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Universal Studios Japan: The Ultimate Guide to Summer Thrills!

Karina IkedoKarina Ikedo
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May 31, 2023
A group of people happily pointing at the Universal Studios Japan landmark globe.

If you’re traveling to Osaka, spending at least a day at Universal Studios Japan is necessary! The fun-packed Universal Studios Japan is home to the world’s first Super Nintendo World and iconic attractions. 

From limited-time pop-ups dedicated to beloved anime franchises like Sailor Moon to hair-raising attractions like the Jurassic Park ride. Here’s everything you need to know about Universal Studios Japan and how to get the most out of it. So read this before you go!

What is Universal Studios Japan?

Universal Studios Japan, or USJ, is a theme park in Osaka, Japan. This iconic park opened in 2001 and is one of six Universal Studios theme parks worldwide. USJ was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. It has expanded and is Japan’s most visited amusement park after Tokyo Disney Resort.

A rollercoaster at USJ on a clear day.
Universal Studios Japan has some of the best thrill rides! Image via Shutterstock

If you do like stomach-churning roller coasters, Universal Studios Japan has those. If you don’t, there’s still a lot more worth visiting. Visitors can enjoy many amusement rides, ranging from child-friendly carousels to thrilling roller coasters and simulators. They are based on popular movies such as Spiderman, Back to the Future, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park.

How do I get to Universal Studios Japan?

Universal Studios Japan is located overlooking Osaka Bay. There are many ways to get to the theme park. From train, bus, and even ferry, pick your favorite! 

By train

Our recommendation, trains in Japan are clean, fast, and efficient. From Namba Station, ride the Hanshin Namba Line to Nishikujo, then transfer to JR Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station. Universal Studios Japan is a five-minute walk from the station.

Several direct trains per hour from Osaka Station and many more connections require an easy transfer to Nishikujo Station. Take an airport rapid from Kansai Airport to Nishikujo Station and transfer to the Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station. 

A Universal Studios Japan painted train.
USJ has excellent train access! Image via Shutterstock

By bus

A good option if you fly straight in; the buses go direct but run infrequently. Universal Studios Japan is connected by bus to Kansai Airport and Itami Airport. Some overnight buses from other cities across Japan also stop at Universal Studios Japan. If you’re already staying at a hotel in Osaka, check to see if they provide a shuttle service to Universal Studios Japan, several do.

By ferry

Captain Line’s ferry service connects Universal Studios Japan with the Osaka Aquarium. The ferry only departs at 9:30 am, so there are better ways to get to USJ to beat the queues. But it is an excellent way to end the day if you leave before 8 pm.  

Where should I eat at Universal Studios Japan?

Rides are the main draw at USJ, but before we get to that, a quick note on food. Cute snacks are necessary when visiting Japan, and USJ does not disappoint. From Sailor Moon cakes to Minion burgers, there’s a diverse assortment of kawaii character desserts and savory snacks. You could go the whole day without having a meal and have a pretty stellar dining experience!

Mario’s Strawberry Shortcake and Luigi’s Grape Cheesecake are some of the must-try sweets in the Super Nintendo World! Minion Cookies at Minion Park and frozen Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are also to die for!

The Universal Wonderland area at USJ, which consists of Sesame Street characters.
Universal Wonderland is based on Sesame Street! Image via Shutterstock

What are the best areas in Universal Studios Japan?

Universal Studios Japan, the ultimate destination for theme park enthusiasts, offers a thrilling adventure through its ten beautiful themed areas. Get ready to explore the wonders that await! With so many incredible choices, Universal Studios Japan will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Universal Wonderland

Just past the entrance to Hollywood Dream The Ride, and you will find the entrance to Universal Wonderland. Meet Snoopy, Hello Kitty, the Sesame Street gang, and more in this fun area recommended for families with young children. 

Several different exciting rides and attractions await. Flying Snoopy, Snoopy’s Great Race, Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream, and Moppy’s Balloon Trip is the most popular.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The world’s favorite wizard comes to Japan! Whether you’re a Potterhead or not, this themed area is worth a check. And, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you should expect to spend half a day here alone easily. In the wizarding world, you become your favorite protagonist and work on your magic trick. 

A replica of Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World at USJ.
This is your perfect opportunity to live the Hogwarts lifestyle! Image via Shutterstock

Spend hours walking the streets of Hogsmeade. See Hogwart’s Castle, the Hogwart’s Express, and Ollivander’s wand shop. Apart from the miracle journey, the best part about this themed area is the butterbeer! So quick your thirst with a big slurp on it by the patio.

Experience two of the park’s best rides with the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. The Forbidden Journey takes place inside Hogwarts and lasts about 15 minutes once you’ve walked around.

The actual ride, though, where you are suspended as if riding a broomstick, lasts around four minutes. You even get to participate in a game of Quidditch, an unforgettable experience. This is a must-do ride! 

Flight of the Hippogriff is a more chill rollercoaster ride. It’s well-designed with plenty of tight twists and turns but nothing too stomach-churning. The kind of roller coaster where you smile and laugh out loud rather than scream in fear. Great fun!

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World’s First Super Nintendo World

The world’s first Super Nintendo World is easily USJ’s most sought-after attraction. Its theme revolves around the classic Super Mario game with question blocks and even a flagpole. It has successfully transformed us into literal game characters. Besides checking out Bowser’s Castle and Princess Peach’s Castle, embark on an epic race at Mario Kart. 

A Piranha Plant at Super Nintendo World.
Super Nintendo World has everything, Mario! Image via Shutterstock

At Koopa’s Challenge, you can collect, shoot items, and challenge your enemies with shells. With its cleverly designed interactive elements, the Super Nintendo World area is an attraction in and of itself. 

Remember that you need an Area Timed Entry Ticket as a wristband to enter Super Nintendo World! But the wristband can be synced to your smartphone via the USJ app. It can then be used to keep track of the points you score in the mini-games!

One primary way to score points is by earning keys from the three mini-games in the area. Once you’ve completed all three challenges, you can enter Browser’s castle for a showdown with the big boss. 

Jurassic Park

Prepare for a dinosaur-spotting jungle adventure with Jurassic Park, the ride, a water-based attraction. Riders climb into rafts that pass through the Jurassic landscape, dodging many dinosaurs. It finishes with a T-Rex attack that plunges rafts down an 85 feet drop. 

The gate at Jurrassic Park in Universal Studios Japan!
This place has all things dinosaurs! Image via Shutterstock

Then, fly over Jurassic Park, your body dangling down on the world’s longest-flying roller coaster. The Flying Dinosaur is unique to Universal Studios Japan. It features two massive inversions that soar high above the park and run at a terrifying 100km per hour. 

Have any additional questions about Universal Studios Japan? If you’ve visited, what do you like and dislike about USJ? Let us know in the comments below!

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