To be honest, I only wanted to go to Universal Studios Japan because of their Harry Potter attraction. Yes, I was guilty of belittling USJ. laughs But let me take it all back. Universal Studios Japan absolutely took my breath away in the sense that it genuinely made me happy for a day. I became a kid again and it was a quick taste of freedom.
Wanna know why? Scroll away!
Because I am very kind haha! I will give you our USJ itinerary to spill how we were able to visit 8 attractions that day, with 2 double rides, eat delicious foods, and many many shopping!
TIP: Before everything else, you might want to know first where to buy the cheapest USJ 1-day pass ticket. I bought mine at Klook.com. Klook also has some good packages for Osaka travels like the USJ + Osaka Amazing Pass package. You might want to check them out for a cost-effective hassle-free travel.
Alright. Let’s start!
8:30AM : The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This will of course be the top of my list, but if you are not a Harry Potter fan, do not go to this attraction first. If you are not a Potterhead and you do not plan to prioritize the HP adventures, I suggest going to this attraction at the last part of the night, before the Hogwarts Castle Illumination. With that, instead of doing the HP ride, I suggest you line up first on other most-sought-up attractions like The Flying Dinosaur or the Space Fantasy.
TIP: RUN, and I repeat, RUN to your #1 attraction after entering the Park. Why? Because everybody will do the same to avoid the long lines. The 3 rides mentioned above are the rides with the most people, so if you can’t line up to these rides straight after entering the park, you can wait around 7:00pm in the evening and try to go back to these rides before the parade. Perhaps there will be no people in the line anymore.
By doing that tip above, we were able to experience the ride in more or less 30 minutes only! And that’s me, being the huge Potterhead that I am, and check out my whole experience of living my Potterhead Dream at USJ’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
9AM : The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D
This ride is our 2nd priority, because my buddy for that day is a huge Marvel fan. I absolutely didn’t expect that The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man would become the best ride in the Park for us. Why? The ride really felt so real, the effects were great, the level of awesomeness is just unexplainable. You should experience it yourself!
As for shopping, there are a lot of Marvel merchandises right after you exit the Amazing Spiderman ride. You can get all your goodies there.
TIP: Leave your friends and use the Single Lane. This is perhaps my best tip for all the rides in the park. The queue for the Group Lane is just IMPOSSIBLE. By using the Single Lane, we were able to go in to the attraction and leave in less than 30 minutes!
9:30AM : My Friend Dinosaur Show at Jurassic Park Attraction
After Spidey, we rushed to the Jurassic Park attraction, supposedly to ride The Flying Dinosaur roller coaster ride, but unfortunately, the waiting time was already 2 hours. So, we just stayed at the attraction a couple of minutes more to look for Dinosaurs! We were disappointed at first because we thought there won’t be any, but a couple of minutes of waiting, there they were featured by the My Friend Dinosaur Show!
If I remember it well, there were 3 grown-up Dinosaurs then 1 baby Dino. They were so cute and they look realistic. They even make a sound! How cool is that?
TIP: Check out the schedules of the shows. The schedules of the shows for the day are usually printed at a paper together with the map of the Park. You can get those handouts for free at the Entrance gate of the park right after entering. Since we did not check the schedules, we ended up waiting without certainty if the show would happen. Good thing it did.
10:30AM : Play for Sesame Street!
There are many circus games around the park where you can play to win prizes. You can try them. We actually didn’t play because the fees were expensive, around ¥1000 ~ ¥3000.
TIP: Rest. Use this chill time to sit down and rest your feet. I really hated it that the park is so big your feet would actually hurt after staying for half day. laughsYou can also grab some snacks if you’re hungry, there are a lot of good things to eat. Or you can use this time to eat lunch in advance.
11AM : The Hollywood Dream Roller Coaster Ride
Before going to the Hollywood Dream ride, we got hungry so we bought some delicious Popcorns in different flavors! My favorite was the Caramel Popcorn, which smelled so good! Also, didn’t forget to take some pictures at their mini-Hollywood setup, especially exactly at the street where the Walk of Fame is.
I really just have to emphasize, this Hollywood attraction really looks so California-ish. I love it! I felt like I am actually in Hollywood.
And yes, about the Hollywood Dream ride, I was not able to get a picture during our ride. I will just describe to you how awesome it was. The ride was not as high as the Flying Dinosaur ride, but it still scared the shizz out of me. It was fun and scary at the same time. You can choose how you want to experience the ride. One is the normal Hollywood Dream Ride and the other is the Backdrop Hollywood Dream Ride. Click the links to know what those really means.
TIP: Shopping is best done in the Hollywood Dream attraction. This attraction has the most number of shopping stores in the Park. I was not able to take a lot of pictures in the stores because I was so busy checking out the items. Don’t expect for low prices. Expect for awesome fan-inspired shopping items!
And oh, I almost forgot, I just took a peek at Universal Wonderland before we went to the Hollywood Dream ride. There are no long queues here, so if you really don’t have anything else to ride, you can visit this world for the kids.
12:35PM : Be confused, entertained, and amazed at the Terminator 3D Show!
Because of eating two cups of Popcorn, we were not hungry at all and decided to go in to a weird building. We actually didn’t know anything about the show or the building, but since there is an announcement that a show will start at that moment, we just went inside without knowing what to expect. Turned out, the attraction was all dedicated to a movie called Terminator. The show was REALLY awesome, with lots of superb 3D effects and lots of on-stage action done.
1:30PM : Lunch at the Three Broomsticks
Finally after that awesome show at the Terminator 2:3D, we got hungry. Since of course, I am a huge Potterhead, I really want to have lunch at The Three Broomsticks. So, I dragged my friend back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ate at the Three Broomsticks.
Before we actually had our lunch, we were able to catch up with the Hogwarts Students Magic Exhibition! That was so lucky because we really didn’t know that there was gonna be a show that time. That’s why, you really need to check the list of shows if you want to catch all the shows.
To the Three Broomsticks now. Our lunch was for ¥2000, if I remember it well. It was a huge serving, plus the ambiance of the restaurant really made me feel like I was in the HP world. I could cry. laughs
TIP: Don’t buy your Butterbeer there. The one sold outside is cheaper. For environmentalists like me, there cutleries are all in plastic. You might want to bring your own cutleries when you go there.
2:30PM : Shopping at Zonko’s and Getting my Wand at Ollivanders
There is no other place to shop the weirdest sweets but at Zonko’s. The famous Bertie Bott’s All Flavour Beans can also only be bought there. If you want some weird stuff, you should probably visit Zonko’s!
How will I ever forget the time I got my wand just like how Harry Potter got his wand? Yes, I was able to experience my own magical moment of getting my wand at Ollivanders, exactly as how Harry got his first wand. I can cry! I detailed all of that moment at my special blog on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
TIP: Don’t miss Ollivanders Show on Getting a wand. You might get your wand the same way I got mine! Also, don’t miss shopping your Hogwarts scarf at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
3:30PM : Running away from Sharks at JAWS!
This ride was just okay for me, but really, it still scared me. And I’m really sorry for spoiling the fun for you by posting the picture below. I also want to point out that I really appreciate the mock Amity Village USJ has created. It felt cozy and at the same time scary.
TIP: Single Lane is the key. And please don’t sit at the sides of the boat or else you’ll get drenched with water.
4PM : Back to The Amazing Spiderman!
Yes, we had a double ride for the Amazing Spiderman! That’s because (1) The Space Fantasy Ride just still had a ridiculously loooong queue until this time and (2) we don’t know what else we wanted to ride. When going back to The Amazing Spiderman ride, we are still amazed at how long the queue for the Group Lane. People, the Single Lane is almost empty! No sweat and went out of the ride after 15 minutes!
TIP: You may use this time to explore other rides you might want. Perhaps you can use this time to line up for the Minions Hacha-Mecha Greeting. Why the Minions Hacha-Mecha Greeting? Find out below!
4:30PM : Rested, ate some Minion Ice Cream, and the visited the Minions World!
Minions might be cute but they’re just not in our list, sorry. But since we really don’t know what else to do during this time, we found ourselves wondering in their world.
We decided to rest first and eat some Minion Ice Cream. I literally ate some Minions!
After that, we stole some large amount of money at the World Bank of Evil! This girl looks so cool right? Mind you, we stole from your account!
Lastly, we lined up to see the Minions Hacha-Mecha Greeting. Waiting time was estimated to be 50 minutes that time. Since we had no other plans, we waited at first. Unfortunately, we felt like it is taking a lot of time and we noticed that majority of those lined up were kids. With that, I just told my friend that we look for other attractions or go shopping. So we zoomed out and left!
5:30PM : Saving Princess Fiona at Shrek’s 4-D Adventure. Then shopping at Hollywood!
I have to say that I didn’t like this show. It was intended for kids and the 4D effects were just not interesting. All I was thinking the whole 25 minutes of it was the comfort of the seats we sat on and the gratefulness of finally being able to rest my aching feet.
After the show, we walked from one store to another for shopping. Omiyages are important! There were soooo many shops that we went into but the California Confectionary was the shop to be!
TIP: If you are not interested with Minions, Shrek, and shopping, I suggest you go line up for The Space Fantasy or the Flying Dinosaur instead of doing those things we did above. Both Space Fantasy or the Flying Dinosaur usually have 2 hours waiting time. So I believe the time above would be enough for you to spend at the long queues.
7PM : 2nd Ride for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey + Hogwarts Castle Illumination
Yes, I know. I’m such a crazy Potterhead! laughs But yes, I needed this 2nd ride to fulfill my heart.
TIP: If you are not a Harry Potter fan, this is actually the perfect time to visit the ride. No long queues and most importantly, right after the ride, around 7:30pm, is the Hogwarts Castle Illumination. Perfect timing, right?
It’s okay if you don’t want a 2nd ride of the Forbidden Journey anymore but you know, witnessing the Hogwarts Castle Illumination is a must if you visit USJ. So yes, don’t miss it.
8PM : Witness some Live Action at Universal Spectacle Night Parade
This is the highlight of the day and I suggest that you don’t dare miss it. This is actually the main reason why I stronly suggest that you don’t have travels right after because the show starts at 8pm and ends at around 9:30pm.
There’s really a lot of live action, some super great acting from the USJ staffs, and many surprises at the parade. There is also a culminating stage show. Unfortunately, during our stay there, we needed to go at 8:45pm, and the parade has barely ended. It was really sad.
TIP: Don’t pay for seat reservations for the parade and stage show. It’s wasted money. Again, Don’t you reserve some seats. The stage show will be done in an open stage and can readily be seen from outside the fences because the fences are only knee length. Everything is just visible. Moreover, the place is so big. No matter if you waited or you didn’t wait there for a long time, you can still find a place to squat onto.
And that’s a wrap. That’s how you spend 1 day at Universal Studios Japan, scoring 8 rides, eating a lot of foods, and shopping countless merchandises! Planning and efficiency is key!