Counter clockwise L-R) 1. Behind this studio information is where the ticketing booth is | 2. Ticketing area | 3. The ticketing machine that issues timed-entry passes

Once we successfully got an 11:30am slot, we immediately went to the reservation entrance and decided to just wait there.

Waiting area

1. Stone Circle similar to the one in movies | 2. Reservation entrance

Stone Circle in the “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

And then we’re in! OMG GOOSEBUMPS JUST SEEING THIS.

flying car

Harry, hold on! – Ron

Hogsmead entrance

Entrance to Hogsmeade

Since our ride to The Forbidden Journey is still at 2:30pm, we decided to go around the stores to do some shopping first! Note: Not recommended since you will have to leave everything in the locker when you ride the attractions so if you purchased a LOT, it’s a bit of a hassle since the lockers are small. I knew this but I am just so excited and couldn’t wait!!!

Honeydukes treats
Hogwarts items at Dervish and Banges

Hogwarts items at Dervish and Banges (I LOOK FAB IN MY RAVENCLAW ROBE, DON’T I??!)

Cho Chang and Hermione's Yule Ball dresses. Middle: Quibbler and the Monsters Book of Monsters.

Cho Chang and Hermione’s Yule Ball dresses. Middle: Quibbler and the Monsters Book of Monsters.

Tips when in Hogsmeade

Time flies so fast when you’re in the Wizarding World! It’s now time to enter Hogwarts and experience the best ride in the world! Now, the WWoHP only has two rides: The Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. After doing some research everyone said to just skip the Flight of the Hippogriff because it’s more for kids and a little boring. The Forbidden Journey is the MUST-ride attraction for every Potterhead and OMG I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful the experience is!

Hogwarts facade and the Black Lake

Hogwarts facade and the Black Lake

If you didn’t get the express pass ticket, you will have to fall in line for a minimum of 2 hours (again, depending on the day/season you’re there). But don’t fret! Falling in line would mean getting to explore Hogwarts because the line going to this ride is a long and fun attraction on its own!

2

Non-express pass ticket holders lined up at the Herbology classroom

However if you did get the express pass ticket, enjoy apparating inside Hogwarts and experience the ride at once! I won’t go into detail so as not to spoil it for you guys but again: BEST RIDE EVER. Once you’re in and out in less than 15mins, you may go back at the Hogwarts entrance and explore the castle w/o having to fall in line! There is a separate queue for that so you can take pictures and enjoy the castle at your own pace.

Inside the castle
hogwarts

1. The moving portraits are so realistic! | 2. Lemon drop! | 3. Caput Draconis! || 4. Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom w/ hologram Harry, Ron and Hermione

Once we’re done shopping and exploring Hogwarts, we just sat outside and watched some street shows from Hogwarts students, eat, took some more pictures, and just mainly marvel at the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Butterbeer

1. Enjoying butterbeer while in line at the Three Broomsticks | 2. Heavy meal | 3. Hot and cold butterbeer

Hogsmeade

Have you been to USJ’s WWoHP too? How was your experience? Share by hitting the comments below!

Click here to check out Day 1 and 2 of my Japan Trip!

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