Universal Studios is the second oldest movie company in the US. USJ (Universal Studios Japan) is the 3rd theme park from the franchise, and it opened in Osaka in 2001. The park is the second most popular amusement park in Japan after the Tokyo Disney Resort, and for good reasons. A day in USJ is super fun for anyone who likes theme parks, and if you come to Osaka we strongly recommend including it on your itinerary! Keep reading to find out how to make the most of your visit to USJ.
Areas in Universal Studios Japan; the First 5
This is the closest area to the entrance. It replicates Hollywood Avenue from 1930 to 1940 where many movie stars passed by every day. You will find the buildings that appeared in the film “Pretty Woman”. There are many shops and restaurants in the area. The popular roller coaster “Hollywood Dream – The Ride” is also in the area.
New York Area
This area recreates the New York of the 1930s. You can feel the vibe of the fancy 5th Avenue to the folksy Delancey Street. The popular attractions are Spiderman and Terminator.
San Francisco Area
They replicated some of the famous spots of San Francisco such as Fisherman’s Warf and China Town. The area is facing the lagoon. You will find the fiery Backdraft attraction here.
This area is an interpretation of the world of the movie Jurassic Park. Subtropical trees have been planted in the area to make you feel like you could actually encounter the movie’s famous reptiles. Rides Jurassic Park – The Ride and The Flying Dinosaur are here.
Amity is the name of the village that appeared in the movie Jaws. The whole area recreates the atmosphere of the movie including the popular attraction Jaws.
Areas in USJ; the Next 5
This is the floating city in the ocean that appeared in the movie Waterworld. Buildings here look as if they were rusted by a salty breeze. You can enjoy an exciting show using water bikes.
This area opened in 2012, it used to be the Western area and Land of Oz before. Universal Wonderland is the most child-friendly area in the park. The concept of the area is that this is the living town of world famous characters such as Elmo, Snoopy and Hello Kitty. There are three parts; Snoopy Studio, Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue, and Sesame Street Fan Avenue.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
This area opened in 2014, recreating the image of the Harry Potter movie series. They realized the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Hogsmeade Village. The art directors of the actual movies supervised the building of the area, giving it a very close resemblance.
This area opened in 2017. Minions from the movie Despicable Me are the theme of the area. Toy stores and sweets factories of the movie have been recreated here, and there are games that Minions invented. You can enjoy the Minion Hachamecha (Mayhem) Ride here.
Super Nintendo World
This is the newest area which opened in March 2021. It was supposed to open in 2020, but they postponed it because of the 2020 pandemic outbreak. Super Nintendo World is a Japan-specific area, which means you can’t visit it in any other park. It is the world of the of Nintendo centering around Super Mario. You can enjoy a ride and an interactive attraction.
USJ Tips and Tricks
There are many shows in the park, but among them, you should especially not miss the Universal Spectacle Night Parade – Best of Hollywood. The show consists of floats and projection mapping. They present four popular movies; Harry Potter, Transformer, Jurassic World, and Minions. There is a special area with seats that have the best views at an additional fee. Please check the time schedule when you enter the park.
There are many types of tickets other than the normal One-Day Studio Pass. If you visit the park for two days, a 1.5-day pass and a 2-day pass make for better deals. Some tickets include several fast passes and a confirmation pass for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which often sells out early.
There are special lanes for fast pass holders to minimize the waiting time. If you visit the park by yourself, some attractions have single rider lines which are often much shorter than the regular lines.
There are official partner hotels in Universal City which is located next to USJ. These are; Hotel Kintetsu Universal City, Hotel Universal Port, Hotel Keihan Universal City, Hotel Keihan Universal Tower, The Park Front Hotel at USJ, The Singulari Hotel & Sky Spa at USJ, Hotel Universal Port Vita, and Liber Hotel at USJ. If you stay at these hotels, you can walk to the park.
Access: The nearest train station is Universal City of JR Yumesaki Line. It takes only a few minutes from the station to the entrance gate of the park. It takes 11 minutes from Osaka Station directly and about 16 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by changing at Osaka Station.
Entrance fee for the One-Day Studio Pass: 7,800 yen for adults / 5,400 yen for kids aged 4-11-years / 7,100 yen for seniors over 65 years old. There are many types of tickets with different times of entry and several fast passes. Please check in advance.
Hours: Opening time and closing time differ per season and day. As of February 2021, they are open only from 10 am to 6 pm because of COVID-19. Please check the opening time before you go.
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