All those who are very close to me would know that I am such a huge Potterhead. I never missed a year since 2011 without having my HP series movie marathon. I, of course, took the Sorting Hat test and was sorted to Ravenclaw. From then on, every Halloween Party, I would dress up as a Ravenclaw student, except when I needed to dress up as Darna one specific year. Enjoyed my student life at Pottermore failing my Potions subject and winning my duels. I almost cried when I received my hardbound HP books as a gift last year. Lastly, going to all parks of Universal Studios with HP attraction is one of my biggest dreams as a Potterhead. Last weekend was a weekend to remember, because I got to live that dream. I visited Universal Studios Japan! And of course, I wouldn’t dare miss The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Here’s how my Potterhead self lived the dream for a day!
Disclaimer: This article will probably feature more pictures than my usual articles because, I want you to see what I saw and not just imagine them. But if you don’t want to be spoiled with the attractions, you better close this page now. Enjoy, fellow Potterheads!
Welcome to USJ’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I would really want to bring you directly to the entrance gate, but look what I found just before the gate and in the pine trees! Mr. Weasley’s Flying Car! Eventually, it crashed down there after all the unfortunate events it suffered from Harry and Ron.
It still works tho. Poor car.
And yes finally! You enter the world of Harry Potter in this very gate and your first stop is, chanan! Hogsmeade, of course! I have to say the houses from the movie were really replicated, long chimneys were accurate, and even the normal winter snows of Hogsmeade are there, styled in the roofs.
I love their night street lights so I chose this photo over the day photos that other bloggers usually post. Even from the outside, it’s pretty, right?
Then, as you go in to Hogsmeade you’ll see first the Hogwarts Express train because you probably just went down from it if you just arrived at Hogsmeade, right? I was kinda sad to not see Platform 9 3/4 but nah, it’s a different location (London), anyway, so it would be awkward to see it in Hogsmeade.
Another spot you will shouldn’t miss if you are a Potterhead is the Three Broomsticks! We had our lunch there. Check out my experience below as to how my lunch went.
As you go inside Hogsmeade, you will notice that they have mixed Hogsmeade with Diagon Alley. Checkout your favorite shopping district Potterheads! The stores, the windows, the store designs, they are just perfect. The alley has many shops such as Zonko’s, Honeydukes, Dogweed and Deathcap, and Ollivanders to name a few.
That’s me walking down the alley, drinking Butterbeer like a boss, while passing Ollivanders.
At the end of your walk from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley, you will eventually stop at the entrance of our home. The one and only . . . .
The castle has limited space but it’s everything you have imagined. It is spectacular in the morning and it is even more spectacular during the evening with the illumination show USJ puts up a little pass 7 o’clock in the evening daily. You should watch it!
Don’t fret! This girl is giving you a tour of the castle of course. I won’t let you down, fellow Potterhead.
Don’t get too excited because you will enter the castle through the Dungeons! Well, not exactly, because you will probably pass by the Herbology Garden along the way, but it was not much so I didn’t take a picture. Sorry!
The Dungeon is quite a long walk but you will enjoy because tada!
You will see the Mirror of Erised. Oops, sorry blurred photo. It’s not that big but it’s exactly same style as what’s in the movie, of course. If you look closely, you would probably see your heart’s deepest desires.
As you walk further the dungeons, you will find the door of my most hated subject in my whole Hogwarts education. The Potions Classroom door. It’s probably just a door, but we will never know because it is prohibited to open it.
After the dungeons were the lockers, where all the visitors will put their things. After putting all my stuff to my locker, I then went deeper to the castle walls. First thing for you are the castle stairs and walls that are full with actual moving pictures.
Next stop would be the office of the most respected Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Deep inside my head, I of course hoped for a burning Phoenix in the room, but maybe it was too hard to install.
Then you go through the Gryffindor Common Room walking pass this lady. She really doesn’t want to let me in even though I know the password. She just talked me out of not going in. She must’ve known that I’m a Ravenclaw! laughs
But I eventually was able to go in. Duh. Gryffindor Common Room in USJ is quite small. It has all the features. The sofa, the lights, moving pictures, the windows, and even the staircases to the bedrooms.
I really wish all of the houses’ Common Rooms were also exhibited, and not just Gryffindor’s. I would really want to look at Ravenclaw’s Common Room. But it’s fine, at least there’s a Common Room exhibited.
Last stop before arriving to the great castle hall, is the exhibit of the Sorting Hat! It actually talks! And is grumpy as always.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the Great Castle Hall. That’s because from there, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride will start and it is prohibited to take photos. So, I will just talk about a little bit of the ride. I will not spoil anything because I would want you to be mesmerized they same way I did.
It’s probably a 5-minute ride and you will set out to a journey with Harry. It will start under the lights of the countless candles at the castle hall. I cannot explain how amazing the ride was. It was like really being part of the world for a couple of minutes. All the effects were surreal, the illusions were so amazing. I just can’t. You guys should witness it yourself because I cannot fully put into words how awesome the ride was for me.
Moving ahead, I will now be sharing about . . . . .
The HP Experience Highlights
I will start with the Butterbeer! For people like me who doesn’t really drink actual beer, it tasted like a real Beer with some Caramel, Butter, and Soda in it. But my German friend who accompanied me there said that it was just purely Soda. laughs
● Regular : ¥550
● Plastic Clear Mug : ¥1150
● Stainless Steel Mug : ¥5000~ (I actually forgot the exact price for this one.)
My Lunch at Three Broomsticks: There food is good, but I really have to say that they should stop using Plastic disposable containers and cutleries. Aside from the Plastic incident, everything in The Three Broomsticks was really dreamy. The ambiance, the food, the music, the tables, the interior design, everything just takes you to old Europe and inside the HP world.
They also sell Butterbeer, by the way, if you want to drink the beer while you’re eating. I think the price is a little bit higher if you buy the beer from here.
I met one cute Mandrake at Dogweed and Deathcap. Can you see that pot at the right with the huge leaves? Well, that’s the Mandrake. It even moves and cries! Well, like it always does when uprooted.
The Hogwarts Students Show, as I called it, was also amazing. They did many spells in front of everyone at the open square near Diagon Alley. It was entertaining. You can just sit down and be amazed with their spells! All our houses were represented.
My shopping at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods wasn’t really that long. First, the place was too crowded. Second, there’s really not much to see. I was planning to buy 2 things that day; (1) the Ravenclaw Scarf and the (2) the Ravenclaw Hoodie, but I only ended up buying 1 item because the Hoodie is not really that nice. I am also sad because I bought the Ravenclaw Quidditch scarf (¥5300) instead of the scarf for the School Uniform. That’s because, their school uniform scarf doesn’t have the house’s logo on it, unlike in the movies. Yes, people, they don’t. It’s not that good quality as well. Here’s a guide for shopping in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yes, you’re welcome!
Lastly, is my unforgettable experience of getting my first wand at Ollivanders. Just when I thought this surreal day wouldn’t get any better, I got chosen at Ollivanders to assist with the “getting a wand” show.
Before I dig into that, let me emphasize first that you shouldn’t miss getting inside Ollivanders even if the queue for it is quite long. It is really worth it!
So basically, the Ollivanders at USJ is not just a shop for wands. They also have a quick “Getting a wand at Ollivanders” show for visitors and they will get one person from the audience to be the witch/wizard who’ll get his or her wand. This girl was the luckiest that day! She got picked!
I will let my tweets explain what happened to you real quick because I was so intense when I typed all of those, so it probably has more feelings than me typing everything again. laughs
And I think that was pretty much everything.
Some tips . . .
- Run to the Harry Potter attraction as soon as you enter USJ!
If you’re a huge Potterhead just like me, don’t think anything else, run to HP right after entering USJ because believe me or not, everyone else will do the same. HP is the main attraction of USJ and people will be queuing up as soon as the park opens. Better ride your HP rides first before everything else, right?
- You don’t need Timed Entry
If you do #1, you don’t need to have Timed Entry tickets, otherwise, you should get Timed Entry tickets. Here’s a guide to on getting it.
- Want a 2nd ride? Return to the Hogwarts Castle around 7pm.
During my first ride, I was really in awe, I wanted to ride again. So, I went back there during the night. Just before the illumination starts, Potterheads are usually out in front of the castle to witness the illumination, so no one is lining up inside. That’s your 2nd ride, grab it!
- Don’t miss Ollivanders Show
You might get chosen to have a surreal getting-your-wand moment just like I did.
- Castle Illumination usually starts before 7:30pm.
Don’t miss it. It’s magical!
That’s my day in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan. I never expected that it would feel this surreal to finally get to experience the HP world for myself. My Potterhead heart is full. ❤
Ravenclaw – Class of 2014,