Those who desire to explore the wonderful wizarding world with Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade village, and even simple magic shows now do not need to visit the “far-way” England. A trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, Japan is enough!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka is the second theme park, after in the first in Florida, built with inspiration from the world famous writer J.K. Rowling’s novel series – Harry Potter. Located in the complex of Universal Studios Osaka, it takes about 20 minute by foot from Osaka Station to arrive at the magical land. Here, some trains are decorated with the posters of Harry and other themes of Universal Studios.
From the Universal City Station, follow the sign boards and walk about 5 minutes and you will reach the studio’s gate where the ticket booth is located. Tickets apply for the entire Universal Studios, not only for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A 1-Day Pass for an adult costs JPY7600, including tax, while the 2-day ticket’s price is JPY12,800. Surrounding the studio are some hotels for guests who want to queue up for admissions from early morning to avoid long wait times. Universal Studios also offers the Express Pass, allowing guests to shorten the wait time at some games, or set up fixed times to avoid long queues. You should notice that the Express Pass is sold separately and cannot be used as the Studio Pass. Some people are hesitant to pay the extra fee for the Express Pass, but in my opinion, the Express Pass really gets its money’s worth with it, especially if you only visit the Universal Studios Osaka once or twice. Without this “Wait free pass”, your queue time for some hotspot attractions such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey may exceed 90 minutes!
Unlike other parts at Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is situated in a separate area at the entrance of a pine forests. The theme music makes it as mysterious as the Forbidden forest which surround Hogwarts castle in the movie. Along the pathway, you will have a chance to catch sight of Ron’s Flying Car stuck in a bush in the road, flashing its lights and revving its engine as if its seeking its former owner.
Skirting the forest for about 2 minutes, you will arrive at the Hogsmeade village gate Behind this solid stone gate is the Hogwarts Express with the conductor dressed in a British-styled uniform. You can line up to take photos with the conductor, or partake in a “cooler” activity: showing your magic skills!
Not that at Universal Studios’s shops, including in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there are 2 kinds of magical wands available for purchase: Original Wands and the so-called “genuine” Magical Wand. The Magical Wand is just slightly more expensive, but it has a special inductor so that when you visit some specific attractions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and use your wand following some moves, “magic” really happens!
Back to the Hogwarts Express, next to the locomotive are some luggage chests, where you can practice casting your first spell on with the special wand. The administrator will guide you through how to use your wand to start the inductor on the chest. It will take 2 or 3 attempts; however, when you perform the moves correctly, the chest will open magically. Scattered in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are many more attractions for you to show your skills, but remember to purchase the right Magical Wand!
Leaving the Hogwarts Express behind, your next stop must be the stall selling butter beer! The park features 2-3 food stalls where you can enjoy the favorite foods and beverages of the young wizards. Butterbeer is amber with thick cream foam. It is sweet, fragrant, and non-alcohol. You can also buy the cups with the word “butterbeer” printed on them for your family as friends as a gift. Apart from butterbeer, there are many dishes that every fan of Harry Potter knows such as chocolates and candies with various flavors.
The Hogsmeade village’s shops, including Honeydukes Sweetshop, Zonko’s Joke Shop, and especially Olivander’s Wand Shop easily entice customers. At Olivander’s, wands are sophisticatedly designed, with some following the characteristics of Harry’s, Ron’s, Hermione’s, Dumbledore’s, and Voldermort’s wands as well. Here, you can join a short tour, exploring the workplace of Mr. Olivander behind a secret door. A lucky visitor will be allowed to try a magic wand like Harry Potter in the first episode. Pirate maps, monsters, flying brooms, and other bewitched items are displayed in different shops. You absolutely shouldn’t miss any shop!
The last place in the Harry Potter themed park is nowhere else but Hogwarts Castle. Situated on the highest position of the park, the antique castle reflects itself in the surrounding dark lake. To join the 4D game “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”, you must line up for 1 – 2 hours, unless you buy the Express Pass at the entrance. An alternative is to choose the Castle Walk to explore the castle’s interior by yourself – no need to wait, but exciting too!
The space inside castle is quite gloomy, but when you get acquainted with the dark, you will find out many intriguing things. Visit the office of Dumbledore, Gryffindor’s common room, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and meet popular characters such as the Fat Lady and otherspeaking portraits, and of course the triad – Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
When completing your journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can spend time partaking in other games at Universal Studios or visiting the Takoyaki Museum nearby which is home to the five most famous takoyaki cakes in Osaka. Osaka is known as the food paradise in Japan with an array of delicious dishes such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and omurice. Why don’t you both visit the wizard world and experience the culinary culture in this city?
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Osaka
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Phone: +81 570-200-606
Opening hours: Varying hours, typically at least 9:00 to 19:00. No closing days.
Tickets & admission
7,600 yen (12-64 years old)
5,100 yen (4-11 years old)
6,830 yen (65 years or older)
Passes include unlimited rides and can be bought at the park gates, JR ticket counters, partner hotels, selected convenience stores and travel agencies and through Voyagin.
Express Passes, that allow holders to skip lines for selected rides, are available for four rides (between 4,500 and 8,100 yen depending on the day) or seven rides (between 6,900 and 13,200 yen depending on the day) on the day of the visit at the entrance gate and inside the park. Express Passes may sell out on busy days.
The best time to visit Universal Studios is in spring, from late March to early April or during autumn (November) when you can also contemplate the beauty of cherry blossom or red leaves. These are also the high seasons in Osaka.
You shouldn’t visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on a weekend as you will have to wait for a while when it is full of visitors.
It takes only 40 minutes by train from Osaka to the former capital Kyoto. Therefore, you can also visit other destinations such as Arashiyama bamboo forest or Fushimi Inari Shrine with 5000 torii gates within a day.
Buy the JR Pass before arriving in Japan to save money. Use Google Maps to know which stations are convenient for you as there are many railways operated by different companies such as JR, Hankyu, and Hanshin. They can be confusing, so spend time on research to find your way in Osaka.
If you travel in a small group, you should by 3G card by Docomo company to keep in contact contact by phone. It is much cheaper than renting mobile wifi devices.