Universal Studios Japan (USJ) – Your Complete Guide
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka's Bay Area is one of Japan's top tourist attractions. Find out everything about rides and attractions, tickets and access, all right here.
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is located in Osaka, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan after the capital, Tokyo. Universal Studios Japan was opened in March, 2001, as the third incarnation of the Universal Studios brand across the globe.
Around 10 million tourists from all over the world visit the park every year, making it one of Japan’s premier attractions. At present, USJ has attractions akin to its Orlando cousin, on top of some rides and attractions unique to Japan.
A trip to Universal Studios Japan is a great day out, one not to be missed if you’re in the area. Below, find all the vital information on the park, including a full rundown of the attractions and rides on offer, ticket and access information.
For more information on Osaka, including things to do, places to stay and restaurants, check out more Compathy articles, here.
USJ Rides and Attractions
Universal Studios Japan is a vast complex which is pretty difficult to cover in a single day. Concurrantly, it is split into eight distinct sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Each themed area contains its own unique rides, shops and restaurants.
Take a look at our preview of each section:
Taking New York City as its theme, find here the Spiderman Adventure Ride and accompanying shops as well as the and Terminator 2: 3D multimedia attraction.
Find here rides, attractions and theme shops based around the Despicable Me franchise and the movie Backdraft.
Hollywood is made up of 13 different attractions: Shrek, Sesame street, Hollywood Dream, Space Fantasy, Animation Celebration, Motion Picture Magic, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Stage 22, Hollywood Premier Parade and Universal Monsters. Also taking place here is the popular Magical Starlight Parade, a nightly parade based around the theme “Monster Make-up.”
This family-friendly area includes attractions like Sesame Street Fun Zone, Snoopy Studios and Hello Kitty’s Fashion Avenue.
Ever popular movie franchise Jurassic Park gets its very own zone at USJ, inclusing rides and dedicated shops.
Inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Legendary Jaws trilogy, this area promises big frights and lots of water.
Based around the movie Waterworld, discover the earth of the future, covered in a vast ocean.
The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at USJ
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is by far the star of USJ and for many, their sole reason for visiting the park. Opened in July, 2014, four years after the Orlando version, this is nevertheless an unmissable attraction for Potter fans.
Christmas at Universal Studios Japan
Every year USJ celebrates Christmas like nowhere else in Japan, and this year is no exception. Christmas at Universal Studios Japan begins on November 13th and runs all the way up to January 6th.
Christmas live show “The Gift of Angels III: The Voice of an Angel” is one of the highlights of Christmas at USJ, a lovely show that includes performances from a British boys choir and composer and pianist Takatsugu Muramatsu.
Also, don’t miss the “Santa Toy March” with special Minion guests. The centrepiece of USJ’s Christmas celebrations, however, is the tree, which apparently hold the record as the world’s most illuminated. True or not, it’s mightily impressive.
Tips for Visiting USJ
To save time and money, follow our handy tips:
– Avoid weekends and public holidays. Weekdays are far quieter, with shorter queues and less pushing and shoving.
– Food is expensive in USJ. Bring your own or eat before you arrive.
– Think about purchasing a ‘Single Rider’ ticket. Although only applicable to five rides, they are the five most popular at the park and it could end up saving you three to six hours of waiting.
– The rides close before the shops so prioritise your time by getting your fill of the rides and then going to pick up your souvenirs.
There are a variety of different ticket options for USJ:
– 1-day pass: Adults – 7,400 yen/Children – 4,980 yen
– 2 days pass: Adults – 12,450 yen/Children – 8,420 yen
– Universal Express Pass 7: 6,900 yen – express queuing for seven rides.*
– Universal Express pass 4: 4,500 yen – express queuing for four rides.*
(* there are several variations of each of the express passes, check the official website for full details)
Most visitors to the park simply buy their tickets at the park gate, however, tickets can also be bought ahead of time. This can only be done using the Japanese language version of the USJ official website, but by using Google translate it is quite easy to navigate. Upon completing your purchase, you will be sent a QR code with which entry to the park will be granted.
Alternatively, if you’re staying at one of USJ’s partner hotels in Osaka, tickets can be arranged for you by the hotel itself. Convenience store Lawson also sells tickets on their Loppi Ticket Machines. These machines can sometimes be difficult to figure out if you can’t read Japanese, but staff will always be happy to help. Most Lawson branches will have a Loppi machine.
Located in Osaka’s Bay Area, USJ is very easy to reach from the city and airport, as well as from further afield.
The park is adjacent to Universal City Station on the JR Yumesaki Line, also sometimes called the Sakurajima Line. From Osaka Station the journey takes 15 minutes, costs 180 yen and several trains run each hour.
From Kansai Airport by train take the JR Airport Rapid to Nishikujo Station, transfer to the JR Yumesaki Line and alight at Universal City Station. The journey takes roughly an hour and costs 1,190 yen.
The park is five minutes from the station and signposted all the way.
From Kansai Airport a bus directly to the park is available, it takes roughly an hour, costs 1,550 yen and one bus runs per hour.
If you’re exploring the Bay Area, there is a ferry that connects Osaka Aquarium with USJ. The “Captain Line” ferry sails twice ever hour, takes ten minutes and costs 700 yen for a single trip of 1,300 yen for a round trip.
Hotels Near USJ
If you’re in Osaka especially for USJ, it might be a good idea to stay close by. We’ve got you covered for that too, with our dedicated article to hotels near Universal Studios Japan: