UPDATED! Universal Studios Japan (USJ): The Ultimate Guide (2023 Edition)



Rob Dyer The Real Japan

I hope you enjoy reading this post.

If you want help planning your Japan trip click here.

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 UPDATE (Jan 2023): I am currently recommending that you buy your tickets from Klook. Other companies, such as Rakuten Travel Experiences, have stopped selling tickets (for different reasons). I will continue to review and update my recommendations based on how things change over the coming months.

The 5th 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 5th 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.

Some of the best rides and attractions anywhere in the world

It has some of the best theme park 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.

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

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.


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 (Harry Potter and Minions). And to revisit a few old favourites (Spider-Man, Terminator 2).

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 best 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 correctly, you'll come away with a sense of frustration and, even worse, missing 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 all attractions in the park.

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 that 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.

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 varies depending on when you attend.

Studio Passes - 1, 1.5 and 2 Days


ADULTS (Aged 12+)

CHILDREN (Ages 4-11)


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

The Express Pass

The Universal Express Pass shortens your waiting time for designated popular attractions. Don’t push your patience to its limits, jump to the front of the lines with an Express Pass. Some Express Passes also include a timed entry ticket to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter 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).

Japan Without Japanese Audiobook eBook 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 1 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 expected crowd levels. Only a limited number are available each day. Book early as once they sell out there are no more available.

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 currently unavailable.

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 key) 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.

If you only want to be sure to try 2 or 3 rides then that will be fine 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.

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 you.

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

Experience the top 4 must-see attractions at the Studios!





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 7 - Standard / The Flying Dinosaur / Backdrop & Spider-Man

Fully enjoy the Park by experiencing 7 popular attractions!





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

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 interested in.

On the Express Pass 7 page on the Klook website, 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.

Two new 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 at the moment it is no longer on sale, not even on the official Japanese USJ website.

However, two new 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 (from November 14 2022).

Download this latest guide as a PDF:

Universal Studios Japan - Park Area 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

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). Nevertheless, even for me, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is genuinely incredible. 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, in fact. 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.


Yes, the most ridiculously entertaining yellow minions (from the hit Despicable Me/Minion movies) are Universal Studios Japan's newest attraction - in 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 snacks along the way.

Rides aside, Minion Park is a great place to wander around. It's packed with photo opportunities, play areas, food stalls and the Minion Market Place where you can spend a 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 in the park

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.

Japan Without Japanese Audiobook eBook bundle The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Watch the video below for a preview of what's included. It's awesome!

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

Developers teamed up with the key big names to ensure the reality matches 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 unprecedented 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

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 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.



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

Spider-Man The Ride Universal Studios Japan USJ The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Home to two of the park's biggest and 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.

Latest Update:

As at January 2023 the Terminator 2: 3-D attraction is temporarily closed.

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 closed in all other locations. Universal Studios Japan is the only place you can still experience this superb show. If you've not yet tried it, I urge you to do so, just in case it gets replaced here too.


San Francisco

Latest Update:

As of January 2023 the Backdraft attraction is temporarily closed.

Overlooking the park's lagoon and where you can experience the realism of Backdraft the movie with powerful explosions and approaching flames! Grab a Minion curried omelet or Minion burger at Happiness Cafe.

The Backdraft attraction is a clever way of turning a film into an 'experience'.

Guests enter a San Francisco building facade and into a sound stage where Backdraft is being filmed. During the main show visitors learn how the pyrotechnic effects were created and experience some of them first hand.

The show, and the heat generated by the huge fires created in front of you, are impressive.


Amity Village

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

JAWS photo opportunity in Amity Village

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



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

Universal Studios Japan USJ Amazing Adventures of Spiderman Spider-Man The Real Japan Rob Dyer

© 2018 MARVEL / © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

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. 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)

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 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 theme park.

By Train (fast & simple - the best option):

Our 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 airport):

A good option if you flew straight in, the buses go direct but run infrequently.

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

From Itami Airport
Duration: 45 minutes
Cost: 930 yen
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 yen one way, 1,300 yen round trip
Frequency: 1–2 ferries per hour

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 that world-famous incredible Japanese customer service.

Where to stay


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.)

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).

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 day travel/attraction access pass, offering unlimited subway rides, food discounts and free entry to over 50 attractions in Osaka.

What SIM Cards/Wi-Fi can you recommend?
If you want to share your visit with friends and family you're gonna need a SIM card 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 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!

Studio Stars Universal Studios japan The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Universal Studios Japan Location Map

Want to visit Universal Studios Japan but don't speak Japanese?

If you want to visit Universal Studios Japan and you don't speak Japanese you can learn more about my book How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese HERE.

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Download this latest guide as a PDF:

Book Your Trip: Japan Travel Essentials

Book Your Flight
Find the best flight by using Skyscanner. It's my go-to flight search engine because it has the most comprehensive global search options.

Book Your Accommodation
I frequently use Booking.com as they consistently offer the cheapest rates and most flexible cancellation options for hotels and guesthouses. Use Hostelworld if you're looking for budget-priced options.

Book Your Japan Rail Pass
The best official agent by a country mile is JRPass.com. Clear and easy to use website. Excellent customer service.

Book Your WiFi
I never travel in Japan without pocket WiFi. Get Ninja WiFi for unlimited internet everywhere, use Google Maps, supports up to 10 devices.

Ready To Book Your Trip?
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  • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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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