UPDATED! USJ – Universal Studios Japan: The Ultimate Guide (2024 Edition)

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In this regularly updated Ultimate Guide I'll show you everything you need to plan the best ever visit to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. 

I share my experience and know-how, from multiple visits, featuring information and advice on all the best and latest attractions. 

Right, there's a lot to cover - so let's get started!

Your Universal Studios Japan Adventure Starts Here!

Download this latest guide as a PDF:

Universal Studios Japan Ultimate Guide The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Universal Studios Japan The Ultimate Guide
by Rob Dyer

LATEST! GetYourGuide not selling Express Passes (Updated February 2024)

GetYourGuide was selling the Express Pass 4 and Express Pass 7, but they have been withdrawn from their site for some reason. I'll keep monitoring their site and if they start reselling the passes I'll add them back into this guide. In the meantime, I recommend using Klook (details below).

TICKETING UPDATE (February 2024)

I currently recommend buying your tickets either from Klook or GetYourGuide or the official Universal Studios Japan ticketing website.

The 3rd most-attended theme park in the world

Universal Studios Japan is one of just four Universal Studios theme parks around the globe. Opening in Osaka (Japan's third largest city) in 2001, it's more than double the size of its nearest neighbour Universal Studios Singapore.

Universal Studios Japan is currently the 3rd most attended theme park in the world - placing it ahead of many larger and longer-running parks around the world. Its high ranking is impressive. But not entirely surprising. It has some of the best theme park rides and attractions anywhere in the world, and was the first theme park in the world to have a Super Nintendo World area.

Some of the best rides and attractions anywhere in the world


It's a firm favourite among locals and foreigners visiting the country, with a staggering 14.9 million visitors in 2017. More recently, the park attracted a total of 12.35 million people in 2022, a 125% surge from 2021 and equivalent to around 85% of pre-pandemic levels.

There's a reason that many people are coming here.

You might also like: Osaka City Guide - Something For Everyone

Osaka - the ideal home to Universal Studios Japan

Osaka is the ideal home for a theme park, as it has a (justified) reputation as being a city for those who like to celebrate life. It's also a great food city, and is very welcoming to foreigners. It's within sight of a major international airport, and it's a showcase for Japan's world-famous customer service.

VIDEO: Tour of Super Nintendo World


Universal Studios Japan: the ever-evolving theme park

I'm not what you'd call a theme park nut. I've been to a few - mostly in Europe. I'm not a fan of stomach-churning rollercoasters designed to push you to your limits, but pretty much everything else I'm up for and enjoy.

But, if you do like stomach-churning rollercoasters, Universal Studios Japan has those. If you don't, there's still loads more worth visiting for.

I first visited Universal Studios Japan in 2002. Just past the 1st anniversary of its opening in March 2001. Here's my wife and I during that first visit - with Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Universal Studios Japan Rob Dyer The Real Japan

My first trip to Universal Studios Japan in 2002

That first visit was a lot of fun. I returned a few years later, bringing a couple of friends who were visiting Japan for the first time. Back then the park included the rides E.T. Adventure and Back To The Future: The Ride. Both of which I loved. Since then, the park has seen some major investment and undergone major development.

E.T. Adventure was replaced by Space Fantasy – The Ride in 2010, and Back To The Future by Despicable Me Minion Mayhem in 2017. Most famously, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2014. That was followed by Minion Park in 2017.

Most recently opened is the much-anticipated Super Nintendo World. More on that shortly!

Universal Studios Japan offers a wide range of rides and attractions. So there's something to cater to every theme park taste. (Also, if you're spending time in Osaka and plan on visiting more of its main attractions, you should consider buying one, or more, Osaka attraction pass. I have a post dedicated to them here.)

 

Universal Studios Japan offers a wide range of rides and attractions. There's something to cater to every theme park taste.

 

So, when I had the opportunity to visit the park again recently, it was with a sense of excitement at getting the chance to try out the latest rides and attractions, and to revisit a few old favourites.

Minions Park Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Christmas at Minions Park

Why pre-planning your trip to Universal Studios Japan is essential

It's no good deciding to come here in the morning, rocking up to try and get tickets or, more unlikely, an Express Pass. Sure, you could try that - but I wouldn't recommend it. (And this coming from someone whose travel ethos is to not over plan things.)

No, to get the most out of any visit to Universal Studios Japan, you should have a game plan beforehand. If you do, your visit will be unforgettable. Pretty much guaranteed.

If you don't plan what time you have, you'll come away with a sense of frustration and, even worse, missing out entirely on the rides and attractions you most wanted to try. Keep reading, and together we'll ensure that doesn't happen to you.


Latest deals on places to stay in Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Guide to tickets for Universal Studios Japan


Buying tickets

First things first: buying tickets.

There are two main ticket types. Park entry tickets are called Studio Passes, whereas Express Passes shorten the waiting time for attractions. You do not need both. The Studio Pass will get you in and give you access to all the rides and attractions.

However, as one of the most popular theme parks in the world, you will encounter long queues for some rides. What's 'long'? How about a waiting time of 2 hours or more? Spending too much time in queues can quickly impact on how many things you can experience. That's where the extra cost of Express Passes can be money very well spent.

Tickets purchased in advance allow direct entry into the park. There's no need to exchange for a Studio Pass at the ticket booths. There are 1 Day, 1.5 Day and 2 Day versions of the Studio Pass. The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of most (but not all) attractions in the park. The major exception is entry to Super Nintendo World.

Guests who have not purchased an 'Area Timed Entry Ticket: Advance Booking' or a 'Universal Express Pass with an Area Timed Entry Ticket: Advance Booking' will need to obtain an 'Area Timed Entry Ticket' on the day using the official Universal Studios Japan app.

Studio Pass ticket prices Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

How to buy tickets for Universal Studios Japan

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths at the entrance to the park, but you'll almost certainly have to queue for those. Far better to buy your tickets in advance. Then you can just walk up and go straight into the park, wasting none of your precious time.

Universal Studios Japan has a list of official partners authorised to sell tickets.

Only buy tickets through official partners. Don't be tempted to try purchasing tickets from other sources as they may be denied at the park. Of the official partners, only one (at present): Klook is authorised in all approved countries. The Real Japan partners with Klook - so you're in safe hands there.

GetYourGuide now also sell USJ tickets. I've included links to both agents throughout this article so you can quickly book whatever you need.

TRJ Tips: Re-entry is restricted. Meaning once you leave, you cannot go back in. There are a lot of ticketing options. The price of tickets is dynamic - meaning it varies depending on the date(s) you choose.

Studio Passes - 1, 1.5 and 2 Days via Klook

TICKET TYPE

ADULTS (Aged 12+)

CHILDREN (Ages 4-11)

BUY

1 DAY Studio Pass

From ¥8,400 (inc. tax)

From ¥5,400 (inc. tax)

1.5 DAY Studio Pass

From ¥13,400 (inc. tax)

From ¥8,600 (inc. tax)

2 DAY Studio Pass

¥16,600 (inc. tax)

¥10,500 (inc. tax)

Click on the Klook links to choose your dates and to compare ticket types

Studio Passes - 1, 1.5 and 2 Days via GetYourGuide

GetYourGuide sells Studio Passes slightly differently to Klook, in that they have just one order page for all 3 pass options. You get to choose the actual ticket type (1, 1.5 and 2 Days) once you've chosen the participants and date(s). 

TICKET TYPE

ADULTS (Aged 12+)

CHILDREN (Ages 4-11)

BUY

1 DAY Studio Pass

From ¥8,400 (inc. tax)

From ¥5,400 (inc. tax)

1.5 DAY Studio Pass

From ¥13,400 (inc. tax)

From ¥8,600 (inc. tax)

2 DAY Studio Pass

¥16,600 (inc. tax)

¥10,500 (inc. tax)

Click on the GetYourGuide links to choose your dates and to compare ticket types

The Universal Express Pass

The Universal Express Pass shortens your waiting time for designated popular attractions. I you don’t want to push your patience to its limits, and jump to the front of the lines, get an Express Pass. Some Express Passes also include a timed entry ticket to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Super Nintendo World to guarantee your entry on the day.

Whether or not you need to buy Express Passes depends on a few things. If you're only desperate to try a couple of rides or attractions then you probably don't need one. Just be prepared to queue. (Note: 2 hours queuing time is not unusual).

Travel & Planning eBooks & Audiobook bundle The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Also consider how long are you planning on spending in the park. If you can take advantage of a 1.5 or a 2-day Studio Pass you'll have much more time at your disposal to get around all the rides and attractions you want.

Again, you'll still have to queue, but with more than a single day, you'll be able to strategically plan your days to minimise the queuing and maximise your ride time. Express Pass pricing varies depending on the date you choose and expected crowd volumes. Only a limited number are available each day. Book early - as once they sell out there are no more available. (Don't leave it too late - see the Comments section below for stories of those that did.)


Can Express Passes be used on the same ride multiple times?

Express Passes can only be used to access the Express Pass Lane once per ride. You’ll need to line up in the regular queue to ride it again. USJ did offer a Royal Studio Pass that enabled that, but it is no longer available.

Remember, the Express Pass is an add-on only: you’ll need to buy Studio Passes for general access first.

Express Pass Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Express Passes: essential if you don’t like queuing

The most common and important question about the Express Pass is: is it worth buying? In short: Yes.

Whilst you can access all the rides in the park with a regular Studio Pass, you're likely to be doing a LOT of queuing, and almost certainly will miss out on some rides.

If you only want to be sure to try 2 or 3 rides then you'll probably be okay with just the Studio Pass. But any more than that and you'll start to struggle to fit them in a single day. Even if you do, expect to spend several hours queuing. Not much fun.

Is it worth buying the Express Pass? Yes.


With the Express Pass you're pretty much guaranteed to try the rides you want, skip the queues significantly, have plenty of time to try plenty of other rides and still be able to take a leisurely lunch break in the middle.

There are several different Express Passes available. Here's a breakdown of the different types so you can choose the best one(s) for your visit.

Universal Express Pass 4 - Standard / The Flying Dinosaur / Despicable Me Minion Mayhem - via Klook

Experience the top 4 must-see attractions at the Studios

TICKET TYPE

PRICING

BUY

Standard

From ¥6,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

The Flying Dinosaur

From ¥6,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

From ¥6,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

Click on the Klook links to choose your dates and to compare ticket types

Universal Express Pass 4 - via GetYourGuide

Experience the top 4 must-see attractions at the Studios

UPDATE - FEB 2024: GetYourGuide was selling the Express Pass 4 but it has been withdrawn from their site for some reason. I'll keep monitoring their site and if they start reselling the Express Pass 4 I'll add it back into this guide. In the meantime, I recommend using Klook above.

Universal Express Pass 7 - Standard / The Flying Dinosaur / Backdrop & Spider-Man via Klook

Fully enjoy the Park by experiencing 7 popular attractions

TICKET TYPE

PRICING

BUY

Standard

From ¥10,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

Flying Dinosaur & Jurassic Park

From ¥10,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

Backdrop & Spider-Man

From ¥10,800 (inc. tax) * Prices may differ depending on the date

Click on the Klook links to choose your dates and to compare ticket types

Universal Express Pass 7 - via GetYourGuide

Fully enjoy the Park by experiencing 7 popular attractions

UPDATE - FEB 2024: GetYourGuide was selling the Express Pass 7 but it has been withdrawn from their site for some reason. I'll keep monitoring their site and if they start reselling the Express Pass 7 I'll add it back into this guide. In the meantime, I recommend using Klook above.

Timed Entry Pass to Super Nintendo World

If you're looking for the Timed Entry Pass to Super Nintendo World, then USJ Express Pass 7 is the one to buy.

There are three versions of the pass but each include the timed entry - just pick the one that includes the other rides you're most keen to try.

On the Express Pass 7 page on the Klook website, you can click on the 'Package details' link under each of the three Express Pass 7 options to see the full list of what each includes - and you'll see each includes the Timed Entry to Super Nintendo World.

Annual passes: Universal Prime Annual Pass Grand Royal and Universal Prime Annual Pass Standard

Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The Royal Studio Pass used to be the ultimate Universal Studios Japan ticket. However, sale of the Royal Studio Pass stopped during the Covid pandemic and is no longer on sale, not even on the official Japanese USJ website.

However, two newer annual passes, Universal Prime Annual Pass Grand Royal and Universal Prime Annual Pass Standard, are now available.


Universal Prime Annual Passes Pricing

Universal Prime Annual Pass Grand Royal - Adult (12 years old and over) ¥48,800 including tax. Child (4-11 years old) ¥33,200 including tax. 

Universal Prime Annual Pass StandardAdult (12 years old and over) ¥20,000 including tax. Child (4-11 years old) ¥14,000 including tax. 

Currently, these can only be bought on the official Universal Studios Japan online ticket store on the Japanese version of the website (Google translated link), via the Lawson convenience store ticketing service (website, Loppi at Lawson store), or at a ticket sales booth at the park.

Download this latest guide as a PDF:

Universal Studios Japan - Park Areas Guide

The park is split into 10 themed areas. These are:

Let's take a look at each of these areas...

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwart's Castle, Harry Potter Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is mighty impressive

The world's favourite wizard comes to Japan!

Spend hours walking the streets of Hogsmeade. See Hogwart's Castle, the Hogwart's Express and Ollivanders wand shop. Stop for lunch and a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks tavern, and experience two of the park best rides with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is genuinely incredible


I wouldn't describe myself a Harry Potter fanatic, I have seen all the films but not read any of the books. But, even for the non Potter fan, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is genuinely inpressive. The attention to detail in the design and construction of Hogsmeade and especially the breathtaking Hogwarts really has to be seen to be believed.

This is Harry Potter fan heaven and, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you should expect to easily spend half a day here alone. More if you want to see and try everything.

Hagrid's cottage Harry Potter Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Hagrid's cottage, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There are two rides. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey takes place inside Hogwarts and lasts about 15 minutes once you've walked your way around (passing all the familiar Hogwarts sights and characters along the way).

The actual ride itself though, where you are suspended as if riding a broomstick, last around 4 minutes.

It's an assault on the senses from start to finish and terrific fun. You even get to take part in a game of Quidditch - which is an unforgettable experience. This is a must-do ride!

Flight of the Hippogriff is a more sedate rollercoaster ride. Just the kind of rollercoaster I like. It's well designed with plenty of tight twists and turns - but nothing too stomach-churning.

The kind of rollercoaster where you smile and laugh out loud rather than scream in fear. (Although you will still hear plenty of screams!) Great fun.

Minion Park

Universal Studios Japan USJ Minions Park The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Despicable Me, Minion Made and all related marks and characters are trademarks and copyrights of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved. TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

BA-NA-NA!

Yes, the most ridiculously entertaining yellow minions (from the hit Despicable Me/Minion movies) are have their own park. Be transformed into a minion on the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. Slip and slide on the Freeze Ray Sliders, and eat all manner of Minion-themed (and banana flavoured) snacks along the way. Grab a Minion curried omelet or Minion burger at Happiness Cafe.

Rides aside, Minion Park is a fun place to wander around. It's packed with photo opportunities, play areas, food stalls and the Minion Market Place where you can spend a small fortune on Minion and Despicable Me merchandise. 😉

There are also daily street performances featuring all your favourite characters.


Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is fantastic - one of the top rides


Freeze Ray Sliders is a gentle variation on the classic waltzer/teacups rides. Enjoyable if not particularly memorable. It's best suited to younger riders (not that it stopped me having a go).

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is an excellent ride. Though it might be a little frightening for very young ones simply because you are thrown around a lot and the sensation of flying and falling is very realistic.

The build up to the ride itself is great fun as you join a recruitment drive to be transformed into a minion. The pre-ride walk takes you through Gru's house and it really looks like the one in the films. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is fantastic - one of the top rides in the park. An absolute must-ride.

World's First Super Nintendo World!

Super Nintendo World Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Nintendo properties are trademarks and copyrights of Nintendo. © 2016 Nintendo. ® & © Universal Studios Amblin Entertainment ® & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

The world’s first Nintendo themed area opened in February 2021, at a cost of more than 50 billion yen.

The much-anticipated extension to the park was scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, just like the Olympics, due to the impact of COVID-19, the opening was pushed back. 

Super Nintendo World comprises expansive and multilevel environments filled with unprecedented state-of-the-art rides, an interactive area shops and restaurant, all featuring Nintendo’s most popular characters and games.

Watch the video below for a preview of what's included. Spoiler: it's awesome!

VIDEO: Super Nintendo World: What's Inside...

Developers teamed up with key big names to ensure the reality matched their dreams for the park, including Shigeru Miyamoto creator of Mario and Creative Fellow at Nintendo and Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative.

Super Nintendo World comprises expansive and multilevel environments filled with state-of-the-art rides, interactive areas, restaurants and shops selling an array of gifts and souvenirs as brightly coloured as they are bountiful.

BOOK Tickets to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan HERE.

Jurassic Park

Latest Update: Jurassic Park closed for renovations until early 2025

USJ has announced major renovations to Jurassic Park - The Ride. These began on Monday, September 4, 2023, when the ride closed and it isn't expected to reopen until early 2025.

Jurassic Park Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Entrance to Jurassic Park with the track of The Flying Dinosaur high above it

Prepare for a dinosaur-spotting jungle adventure with Jurassic Park - The Ride. Then, if you have the stomach for it, fly over Jurassic Park with your body dangling straight down on the terrifying The Flying Dinosaur ride. This area of the park has gradually expanded since it originally opened.

Jurassic Park - The Ride is a water-based attraction. Riders climb into rafts which wend their way through the Jurassic landscape of the movie, dodging an array of dinosaurs as they go. It finishes with a T-Rex attack that plunges rafts down an 85ft drop. It reminds me a little of the JAWS ride - only a bit more sophisticated and thrilling.

The Flying Dinosaur is unique to Universal Studios Japan. It's the world's longest flying rollercoaster as riders are suspended and ride face down. It features two massive inversions that soar high above the park and runs at a frankly terrifying 100km/h.

There's no way you'd get me on this 😆, but, be warned, it is hugely popular, having some of the longest queues in the park.

 

Universal Wonderland

Universal Wonderland Snoopy Universal Studios japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Meet Snoopy, Hello Kitty, the Sesame Street gang and more in this kawaii area recommended for families with young children.

A number of different rides and attractions await, including The Flying Snoopy, Snoopy's Great Race, Hello Kitty's Cupcake Dream, Elmo's Go-Go Skateboard and Moppy's Balloon Trip.

 

Hollywood

All the fun and excitement of Hollywood featuring Space Fantasy - The Ride, the rollercoasters Hollywood Dream - The Ride and its reversing counterpart Hollywood Dream - The Ride - Backdrop.

Walk down Hollywood Boulevard, see live stage shows on the streets, stop for a hamburger at Mel's Drive-In.

 

New York

Update: Spider-Man Ride closed permanently from January 2024

In May 2023 Universal Studios Japan announced the closure of several attractions, including the permanent closure from January 2024 of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Shame, it was one of my favourite rides.

USJ Spider-man ride closing

The New York area is home to two of the park's best attractions: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride 4K3D and Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time. Stroll through Gramercy Park, stop for a stone oven baked pizza or Japanese food in a variety of restaurants.

I'm a bit of a Spider-Man so always take the Spider-Man ride when I'm here. It begins with a public tour of The Daily Bugle newspaper, where Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker works. However, it quickly descends into an encounter with several of Spider-Man's famous super villain enemies. A lot of fun - so grab it while you can.

Update: Terminator 2: 3-D Closed Permanently

In May 2023 Universal Studios Japan announced the permanent closure of Terminator 2: 3-D. I'm leaving the description below for now, but will be removing this attraction from this guide in the near future.

Terminator 2: 3-D is incredible! It first opened in Universal Studios Florida in 1996 and yet it remains one of the best things at the park. The attraction is a mini-sequel to the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day and reunites director James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong and Robert Patrick.

The show is presented in two parts; a pre-show where a Cyberdyne Systems company hostess shows guests a video presentation about the company's innovations (disappointingly in Japanese only with no English translation), and the main show, where live performers interact with a 3D film.

Note: T2-3D has also closed in all other Universal Studios park locations.

Amity Village

Beware the giant, man-eating shark! JAWS is a (kinda) chilling tour through the shark-infested ocean waters from Jaws the movie. The experience can be topped off with a popular photo opportunity with the captured shark.

JAWS Amity Village Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

JAWS photo opportunity in Amity Village

WaterWorld

The WaterWorld theatre show is an epic recreation of the battle sequences from the movie, featuring some dramatic stunts.


Ways to skip those queues

We all know the worst thing about theme parks is the queues for the rides.

Of course, the park owners know this too. So, there's a bunch of passes, tickets and systems you can use to shorten wait times and increase the fun times.

Here's the 5 key solutions you should take a look at...

1.) Universal Express Pass

The Universal Express Pass shortens your waiting time for designated popular attractions. Don’t get frustrated waiting in long queues, jump to the front of the lines with an Express Pass! There is a fee charged for these. See my section on the Express Pass elsewhere in this guide.

Learn more/reserve Express Passes on Klook - you'll need to scroll to the bottom to see other pass options.

2.) Reserve and Ride (Universal Wonderland)

It is possible to reserve a specific time for rides in the Universal Wonderland area. First, go to the attraction with your Studio Pass (main park ticket). Then select the time and "Yoyakunori" ticket. When your reserved time comes, go to the attraction's special entrance for "Yoyakunori" ticket holders. There is no fee for this service.

TIP: If you reserve an attraction, other reservations will be possible only after the reservation time of the already reserved attraction.


3.) Timed-Entry Tickets (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter/Super Nintendo World)

Have someone from your group take the Studio Passes of all the members of your group to the Timed-Entry Ticket booth in Central Park. Select you desired time of entry on the ticket machine to receive your Timed-Entry Ticket (one per group).


4.) Single Rider

By riding separate from your party, you can reduce waiting times. This service is not available on certain days or at certain hours during the day. For availability and other requirements, please ask a crew member at the attraction.


5.) Child Switch

A handy system allowing you to take turns to enjoy attractions that children cannot ride. It enables guests with children/companions who do not meet an attraction’s height or other requirements to take turns and enjoy the attraction without waiting in line again. Ask a staff member at the attraction for details.

How to get to Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan USJ Despicable Me Minion Mayhem The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Despicable Me, Minion Made and all related marks and characters are trademarks and copyrights of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved. TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

Universal Studios Japan is located in Osaka city overlooking Osaka Bay. It has a dedicated train station, 'Universal-city', on the JR Yumesaki Line. The entrance to the theme park is less than 5 minutes walk from the station. The train is probably the best all-round option for getting to the park.

By Train (fast & simple - the best option)

Aside from booking a private car, this is my main transportation 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 (also known as JR Sakurajima Line) to Universal City Station. Universal Studios Japan is 5 minutes walk from the station.

Duration: 25 minutes
Cost: 360 yen
Frequency: about every 15 minutes

By Bus (direct from Kansai International or Itami airports)

A good option if you flew straight in either to Kansai International or Itami airports. While the buses do go direct, they only run hourly. Journey times differ between the airports.

From Kansai International Airport
Duration: 35–75 minutes depending on traffic
Cost: ¥1,550
Frequency: hourly

From Itami Airport
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: ¥930
Frequency: hourly

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 (a nice way to end your visit):

The ferry only departs from 9:30 am, so not the best way to get to the park to beat the queues, but is a nice way to end the day if you leave before 8pm. The Captain Line runs between Universal City Port and Kaiyukan West Pier (for Osaka Aquarium), and is free for holders of the Osaka Amazing Pass.

Duration: 10 minutes
Cost: ¥700 one way, ¥1,300 round trip
Frequency: 1–2 ferries per hour

Where to stay for Universal Studios Japan

 

Hotels near Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan offers 7 official hotels. Some of which are located just a few minutes walk from the entrance to the park.

If you're looking for a budget option that's close to the park, then take a look at the J-Hopper Hostel. It gets great reviews from guests and it especially popular with solo travellers.

If you prefer to stay in the heart of the city, I can personally recommend Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba. Read my full review of Candeo Hotels Osaka Namba HERE. Watch my video of Candeo Hotel Osaka Namba HERE.

Singulari hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Experience unique and modern luxury with a Japanese touch.

Directly connected to JR Universal City Station. The Skyspa which features an open-air bath and hot tub is located on the 14th floor and is free for all guests to view the Osaka waterfront. Part of the Candeo Hotels Group.

Park Front hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

This is the newest official Universal Studios Japan hotel, situated within a minutes’ walk from the theme park gate.

Couples particularly like the location — they rated 9.3 for a two-person trip. This property is also rated for the best value in Osaka. Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in the city.

Kintetsu hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

A 1 minute walk to Universal Studios Japan! Located right next to the park, this hotel is just a 2-minute walk from the JR Universal City Station. They offer themed rooms based on the popular Woody Woodpecker character and his friends.

Facilities at Hotel Kintetsu include a Universal Studios Japan Information Desk, where tickets can be purchased and a Universal Studios Store.

Keihan hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Hotel with a Hollywood art deco exterior. Rooms are styled with themes such as “Forest”, “Lake” and “Movie”. Corridors continue the themes through their ceilings, carpets and room door designs. It's like you're already in the theme park - making it a great family option. The hotel is just over 1 minute walk to the park entrance.

Note: the Booking.com description saying the hotel is 1.9 miles from the park is wrong.

Keihan Tower hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The largest official hotel, rising 138 meters above ground with 32 floors. The 31st-floor S-PARK Spa has a sauna, jet bath and hot-spring baths with city views. Garden Restaurant lays an all-day buffet spread with Japanese and Western dishes. All rooms come with a 37-inch flat-screen TV. Rated highly by couples.

Universal Port hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Only a 4-minute walk to the park, Hotel Universal Port offers private parking for guests. Has a Universal Studios Japan store and couples particularly like the location. Rated 9.0 for a two-person trip, but it's also suitable for families. Has a 'Superb' rating with over 4,000 reviews on Booking.com.

Universal Port Vita hotel Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

One of the top picks in Osaka on Booking.com - and a guest favourite. They have a Universal Japan ticket counter where you can buy your tickets (as well as for the Kaiyukan Aquarium). By purchasing at the hotel, you can skip the lines and save time. It also has a 24 hour Lawson convenience store. A 6 minute walk to the park entrance.

(Note: the Booking.com description saying the hotel is 1.8 miles from the park is wrong.)


If you'd prefer to stay somewhere centrally in Osaka, here's some of my current suggestions:

Latest deals on places to stay in Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Universal Studios Japan FAQ + Tips


Can I resell my ticket?
Resale of tickets is strictly prohibited. Resold tickets will NOT be accepted in the Park.


How can I find out about daily show schedules?
The park publishes a 'Today's Events' leaflet and show schedules can be picked up at Guest Services (on the left as you enter the park). You can also check the show schedule in advance on the official Universal Studios Japan website HERE.


Does the park have Tax Free Shopping?
All the shops within the park are tax-free. You'll need to fill in an exemption form after making your purchases. Forms are available from the Studio Gifts West (on the right when entering the park).

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What should I do if I get injured or feel sick?
Notify a member of the park's crew or go to the First Aid (on the right as you enter the park).


Do children need a ticket to enter? What are the age limits for a child ticket?
Yes, children from ages 4-11 require a child ticket to enter the park. Infants under the age 4 can enter the park for free.


Are senior tickets available?
Senior tickets may be bought directly at the park. To avoid long queues at ticketing, you may also opt to buy them an adult ticket on Klook.


Is there an Osaka travel pass you'd recommend?
If you're spending at least a couple of days in Osaka you might want to consider getting the Osaka Amazing Pass. It's a combined travel/attraction access pass, offering unlimited subway rides, food discounts and free entry to over 40 attractions in Osaka.


What SIM Cards/Wi-Fi/eSIM can you recommend?
If you want to share your visit with friends and family you're gonna need a SIM card (or eSIM) and/or a Wi-Fi router. If you need a mobile phone SIM card, I can recommend Mobal. They offer FREE worldwide shipping & pickup in Japan, English language support, a money back guarantee, and their profits go to charity.


If you have a more recent iPhone or Android device, Mobal also have a range of eSIMs - which you can have emailed to you within minutes of buying.


If you want to use a Wi-Fi router I recommend Ninja Wi-Fi. Rock solid reliability and excellent customer service too.


Have fun!

Well, that's it - my Ultimate Guide to Universal Studios Japan.


I hope you've found it helpful and interesting. When you go be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below. Have fun. I think you're gonna love it! 😍

Rob Dyer The Real Japan

About the Author

A writer and publisher from England, Rob has been exploring Japan’s islands since 2000. He specialises in travelling off the beaten track, whether on remote atolls or in the hidden streets of major cities. He’s the founder of TheRealJapan.com.

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Leave A Comment / Ask A Question

  • How does buying express passes at the park? Can I go extra early and buy the express passes and have my family come at a .ofe regular hour to get in?

    • Hello Duane – thanks for your question. As there is so much demand for the Express Passes these typically sell out in advance. So whilst trying to buy them at the park on the day is an option, personally I wouldn’t risk it. I recommend buying them in advance if they’re important to your experience of USJ.

  • Hi Rob,

    We are planning to visit USJ in June and will purchase the 8 hour VIP pass (approx $3,500). I understand we still need to purchase park passes in addition to the VIP access. Also I noticed on KKDAY we are required to purchase reservation tickets as well (approx $181pp) Does this mean we need to get universal studio passes and Super Nintendo or other passes as well or does one pass to universal give us access to all the different areas, eg Mario, Harry Potter, etc.

    • Hi Jeanette, yes, you’ll need to purchase Studio Passes to enter the park itself in addition to the VIP passes (why they don’t just include those in the VIP pass I don’t know!).

      The VIP Passes will give you access to Super Nintendo World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can specify the attractions you want to include when you complete the pre-booking questionnaire for the VIP Passes.

      Have fun!

  • Hello Rob, great content!
    I have a question you may be able to answer. I am planning to get 2-days pass and wondering if I could reserve Timed Entry Pass on the first day when I am in the park for my second day in the park.

    • Hello Mel – glad you’re liking the content! I’ve not done this myself – but I understand that is possible from what I’ve read online. It seems to be a strategy that others are using rather than relying on a random time being allocated when booking through one or the online platforms.

  • Hi Rob.
    Absolutely brilliant site THANK YOU.
    Regarding Universal Studios. Can you get in to Nintendo World just with a day pass? We’re planning to go on a day that’s not so busy. Or MUST you buy an Express Pass?
    THANKS

    • Thank YOU Ben! General Studio day tickets will NOT get you into Super Nintendo World. For the Timed Entry Pass to Super Nintendo World, the USJ Express Pass 7 is the one to buy. Have a great time!

  • Hi, I have a question! I bought our entry tickets along with an express pass but in the email they sent me it just has our entry tickets, I’m wondering how the express passes work? Are they connected to your ticket? And is there a way to add them to the app or do you get them when you scan your ticket to get in? Hope that makes sense I’ve never been to universal studios and I’m just confused about the ticket process/express passes!

  • Do you think that the current express pass options will change when Donkey Kong Country opens at USJ?

    • Hello Vic – thanks for your question. Yes, I do. I’m a bit surprised they aren’t already talking about them. I would expect Klook to be one of (if not) the first to get them for sale outside of official USJ channels.

  • SuperMarioFan says:

    Hi Rob,
    thanks for these useful information. I will be in Osaka mid of March and I want to visit USJ as big, rollercoaster enthusiast, theme park fan and Nintendo fan. I will go with Klook to get an entry ticket and a express pass 7. I checked on the official website and express pass are always sold out, whatever date I try, on Klook it’s mostly available for 1 months from now.
    However available dates stop right before when I plan to visit. I guess it’s not released for purchase by USJ. I checked everyday, almost, but it’s still the same for more than a week now. Any idea when they add new dates in the calendar? Is there a rule or it’s random and we need to check everyday and be fast?

    • Hi SuperMarioFan – thanks for your question.

      Tickets available for purchase can vary depending on where you purchase them, but USJ publishes what it calls its “Inventory Release Schedule” – that is when tickets goes on sale for which periods. These are always in accordance with Japan Standard Time (JST).

      Tickets for participation dates until Feb 29, 2024 went on sale on 15 December 2023 12pm (JST)

      Tickets for participation dates until Mar 14, 2024 went on sale on 22 December 2023 12pm (JST)

      Tickets for participation dates until Mar 31, 2024 go on sale on 15 January 2024 12pm (JST) – so that’s the release deadline for your visit.

      You might want to consider downloading the Klook app to keep track – but be sure you’re using the latest version for latest ticket availability.

      I’m working on a visitors guide specific to Super Nintendo World (it’s HUGE fun!) and hope to have that published before your trip – so look out for that or subscribe to get notified as soon as it is published: https://www.therealjapan.com/subscribe

      • SuperMarioFan says:

        Hi Rob,
        thanks for the answer. I set an alarm on my calendar to buy the ticket and fast pass. I’m looking forward for your guide. Also cross fingers that maybe the Donkey Kong Coaster could open by then, but I have thin hope, as it would be just before Spring. At least if not open it might reduce a bit the crowd from people waiting for it to open.

        • Yeah, the addition of Donkey Kong Country is huge. It adds a lot to the park but as far as I’m aware no confirmed open date as yet – other than ‘Spring 2024’. I hope you manage to get the tickets and passes you want.

          • SuperMarioFan says:

            Hi Rob, so tickets indeed open today as you were informed, however for some reasons the express pass are still not available to purchase after 14th March. I will wait to be sure to secure the express pass before getting a ticket as park ticket will certainly not sold out faster than express pass anyway, and I still have 4 possible days to visit (2 are on the weekend so I will try to avoid but if no other options it’s better than nothing).
            Also another tip, if we buy on the official website, it’s better to buy the express pass separately, as if you select a ticket first, then there is a bug telling you that express pass are sold out, but if you skip the ticket step, you see that there are express pass almost everyday from 1 month away from now. Which should indicate that it’s not so critical to buy as soon as the sales open, at least 6 weeks in advance should be enough, even 4 weeks in most cases.
            Also the official app, when I try for testing on other days, offer you the full list of all time entry possible for the attractions (NintendoWorld, Mario Kart, Yoshi, Harry Potter…), so you can pick Nintendo in the morning and Harry in the evening, or the opposite. Note that I also read that most of the time now Harry Potter land is open without time entry, only Nintendo has time entry. And even so, if you go directly to NintendoWorld at opening there are chances to enter directly. It looks like from Klook you should also have the option but only from the mobile app, so I might prefer to try the official website first.
            Conclusions and trip report in March!

            By the way, do you have info about Nagashima Spa Land too? I might try to do a one day trip there from Osaka, it looks like 2 and half hour by Shinkansen + metro + bus. Doable if I wake up early to leave around 6am.

          • Thanks for the update – and the excellent, detailed information. You’re fortunate to have some flexibility on the days to visit – most people don’t and that severely limits their options.

            Curious bug you seem to have found on the official website – hopefully just a temporary glitch.

            And yes, access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is generally available without timed entry, so you can enter and stroll around – it’s just when wanting to access the rides that the passes become valuable.

            Can’t help much with Nagashima Spa Land I’m afraid – never been – but I know Viator offer a day trip package from Nagoya: https://tidd.ly/3S0dHPt

            I look forward to you sharing your conclusions and trip report!

          • SuperMarioFan says:

            Last update, express pass tickets opened this morning for 15th March to 31st March (with a few minutes delay from the time announced on USJ website). However on the English USJ ticketing website it was impossible to pay with any of my credit/debit cards, including Revolut, it’s extremely confusing as at some point it asks you to select a bank in a list of 5 or 6 but I never heard of any of them, probably Japanese banks only.
            I tried then on Klook app, during checkout you have the option to select the time for the express pass entry at Nintendo Land and Harry Potter attractions, I manage to have enough time in between them in case I want to stay longer in Nintendo Land. I might also try to enter Nintendo Land once at opening without time entry, and a second time with the time entry ticket (assuming they don’t scan your ticket or anything, as you are not suppose to re-enter the area, at least you cannot enter twice with the time entry code I assume, which make sense).

            For payment, again one of my local card (local competitor to Revolut with low exchange rates and no fee) was refused somehow, but then the Revolut Virtual Mastercard passed without further issue. Then you get 3 emails, one to confirm the payment, one with the PDF of the studio pass and one with the PDF ticket of the express pass.
            Note that the studio pass is not only valid on the date I selected, it says: valid from [the date I selected] to 16th June 2024 but only at days with the same price category (mine is C, even if I saw some ticket with even higher price on other days). You have a small calendar with the price category (A, B or C), but it’s only January and February for a ticket valid from March to June, so not really helpful. This PDF is fully in color and with some information about the park entry and the need for a Nintendo Land time entry ticket.

            The express pass PDF on the other side is a black and white extremely cryptic paper only filling a quarter of the page. In the middle you have some information in very small characters and the entry time for each attraction as selected. In each corner are 4 times the same QR code, I guess it’s the one that will be scanned at the express pass entrance of each attractions. I keep the PDF on my phone and an extra paper copy just in case.

            Trip report end of March!

          • Thanks for sharing your purchase experience – helpful information and tips in there to pre-arm other ticket buyers in advance of their purchase.

            Have a great trip – and I’m looking forward to reading your trip report!

  • Hi Rob,

    How far in advance can you book the timed entry ticket? Does it have to be on the D-Day or can be a month in advance? I don’t have the express pass , only the studio pass, that’s why I’d like to book the timed entry ticket 😀 Thanks so much.

    • There is no set advance time limit that I’m aware of. My understanding is that USJ starts issuing Area Standby Entry Tickets once the predetermined number of Area Timed Entry Tickets has been issued. But, they do also say they can stop or temporarily suspend those based on crowd conditions on the day itself. So if you can get one in advance that would be better.

  • LIZAMARIE CAMPOAMOR OLEGARIO says:

    The USJ app states “No Timed Entry Tickets” for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. What does this mean? We can get it without the timed tickets anymore?

    Also, I read that we can register for the timed entry tickets (Nintendo) as early as 5 am. So I use the one that I bought from Klook to register? Or do I still replace that one with a ticket from USJ?

    • Hello Lizamaire, you do not always need timed entry tickets to get into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – only if the park is very busy. It may be that you have booked tickets on a date that isn’t expected to be too busy.

      However, timed entry is sometimes introduced when the park is busy, and it isn’t possible to enter without a Timed Entry Ticket. You can get free Timed Entry tickets from the numbered ticket booth located in Central Park in San Francisco section of USJ. But, there are only a limited number of Timed Entry Tickets per day to manage crowd numbers, so if you want to be sure to get entry it’s safer to get Timed Entry Tickets in advance as part of an Express Pass – giving you guaranteed entry to Wizarding World.

      For Super Nintendo World, if you’ve already purchased an Express Pass that includes Timed Entry to SNW or an Area Timed Entry Ticket & Studio Pass combo ticket then either of those is all you need. You do not have to get anything extra at the park itself.

      Hope that helps – and have a great visit to USJ!

  • Catherine Sharples says:

    I went to purchase expres pass tickets 2m in advance and it says sold out! I assume its still worth going with a normal access pass. We have done Universal in USA so really just wanted a Day visit and handful of rides. Thought 2m in advance would be enough. ):

    • Hi Catherine, Express Passes can (and frequently do) sell out well in advance – as you’ve discovered. (But demand for USJ lately is even higher than usual.) It sounds like it would be worth you getting the standard Studio Pass (basic park access). The way they do it in Japan is unique and you will see, smell and taste things you won’t have in the USA. If you’re relaxed about the rides and attractions I think you’ll still get a good days value out of buying Studio Passes.

      My advice would be to get to research in advance the rides you would like to try and the attractions you like to see (such as theatre and street shows and performances, where you want to eat lunch, etc.) and be at the park at least 30 minutes ahead of the official opening time (maybe up to 1 hour before if you didn’t mind the early start) as they often open it up early ahead of the official opening hours. Then head for your prime 1 or 2 rises to start your day. You’ll then have the best chance of getting the most out of your visit.

  • Hi!
    Thank you for sharing the updates!
    I have some questions here regarding the USJ tickets. I was about to purchase the 1.5 Day Studio Pass and the Express Pass through the Official Web, yet on the web calendar, both of the tickets can only pick 1 (one) date.
    First, for the 1.5 Day Studio Pass, does it mean that the date I choose will be my first (half) day and the following date will automatically be my second (full) day access?
    Secondly, for the Express Pass, it also needs me to pick a date, does it mean that I can only use the Express Pass (and all the scheduled-ride) on the day I pick? Can it be used on both days–since I want to buy the 1.5 Day Studio Pass?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Delicia, thanks for your questions.

      RE: 1.5 Day Studio Pass – yes, that’s correct. It is valid from 3:00 pm on the first day, and is valid only for 2 consecutive days.

      RE: Universal Express Passes – yes, they are only valid for the 1 date you choose, printed on the ticket. If it were me, I would buy the Express Pass to be Day 2 of your 1.5 Day Studio Pass, so you have the full day to get the most use out of it.

      If you’re aiming for any of the time-desginated attractions, just be aware of this notice (from the official USJ ticketing site): “lf you are using a time-designated Studio Pass (such as those that permit entry after 3 p.m.), or an Express Pass, and you plan to participate in a time-designated event, there are time slots in which you will not be able to participate. When you are deciding when to participate, make sure the times do not overlap.”

      They don’t make it easy, do they!! 😀

  • Hi
    in the section “Buying tickets”, you write “You do not need both.” when speaking about the Studio and Express Passes. But then in the section “Can Express Passes be used on the same ride multiple times?” you write contrary that “Remember, the Express Pass is an add-on only: you’ll need to buy Studio Passes for general access first.”
    So, what is it? 🙂
    Could we in theory buy the Studio Passes from the official site and then Express tickets as an add-on (if this is really just an add-on) from Klook?
    Thanks for clarification!
    Regards
    Philipp

    • Hello Philipp, to enter USJ you must buy Studio Passes. That’s the only thing you *must* buy. Everything else is optional. So, yes, you would buy the Studio Passes from the official site and buy Express Passes via Klook.

  • Darrell Martin says:

    How does one get vip tickets as it appears Express passes are sold out for the days we are going. My son is really wanting to see super mario world and the only other way u saw was a vip tour. Do you know how to book these or maybe a better place to book express passes as I only found one site and they where basically sold out for most tge summer. We are going on Aug 26 and 27th. Thank you for any assistance you could provide and for an awesome blog and guide

    • Hello Darrell, glad you found the guide awesome!

      The VIP tour tickets are available directly from the official USJ website here: https://www.usj.co.jp/ticket/guidetour/viptour-nintendo-kids.html. (Annoyingly, this part of the USJ site is only in Japanese, so you have to either be able to read Japanese or try accessing that page using something like Google Translate. They can also be purchased from park ticket booths, the VIP experience reception, and official USJ partner hotels.

      Note: as far as I know, the tour is only given in Japanese. Hope that helps!

  • Hey, I have an interactive wand for the Harry Potter Wizarding World that I bought circa 2017 at Universal Studios Florida and was curious whether that wand would work for interactions at Universal Studios Japan as well! Because obviously I’d prefer not to buy a new one if I don’t have to.

    • Hi Essie – interesting question! Honestly, I don’t know myself, I did a quick search online but couldn’t find anything definitive. Since the wands take up so little space, I’d suggest taking it with you to USJ and try it out. If it works then you’ve saved yourself some money. Either way, would love to know what happens!

      • Thank you very much for the response, especially since I couldn’t find anything online either (I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s curious about this??), I think you’re right in that I should just bring it and try it out! Will report back.

        • You’re welcome Essie. And please do report back and let us all know if it worked or not!

  • Hi if I buy a 2 day studio pass, and I buy an express pass 7 flying dinosaur for example, does the express pass last 2 days or do I have to buy another one for the second day

    • Hi Loganas, the Express Passes are only valid for 1 day (on the date you choose when buying), and re-entry is not allowed after you leave the venue. So you would need to buy Express Passes for both days. Hope that helps. Enjoy USJ!

  • Thank you for your blog. Our trip is for August and planned on going the 16th. When purchasing the express pass tickets through KLOOK, it clearly asks you to acknowledge and agree to no selection of ride times…if I’m purchasing for a group of 6 how do the times get assigned? And will the group be allowed to remain together?

    • Glad you like my blog Araceli. This is a problem when buying Express Passes via Klook. This question has cropped up before – you might want to look through the comments for some by Elliot. His solution was to buy the Express Passes directly from USJ because you can choose from available time allotments for timed entry areas. The payment options are more limited than Klook’s, but they do accept Apple Pay and American Express. Feel free to add a comment to let us know how you got on buying your passes.

  • Hi again, if I purchased an express pass which consists of Timed Entry Pass to Super Nintendo World already, can I still get another Timed Entry Pass if I were to arrive early too?

    Say, the entry time that comes with express pass is 5pm.
    I intend to enter earlier so am I eligible for another Timed Entry Pass at 11am for example?

  • Hi!! Thanks for this post. Would you know where is the entrance for early access/entry ticket?

    • Hi Jac, early access is via the standard main entrance, just arrive early!

      You might like to consider subscribing and receive my free bi-weekly Japan Travel Bulletin. (Last week’s contained information about some attraction closures at USJ). You can SUBSCRIBE HERE: http://www.therealjapan.com/subscribe

  • Children under 4 years old, require express pass ticket to enter Nintendo Mario land?

    • Hello Evelyn, children under 4 can enter the park itself for free, but even children under 4 who don’t have a Studio Pass will need a timed entry pass for Super Nintendo World.

      • Hii may i know how to obtain this?

        • Hello Meidy, I’m not clear on what it is you want to obtain? If it is a copy of this Ultimate Guide in PDF format then you can download that after subscribing to my Japan Travel Bulletin newsletter here: https://www.therealjapan.com/subscribe/. If it was something else, just reply here and tell me.

  • HI! Thanks for your blog! We plan to get the 2 days pass to USJ. Would you recommend going for the Express Pass 7 for Day 1 or save it for Day 2 ? THANK YOU!

    • Hi Sue – thanks for your question. I think it is best to use the Express Pass on Day 1. The aim with the pass is to ensure you get to ride/see the attractions you are most desperate to try, so I think it’s best to nail that on arrival. After you’ve covered all of those on day 1, on day 2 you can relax a little and then try out other rides that weren’t priorities. Have fun!

  • Klook shows an “early entry” ticket options. This ticket option is not available in the USJ app. Why can you not buy from USJ but you can from Klook? Is the 15 minutes really worth the $20 per person?

    • Hi Amanda, sometimes agents like Klook negotiate exclusive ticketing deals with USJ, so maybe that’s what this is. Is it worth $20? I can’t say on your behalf, an extra 15 minutes will get you closer to the front of the queue, but having an Express Pass too would be a good idea.

  • Wendy Greynolds says:

    What is the best Ryokan in the Fuji Five Lakes area that had tatami style rooms with outdoor private baths?

    • Without research I cannot say Wendy as I’ve never stayed in a ryokan in that area. Easiest way to find would be to use the Booking website and search for Yamanashi and use the filters to show Ryokan only, and those with ‘Hot Spring Bath’, then order results by customer highest reviews: https://www.booking.com?aid=1480690

  • What do you know about the VIP experience at Universal Japan? I see that they are having the One Piece summer event again this year and my son is a huge fan

    • Hi Wendy – I think the VIP Experience is only worth it if you want to guarantee you’ll get to the front of the queues for the rides and attractions in Super Nintendo World that you really must see.

      Limited run events, like the One Piece one in the summer are extremely popular with the Japanese. But as far as I know, such events are outside the VIP Experience service.

  • I cant seem to purchase the USJ annual pass online. Where can i purchase this?

  • Hello. Im abit lost on which passes to buy. We want to spend 1.5days at usj. And we want the express pass 7 to be able to get into the nintendo world timed entry. Since the studio pass is for 1.5days, can i enter the nintendo world on both days?

    • Hi Fiqah, the Express Passes are only valid for 1 day (on the date you select when buying), and re-entry is not allowed after you leave the venue.

  • Janet kallos says:

    Read from family traveler who bough tix from klook, they were given different timed entry, how can they have good memories if their experiences are not being together?

    • Hi Janet – yeah I’ve seen that – don’t know why they do that. Far from ideal.

  • Hi I was eandering if there are mire tickets avilable at the ticket booth then online, I am trying to buy an express ticket for the 23 of march but I am unable to find a page where they have the epress tickets that i want. Is there any chance that i vould get the ticket at the ticket booth on the 23rd?

    • Hello Isak – My understanding is that Express Passes are not available on the day from ticket booths or partner hotels if they have all been sold out online beforehand.

  • Hi Rob, thank you so much for this detailed article!
    My gf and I are planning to go to the park on the 15th or 16th of May 2023, I was planning to book Express pass and tickets as soon as the tickets are available on the website, but I have a couple of questions and would love to hear your opinion:
    1- Does it make sense to book 2 months ahead? If not, what’s the latest you’d recommend booking the tickets? Hopefully, the weather should be nice in May, but booking too far ahead worries me – what if I book now for the 15th of May and that one day is bad weather? Hence, it would probably make sense to wait until ~ 1 week before?
    2 – if the weather happens to be bad that one day we go to the park, is there a risk we’ll be missing out on a lot of rides?
    Thank you for any piece of info you’d be able to share.
    Joe

    • Hi Joe – glad you like the post!

      In terms of the day of the week, the consensus seems to be that Tuesdays are better (ie fewer visitors) than Mondays. If you have the choice between the 15th and 16th May I’d go for the 16th. Actually, my last visit was on a Tuesday in May last year and although there were a few schoolchildren it was pretty quiet (although the country was closed to foreign tourists at the time.)

      I always advise buying your tickets (entry and any passes) as soon as possible. Express Passes in particular can sell out in advance on individual days. I would not advise waiting until 1 week beforehand. That close, Express Passes could easily be sold out.

      I hear your concern about the weather but I wouldn’t worry about that too much – for a few reasons:

      1.) On average Osaka only gets 8 days of rain in May. You’d be very unlucky to catch one of those.
      2.) Even if you do catch some rain there are a good number of quality rides and attractions that are inside.
      3.) If there’s a ride outside you really want to try and it’s still raining, take a towel with you and just don a rain poncho and go for it! (BONUS: the rain will put some people off, so the queues might actually be shorter than if it was sunny.)
      4.) The rain could easily pass as the day goes on. That Tuesday last May (31st) I was there, it was overcast with light rain at 9am but by 12pm it was bright sunshine and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

      Lastly, get to the park as early as you can. Don’t go by the official opening times. I’d get there for 08:00 – 08:30 and start queuing. It’s not unusual for them to open gates ahead of the official opening times.

      Hope that helps!

      • That’s great info, thank you so much for all this Rob, really helps! 🙂

  • Hi! Thank you for all the information. I was wondering, if you stay in an official universal studios hotel, are you always guaranteed to be able to buy Express Passes? Because on the official website, there is a smaller circle next to the “Express Pass Available for Purchase” category compared to the “1 Day Studio Pass Available for Purchase” for example.

    • Hi Mi, glad you found all the information useful.

      If you stay in an official USJ partner hotel you are *NOT* always guaranteed to be able to buy passes. If there is a circle next to the ticket/pass type that simply means that hotel is authorised to sell those.

      However, they are still subject to general availability. So if the Express Pass sells out in advance for a particular day, it is likely the hotel will not be able to sell you it, as they are subject to the same ticketing availability.

      Hope that helps – and good luck planning your visit!

  • Hi! My young family is planning to go to USJ in the last week of April. I understand that this is during Golden weak and I have not had any luck purchasing any express passes. We really aim to be able to enter Nintendo World and my options are the ff: 1) 2-day pass, 2) 1.5 pass, or 3) 1 day pass w/ timed entry to Nintendo world. Can I kindly ask which among the three do you think would most likely increase our chances of experiencing Nintendo world? Thank you!

    • Hi SSquad and thanks for your question. USJ will be super busy during Golden Week and getting the exact tickets you want on the day you want may not be possible. You’ll need a Studio Pass ticket to get into USJ AND a timed-entry ticket to enter Super Nintendo World. If you have the flexibility to spend 2 days there, I think that will give you the most options to get into Super Nintendo World. My big recommendation is to get to the park *before* the official opening time (09:00). Universal Studios Japan often opens before the official time. I’ve heard that gates sometimes open as early as 08:00 or 08:30. But there’s no fixed time – it varies every day. Good luck!

  • Hi I already buy my tickets on Klook at the end of the booking it says this:”A separate Studio Pass is required for Park admission.”
    With the QR they send me is enough to get in the park? Thanks for your valuable information.

    • Hi Daniela, what tickets did you already buy? If they were Express Passes you will need to purchase Studio Passes as well for entry to the park.

  • Thank you for the guide!

    I would like to know how effective is the 15 minute early from “[Special Entry] + 1 Day Studio Pass”. Would I be able to ride 1 or 2 of the attractions that usually have around 2 hours of queue time?

    My goal behind that question is to determine whether it is worth it to buy the express pass if I can ride the busy attractions ahead of the herd.

    • Glad you like my guide A. I’ve never used the 15-minute Early Entry pass, but if you’re asking if that pass will enable you to ride 2 attractions *within* those 15 minutes – the answer would be that’s most unlikely. You’d be better off buying an Express Pass to shorten the wait times for the rides you’re most interested in.

  • Hi! I wanna ask if i buy the tickets online, will i get the printed tickets too if i enter the park? because i collect theme park entry tickets, so just wanna make sure, thanks for your help 🙂

    • Hi Steph, if you buy online in advance then USJ actually recommends printing out your ticket to show when you enter the park. If you buy at the park on the day you’ll get a printed ticket (about the size of a credit card). I appreciate your question though as I’m the same with gig tickets. Much prefer printed tickets to keep afterwards if possible!

  • Hi, so I want to ask if I enter with just a normal ticket can I go to both Harry porter and Nintendo or I will only be allowed to enter Harry porter world?

    • Hi XY, thanks for your question. You’ll need a day ticket (or annual pass) to get into Universal Studios Japan AND a timed-entry ticket to enter Super Nintendo World. Harry Potter World you can walk into with a regular park ticket only. Hope that helps!?

  • Maricelle Chua says:

    There are Express Pass 7 that are not available in Klook. Is Kkday also reliable?

    • Hi Maricelle – the pass you want may not be available (anywhere) as the allocation for the day you want may already be sold out. But, yes, you can absolutely try Kkday – they are also an official authorised agent for USJ.

      • Maricelle Chua says:

        Thank you for the reply.
        I would like to ask another question. We plan to go in April to USJ with the kids. But my husband and I are going to Japan next week. Do you think we can buy tickets in Lawson ( if dates are available yet) using non-Japanese issued Credit card? or Cash?

        • Yes – you can absolutely do that Maricelle. You order a voucher using the Loppi machine in the Lawson store. The machine prints out your voucher. You then pay for your voucher at the cashier – using either credit card or cash.

          This excellent video by Gaijinology shows you the exact process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BS0GLCQqDU

  • Hi Rob, thanks for all the great info! The article says that Shrek’s 4D Adventure is open, but I read somewhere else that it is now closed. Do you know what the current status of the ride is?

  • Jacqueline says:

    Hi Rob, what’s the difference between USJ Express Pass 4 Limited & Variety and say USJ Express Pass 4 Flying Dinosaur?

  • Hi thank you for this guide.
    One or two more questions. I’ve heard that now the wizarding world is free, you don’t have to purchase a express pass to enter. Also in the official site in the express pass descriptions..the wizarding world it’s not mentionated anymore..So it’s true? I don’t have any interest on the rides,so if it’s true, i will save the money of the express pass.

    • Hi Thais – it has always been possible to enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of USJ without an Express Pass. (The Express Pass is purely for gaining access to rides quicker then regular queueing.) If you’ve no interest in any of the rides but simply want to walk around that area of the theme park and check out the shops and restaurants (recommended!) then you are free to do so.

  • Has anyone had any luck finding Express Passes on Klook for end of February or the beginning of March? They all seem to be sold out!

    • Elliot, I saw a temporary notice on the USJ site saying: Express Passes are currently available through February 22, for February 23 and beyond will be available at a later date. Looks like you just need to keep checking every few days for when new passes go on sale.

  • Hi I dont understand why there’s pass A and then pass A adult and then pass b and c? What does it mean? How come pass b and c no adult? Pass A is the cheapest options is that for kids or?

  • Hi!

    Thanks for the information!

    You have explained that there are 2 express passes available. May I know which one is applicable for wizarding works please? My main sun is to check out Harry Potter!

  • Great tips! Question about buying Express Pass from Klook. Is there any guarantee that the whole family will het the same designated times, since as I understand it they are randomly generated?

      • Thanks Rob, I would assume this is the case, but in the pass details on Klook it says “Assigned entry times may vary for each Express Pass holder”.

        • Elliot, if you buy the passes, it would be interested to know if the times you are assigned are the same. Based on any information you can share I can then update the post with more info on this point. Thanks!

          • FYI, I ended buying my Express Passes from USJ because you can choose from available time allotments for timed entry areas. The payment options are more limiting, but they do accept Apple Pay and American Express.

          • Thanks for sharing that Elliot. Hope you and the family have a terrific time – I’m sure you will!

          • Just to share that I have just bought my Express passes from klook for my family of 5 …though we cant choose the timings, however, if you buy as a single purchase, all our timings match so we can go together.

          • Thanks for sharing the info Grace. Hope you and your family have a great time at Universal Studios Japan!

  • Hi Rob, just wondering if we are able to use the express pass on the same attraction for multiple times? Or limited to 1 express pass to 1 attraction? Thank you

    • Hi Jessica, Express Passes can only be used to access the Express Pass Lane once per ride. You’ll need to line up in the regular queue to ride it again. USJ did offer a Royal Studio Pass that enabled that but it is currently unavailable.

      Remember, the Express Pass is an add-on only: you’ll need to buy Studio Passes for general access first.

      Feel free to subscribe for more free content and resources, including my Japan Travel Bulletin newsletter: https://www.therealjapan.com/subscribe/

  • Hi Rob, thank you for your article! We are heading to USJ in Dec. Tried to download the USJ App on App Store but it is only in Japanese. Been searching through the app but couldn’t find any way to change the language. Is it only in Japanese?

    • Hi Chris. The app is only available in Japanese unfortunately (they really ought to have an English-language version).

      However, I have used the JapanThemeParks app (by kakiflower) to check waiting times at USJ but haven’t used for a couple of years so uninstalled it. I used on Android – not sure if it is available for iOS. However, a quick look on the Google Play store says the app hasn’t been updated since 2020 but is still available to install. Might be worth a look? Be interested to know how you go on.

  • Great article! I understand that studio pass is only required for children aged 4 and above, can I check if I need to buy express pass for children below 4?

    • Hey MT – glad you liked my guide! There is free entry to the park for children under 4 years old so, since you won’t have to buy a ticket for them, my understanding it that the same applies to the Express Pass. Obviously, most of the rides and attractions won’t be suitable (or open to) children under 4 years. Have a great time!

  • Hi Rob,
    Looking to be there in Jan 2023 with my family. I understand the studio pass, but if I wanted the express pass do I have to purchase that in addition to the studio pass? So as in both, for each member of my family?

    • Hi Talitha, yes you may want to buy the Express Pass *in addition* to the Studio Pass for quicker entry to your favourite attractions. It’s worth the extra cost, unless you (potentially) like long queues!

  • Martin Gregory says:

    Can you clarify … if you enter on the first day of a 2 day pass, you can leave and come back in the next day surely right?

    Also, the links to Ratukan go to a website that has no Universal Studios Osaka offerings…

    • Hi Martin – yes, on the the 2 Day Pass you can leave at the end of Day 1 and return on Day 2 – but they must be *consecutive* days. Once you exit the park, re-entry to the park is not allowed. The ticket is non-refundable.

      Thanks for the notice on the Rakuten links. They’re making a lot of changes to their system lately and tickets keep coming and going. I’ll remove and update links.

      I’d use the Klook links instead. They’re a big Singapore company.

  • Angela Chen says:

    Hi, thank you for this really helpful article! Could I kindly check if the Royal Studio passes are available for sale currently? Clicked on the link provided and it only redirected me to the basic Studio Passes – is that the same as Royal Studio passes, or are those just the basic tickets?

    • Hi Angela, glad you found the article helpful. Royal Studio Passes and Studio Passes are two different ticket types. It seems sale of the Royal Studio Pass was stopped during the Covid pandemic and at the moment it is no longer on sale, not even on the official Japanese USJ website.

      Two new annual passes, “Universal Prime Annual Pass Grandroyal” and “Universal Prime Annual Pass Standard”, are now available.

      Currently, these can only be bought online ticket store, Lawson ticket (website, Loppi at Lawson store) or at a ticket sales booth at the park (from November 14 2022).

      I’ve updated the article to reflect this new information – so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  • Hi! Let’s say I have studio pass and express pass. Do I still need to went early and get my
    Area timed entry ticket, at the park gate? Or does express pass serves as Area timed entry ticket?

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