14 Best Universal Studios Japan Rides for Adults

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As Harry Potter and theme park fans, we couldn’t miss Universal Studios Japan on our visit to Osaka.

While wandering through the magical Harry Potter World was the highlight of our day, we also rode the scariest rollercoaster we’ve ever been on and discovered many more fun attractions.

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is well worth a day if you are in Osaka. It’s easily accessible from the city, and the large park (much bigger than Universal Singapore) has plenty to keep you busy all day.

In this post, I share the best Universal Studios Japan rides for adults and older kids as well as tips on avoiding queues, how to get there, the best place to buy tickets, and much more to make the most of your day.

I’ve also added an update with the new Super Nintendo World after our second visit to USJ.


Time-Saving Universal Japan Tips

Erin and Simon at the Universal Studios Japan globe outside the park gate

Universal Studios Japan is one of the busiest theme parks in the world with queues that are often 1-3 hours long. It’s essential to plan in advance.

To maximise the number of USJ rides you can experience in a day, here are our top tips:

  • Book your tickets in advance here with official partner Klook. You can then show the e-ticket on your phone to get in. The park does regularly sell out.
  • Pay extra for an Express Pass to skip the lines (and book this two months in advance if possible). See below for more details on the types of passes. I would not visit USJ without one (we saved 9 hours of queueing with ours!).
  • Visit on a weekday (and check it’s not a Japan national holiday).
  • Download the Universal Studios Japan app to check wait times on the day and get access to the Area Timed Entry ticket needed for Super Nintendo World.
  • Arrive at least 60 minutes before park opening (unless you have an Express Pass 7). They often open the gates up to an hour before official opening.
  • Use the single-rider line if you don’t have an Express Pass. This is more useful for some rides than others (as discussed below).
  • Stay until park closing – The last hour is the quietest time to explore Harry Potter World. Note that reentry to the park may not be allowed.
USJ ride wait times shown on the Universal Studios Japan app
The USJ app is essential to see current wait times and more.

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Top Universal Studios Japan Rides and Attractions

1) Exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogsmeade village at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is my favourite area at Universal Studios Japan.

To get there you walk down a long pathway lined with pine trees (past the car that Ron crashed!), so it feels separate from the rest of the park, like you are entering another world.

The Flying Ford Anglia that Ron Weasley crashed on the way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Ron’s crashed car on the path to Harry Potter World
Hogsmeade entrance gate at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Entering Hogsmeade

Even if you don’t go on one of the two rides here, it’s a joy to wander the snowy cobbled streets of a perfectly recreated Hogsmeade village.

Hogsmeade village shops in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

You can shop for wands at Ollivanders, jokes at Zonko’s and sweets at Honeydukes and have a pint of butterbeer in the Hog’s Head or Three Broomsticks. The warm butterbeer on a cold day was delicious (if very sweet).

Puking Pastilles display at Zonko's joke shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Simon drinking butterbeer on the terrace of the Three Broomsticks with Hogwarts Castle behind him at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Simon drinking butterbeer on the terrace of the Three Broomsticks

You can also take a photo next to the Hogwarts Express, see owls waiting to deliver mail in the owlery, and send letters with a Hogsmeade postmark in The Owl Post.

Hogwarts Express at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

Most spectacular of all is Hogwarts Castle perched on rocks overlooking the village.

Hogwarts Castle reflected in lake at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Hogwarts Castle where the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Simon and Erin with gowns and wands outside Hogwarts in Universal Studios Japan
Dressing up with gowns and wands really adds to the fun for Harry Potter fans

Harry Potter World does get very busy, but you no longer need a timed entry ticket, so you may want to visit a few times during the day.

The area is particularly lovely at sunset and after dark.

Hogsmeade village at sunset at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Harry Potter World at sunset
Erin in Gryffindor robe with wand in front of Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios Japan
We took photos outside Hogwarts Express without anyone else around just before park closing.

If you are a major Potter fan, consider a visit to Universal Florida, which has two amazing Harry Potter worlds. See our guides to the best rides at Islands of Adventure Orlando and must do rides at Universal Studios Orlando for more details.

2) Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Hogwarts Castle is home to one of the best Universal Studios Japan rides
  • Type of Ride: Thrill Ride, 3D Motion Simulator
  • Minimum Height:  122cm (48 inches)
  • Locker Required: Yes for bags (free, available in queue)
  • Single Rider Available: Yes
  • Location: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the main attraction in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and one of the best rides at Universal Japan.

It takes place inside Hogwarts Castle, and I enjoy the walk through the castle seeing Dumbledore’s office, classrooms, and talking paintings (in Japanese!) as much as the ride itself.

Erin walking through Hogwarts Castle at USJ
The Forbidden Journey queue through Hogwarts Castle is part of the whole experience

It’s a 3D ride but glasses aren’t needed as you are immersed in the world of Hogwarts, taking part in a Quidditch game, feeling the heat of a dragon’s fire on your face, and even getting spit at by giant spiders.

It’s an exhilarating experience with fantastic effects. It did trigger my motion sickness, but it was worth the nausea and I recovered quickly.

If this is an issue for you, consider taking motion sickness medication like dramamine, as I did recently at Universal Studios Florida (which has many of the same rides as USJ).

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a popular USJ ride, so it’s best ridden with an Express Pass. We did this on our last visit and still got to walk through Hogwarts but without the long waits.

Alternatively, ride it first thing (if you have secured Timed Entry for Super Nintendo World), or wait until the end of the day.

The other ride in Harry Potter World is Flight of the Hippogriff, a gentle outdoor rollercoaster for kids. Simon found it fun but very short and not worth the usual long waits (it was included in our Express Pass).

3) Wand Magic

Erin dressed in Harry Potter robe and wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

The other thing we love doing in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Wand Magic where we cast our own spells!

This might not be for everyone as you first have to buy a magical wand from one of the stores, but for big Harry Potter fans, it’s worth it, and you end up with a beautifully created souvenir.

There are multiple points around the village where you can perform spells—you get a map with your wand and can also look for the bronze medallions on the floor that show the spell.

Erin doing wand magic at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

We used the Incendio spell to light a chimney (after many failed attempts!) and another to make it snow down a back alley. It’s a lot of fun and really added to the experience.

Simon making it snow in Universal Studios Japan
Simon making it snow outside Honeydukes

Of course, the most authentic place to purchase your wand is Ollivanders, but there’s usually a 10–15 minute wait to get in.

You can also buy the magic wands at other stores in the area. Or we had no wait from the wand cart on the main street. Make sure you get the special magic wand and not the regular wands which you can’t use for spells.

An interactive wand cost 5500 yen ($36) on our visit. To go the whole hog, you could also buy a Hogwarts gown for 16,000 yen ($104).

We bought our gowns from the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Tokyo, which gave us double the photo opportunities and was a bit cheaper at 13,000 yen.

There are often long lines to cast the spells, so I recommend returning to the area in the last hour of park opening, when it’s much quieter.

Simon doing wand magic with the incendio spell at Universal Studios Japan Harry Potter World
Simon setting a chimney on fire (with no crowds at the end of the day).

4) The Flying Dinosaur

The Flying Dinosaur intense rollercoaster in the Jurassic Park area of Universal Studios Japan
The Flying Dinosaur is terrifying but one of the best rides at Universal Studios Japan
  • Type of Ride: Thrill Ride, Rollercoaster with Inversions
  • Minimum Height:  132cm (52 inches)
  • Locker Required: Yes for bags and phones (free, available in queue)
  • Single Rider Available: Yes (but doesn’t save much)
  • Location: Jurassic Park

Oh my—The Flying Dinosaur is intense! It’s the scariest rollercoaster we’ve ever been on, and it is brilliant fun!

It’s located in Jurassic Park and the idea is that an out-of-control Pteranodon seizes you from behind and pulls you high into the sky.

This means that once you’ve sat down, your seat is turned 90 degrees towards the floor so that you are facing straight down. There is nothing between your face and the ground far below!

The ride is so fast and disorientating that I don’t remember exactly what happened, but it involved multiple 360º inversions, many twists and turns, and an underground section.

This wild and unique coaster should not to be missed by thrill-seekers—it’s one of the best Universal Studios Japan attractions.

As The Flying Dinosaur wasn’t included in our Express Pass (include it if you can), Simon rode this by himself on our latest visit. The single rider line here doesn’t save you much time, though. He ended up waiting 60 minutes when the standby queue was 70 minutes.

Note that you can’t take any loose items on the ride, but you are allowed to keep your phone until the last 20 minutes of the queue when you put everything in lockers.

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5) Play in Super Nintendo World

Super Nintendo World at night in Universal Studios Japan
The colourful Super Nintendo World at night

Super Nintendo World is a new themed land that opened at Universal Studios Japan in March 2021. Accessed via a giant warp pipe, you are transported to a Super Mario game.

It’s now the most popular area in the park and almost always requires a timed entry ticket. You can get one for free on the USJ app (arrive before park opening and do this as soon as you enter the gates—they run out fast).

Or for guaranteed entry, I recommend you purchase an Express Pass, as we did (you’ll be given a time to enter the area). It’s one of the top Japan attractions, so don’t miss out!

Alongside Harry Potter World, this is the best themed area in USJ. It’s such a fun and colourful world that impresses as soon as you enter.

Our timed entry was a night, which we were initially disappointed about (and we did miss out on eating in the cafe), but the vibrant land looks fantastic against the black night sky—you forget you are outside.

You can purchase a Super Nintendo World wristband to access various mini games in the area. Sync it with the USJ app to keep track of your score.

Queues are fairly long for these games, so allow plenty of time to experience them all (3-4 hours including rides with Express Pass). We skipped the wristbands but still took advantage of a few photo ops.

Simon playing one of the games in Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Osaka
Simon aka “Mario Potter” playing one of the games in Super Nintendo World

The best ride in Super Nintendo World is Mario Kart (see below), but if queues are short, or it’s included in your Express Pass (as it was for us), you’ll also want to ride Yoshi’s Adventure.

This is a gentle, family-friendly ride where you go on a treasure hunt to collect mysterious eggs. It’s not terribly exciting, but it is cute, and the elevated partially outside track has a good view over the area.

Yoshi's Adventure ride in Super Nintendo World at Universal Japan
Yoshi’s Adventure

6) Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge

Mario Kart: Koopa's Challenge, one of the best rides in Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan
One of the best rides at USJ, Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge, is housed in the impressive Bowser’s Castle
  • Type of Ride: Augmented Reality Dark Ride
  • Minimum Height:  107cm (42 inches)
  • Locker Required: No
  • Single Rider Available: Yes
  • Location: Super Nintendo World

The signature ride in Super Nintendo World is Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. (Bowser is known as Koopa in Japan).

It’s a dream come true for Mario geeks like Simon as the iconic Mario Kart courses are brought to life.

The interactive, augmented reality ride is housed inside Bowser’s Castle and the queue through here is part of the fun with lots of details to explore. This was our longest wait with an Express Pass (25 minutes with a standby estimate of 80 minutes), but we didn’t mind.

Note that I’ve heard the single rider line misses the best details, so maybe keep that for a repeat ride.

At the end of the queue, you put on a Mario visor, which plugs into a special lens when you get into your kart in order to see the AR imagery.

Simon wearing headset for Mario Kart ride at Universal Studios Japan
Simon wearing the AR headset required for the Mario Kart ride.

The ride involves speeding around the race tracks, throwing shells at the villains to earn coins. It’s quite chaotic with lots of details to take in, but it’s really fun and Mario fans will love it.

This is best ridden with an Express Pass, which you’ll also likely need to enter the area. Otherwise, head here first thing.

7) Mine Cart Madness (Coming Soon)

Donkey Kong Country is a new area due to open in 2024 inside Super Nintendo World.

It will include USJ’s newest ride, Mine Cart Madness, an unpredictable rollercoaster that launches from the Golden Temple, races through the jungle, and leaps across collapsed tracks.

I’ve included it in this Universal Japan ride list as I know it will be one of the most popular rides once it opens.

8) Hollywood Dream – The Ride

Hollywood Dream - The Ride passes through the streets of Hollywood at Universal Studios Japan
The Hollywood Dream rollercoaster passes through the streets of Hollywood
  • Type of Ride: Thrill Ride, Rollercoaster
  • Minimum Height:  132cm (52 inches)
  • Locker Required: Bags and loose items (including phones) aren’t allowed but everyone leaves them on the platform before the ride.
  • Single Rider Available: Yes (but doesn’t save much)
  • Location: Hollywood

If you prefer your rollercoasters slightly less terrifying than The Flying Dinosaur, then Hollywood Dream is for you.

This smooth, non-inverting, high-speed coaster has some stomach dropping ramps and vertical drops.

I love that you can choose a song as your personal soundtrack. It’s a very fun ride.

Hollywood Dream is one of the most popular rides at USJ with wait times over two hours throughout the day on our last visit. You definitely want Express for this one—with our pass we waited 15 minutes when the standby queue was 130 minutes.

9) Hollywood Dream – The Ride (Backdrop)

You can also ride the same coaster backwards on Hollywood Dream – The Ride (Backdrop). It has the same entrance and track as Hollywood Dream, but you ride in different cars that go in reverse.

As one of the busiest USJ rides, it’s best ridden with an Express Pass (ours included both coasters).

If you have to choose just one, I preferred the regular version. I found going backwards a bit disorientating but less scary than facing the front as you can’t see what’s coming.

10) Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem in Minion Park, one of the best Universal Studios Japan rides
  • Type of Ride: 3D Motion Simulator
  • Minimum Height: 102cm (40 inches)
  • Locker Required:  No
  • Single Rider Available: Yes
  • Location: Minion Park

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is located in the fun, colourful Minion Park and is an immersive 3D simulator ride without glasses using a giant dome screen.

Minions climbing the graffiti wall of Hotel Banana at Minion Park in Universal Studios Japan in Osaka

The whole experience is about 25 minutes as there’s a long intro video (with English subtitles) that adds to the context.

The ride itself is narrative heavy, and although we couldn’t follow the Japanese, we got the general idea, and it’s still a fun experience as you bounce around a giant factory on your way to becoming a Minion.

Unfortunately, this is another ride that’s not great for those with motion sickness (I chose to skip it on our second visit).

If it’s not included with your Express Pass (it’s not a priority for us), wait until the end of the day when the queues drop off at this family-friendly attraction.

11) Jurassic Park – The Ride

Update 2024: Jurassic Park is closed until 2025 for a major refurbishment.

Jurassic Park is a mostly gentle water ride through a park filled with dinosaurs. There’s a huge and fun drop at the end where you may get wet (especially in the front row).

We bought ponchos (400 yen) just in case as we didn’t want to risk getting wet on a cold day. There are also lockers available (100 yen which gets returned to you).

In winter this was one of the easiest rides to get on, but I imagine it’s busier in the summer.

12) JAWS

The boat outside the Jaws ride at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
  • Type of Ride: Boat Ride
  • Minimum Height: None when accompanied by an adult.
  • Locker Required:  No
  • Single Rider Available: Yes
  • Location: Amity Village

JAWS is a classic Universal attraction, and as the version at Universal Studios Florida has closed, this is the only place in the world to ride it now.

What starts as a leisurely boat tour (in Japanese) of Amity Harbour becomes more thrilling when a gigantic man-eating shark appears. It’s a scary one!

JAWS is a good attraction to use the single rider queue as Japanese families prefer to ride this together. Simon only waited two minutes when the standby queue was 40 minutes.

Wait times also drop in the evening, so this is one of the only rides on this list where an Express Pass isn’t necessary.

13) Waterworld Show

Waterworld show with explosion at Universal Studios Japan

If you have time in your itinerary, perhaps in the afternoon when wait times are longest, consider watching the Waterworld show. Check the app for show times and arrive at least 15 minutes early.

This dramatic, water-based stunt show takes place in an outdoor amphitheatre and features jet ski chases, explosions, fights, and impressive jumps. If you sit in the front rows, expect to get very wet!

While the show is in Japanese, you can still enjoy the special effects.

I did find the show (as with the whole park) very loud, so appreciated my AirPods.

14) Space Fantasy (Seasonal Overlays)

Space Fantasy is an indoor rollercoaster in the dark. It used to have a space theme but the original ride is closed indefinitely.

Now it only opens with overlays for special events such as with VR for Cool Japan and when it turns into Sadako’s Curse at Halloween.

These have mixed reviews but are worth checking out if wait times are low.

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Universal Studios Osaka Tickets

Universal Studios Japan is a very busy park throughout the year, so we highly recommend booking your tickets in advance. They do sell out.

A one day ticket costs from 8,600 yen ($56) with higher prices at peak times. You may also want to pay extra for an Express Pass (see below).

Buy Universal Studios Japan tickets here with Klook, an authorised partner of USJ and the easiest way for English speakers to buy. International cards don’t work on the official USJ website.

We used Klook for our tickets on our last trip and it was really easy. We received a PDF ticket with a QR code that we saved on our phone and scanned at the ticket gates for entry. Once in the park, scan the ticket into the USJ app to have access to timed entry requests.

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Is a Universal Studios Japan Express Pass Worth It?

Even when we visited in winter, Universal Studios Japan was the busiest theme park we’ve visited (yes, even busier than Disney).

The park features many major attractions that you won’t want to miss, but they all have very long queue times from as soon as the park opens.

You could get on a few rides quickly at the start of the day if you arrive early, but you won’t be able to do everything without waits of at least an hour and usually much longer.

The only way to guarantee to get on everything without long waits is buying an Express Pass, which costs more than the entrance ticket.

You’ll be assigned a specific time to ride each attraction and will only have a minimal wait. We usually waited 5-15 minutes (the exception was Mario Kart at 25 minutes).

Our 7-ride Express Pass saved us an incredible 565 minutes (over 9 hours) of waiting in lines!

Yes, it is expensive, but I absolutely think an Express Pass is worth it to avoid frustration and make your park day more enjoyable.

Another major bonus of the Express Pass is that most include guaranteed timed entry to Super Nintendo World.

Express Passes sell out even more quickly than tickets, so I advise booking two months in advance for the most choice and best ride times.

We booked a month in advance for our November visit and all the 4-ride passes were already sold out.

Express Pass sign in Universal Studios Japan showing the different pass options still available within the park on a visit in February
Some Express Passes were still available to buy within the park when we visited in February, but in high season they are likely to be sold out.

Again, Klook is the easiest way to buy passes, as the USJ site is in Japanese only (I tried using Translate but it was too complicated a process).

The downside is that we couldn’t choose the ride times (although apparently you can with the latest Klook app). We ended up with ride times ranging from 2pm to 8pm.

Initially I was disappointed not to have morning ride times, but it ended up being a blessing as we could skip the rope drop rush, have a lie-in, and stay until 10pm park closing.

It’s rather confusing as there are many different passes depending on which rides you can use them on and prices vary by date. They do change frequently.

USJ Express Pass 7

Currently, the best pass available is the Express Pass 7- Variety.

It costs at least 18,000 yen ($117) and includes:

  1. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
  2. Yoshi’s Adventure
  3. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  4. Flight of the Hippogriff
  5. The Flying Dinosaur
  6. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  7. Hollywood Dream or JAWS ( I would choose Hollywood Dream)

The only major ride missing is Hollywood Dream Backdrop, but it’s not a big deal to skip this if you are riding Hollywood Dream. Ride JAWS single rider or at the end of the day.

This is similar to the pass we had that saved us over 9 hours of queuing!

Buy the Express Pass 7 here.

USJ Express Pass 4

A cheaper Express Pass includes just four rides. Again there are a variety of options and it’s harder to choose the best one. You have to decide which rides are most important to you.

I would go for the Express Pass 4 – Variety Ride as it includes my three favourite rides. It costs from 15,000 yen ($97) and is valid on:

  1. Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge
  2. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  3. The Flying Dinosaur OR Hollywood Dream OR JAWS (I’d choose Flying Dinosaur)
  4. Demon Slayer XR (a temporary overlay of Space Fantasy)

If you like rollercoasters, I’d recommend upgrading to Express Pass 7 so you can ride both Flying Dinosaur and Hollywood Dream.

Buy the Express Pass 4 here.

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Average USJ Queue Times

If you’re not sure whether an Express Pass is worth it or not, here are the average queue times at Universal Japan throughout the year (expect higher in peak periods).

  • Hollywood Dream Backdrop – 103 minutes
  • Mario Kart – 96 minutes
  • Hollywood Dream – 86 minutes
  • Flight of the Hippogriff – 81 minutes
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – 73 minutes
  • The Flying Dinosaur – 71 minutes
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem – 67 minutes
  • Yoshi’s Adventure – 63 minutes
  • JAWS – 47 minutes
  • Jurassic Park – 47 minutes
View of Hollywood Dream ride from the lake at Universal Japan
View of the Hollywood Dream ride from the lake

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Universal Studios Japan Opening Hours

Universal Studios Osaka usually opens between 8am and 10am and closes between 7pm and 10pm.

See the USJ calendar to check the hours (and ride closures) for the date you are visiting. Times are only released a few months in advance.

Unless you have Express Pass 7, you should arrive at least an hour before the official opening to get into the park as quickly as possible. They often open early.

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How to Get to Universal Studios Osaka

It’s easy to get to Universal Studios Japan by train from central Osaka and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Universal City Station is only a 5-minute walk from the park.

To get here, you’ll likely need to change at Nishikujo station and transfer to the JR Yumesaki Line (also known as JR Sakurajima Line).

For example, from Namba Station take the Hanshin Namba Line to Nishikujo then change there for Universal City Station.

You can use your ICOCA or SUICA card which is the easiest way to pay for transport in Osaka.

You can use Google Maps or Navitime to find the route from your nearest station. 

Simon and Erin in front of Hogwarts Castle at Harry Potter World in Universal Japan
Us at Hogwarts Castle

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Hotels Near Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan is easily reachable from central Osaka, but if your trip is focused on the park it would be convenient to stay in one of these hotels just a few minutes walk away:

  • The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan – The newest official hotel and the closest one to the park gates (right in front!). It has large rooms (unusual for Japan) and lots of amenities.
  • Hotel Universal Port Vita – Colourful rooms, only a 5-minute walk to the park, and fun Minion decor in the lobby. We stayed here and appreciated the location.
  • Hotel Universal Port – Comfortable rooms, some with park views, and a great location. 
  • La’gent Hotel Osaka Bay – A good budget option. Rooms are small but clean and it’s still walkable to the park (although further than the ones above). 

If you stay close by, you might consider buying a 1.5 day USJ ticket, which allows you to enter the park from 3pm on the first day and for a full day on the second.

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Food At Universal Studios Japan

Simon Fairbairn with a Minion popcorn bucket and cookie sandwich in Minion Park at Universal Studios Osaka
Simon with his Minion popcorn and cookie sandwich

Bringing food and beverages into the park is prohibited, but it’s unlikely they’ll check your bag and it might be a good idea for vegetarians to bring a few rice balls as meat-free options are limited.

Queues for food can also be long, so I recommend eating before you enter the park if possible (there are lots of places outside the gate including Starbucks). We waited 35 minutes for both Amity Ice Cream and dinner at Three Broomsticks.

We loved these sweet treats:

  • Salted caramel banana popcorn from the POP-A-NANA stand in Minion Park. You can even buy a souvenir bucket.
  • Cookie sandwiches from Despicable Me! The Cookie Kitchen. The chocolate orange one was especially tasty.
  • Chocolate cakes at Beverly Hills Boulangerie. There are lots to choose from, but the chocolate fondant with a hot melting middle was delicious.
  • Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks. It’s got to be done! The cold version is fizzier, but the warm one was better on a chilly day. You could probably share as it’s very sweet. There are great views of the castle from the terrace out the back.

Savoury vegetarian options in USJ are much more limited:

Vegetarian plate and kids macaroni and cheese at Three Broomsticks restaurant in Universal Studios Japan
Vegetarian plate and kids macaroni and cheese at Three Broomsticks
  • Three Broomsticks – This casual restaurant has great Harry Potter theming. The vegetable plate includes salad, corn on the cob, potato wedges, and steamed vegetables. It’s plain but filling. It’s vegan if you skip the butter. We also got macaroni and cheese from the kids menu and shared both.
  • Louis NY Pizza Parlour – This quick service restaurant has a Margherita pizza.
  • Azzurra di Capri – A table service restaurant with a vegetarian pizza. Go early to get a table or book in advance.
  • Kinopio’s Cafe – A popular casual restaurant in Super Nintendo World (expect a long queue). The only veggie options are the Piranha Plan Caprese (tomato and mozzarella salad) and the Fruit & Veggie Salad.

See our vegetarian Osaka guide for the best meat-free meals in the city as there are tons of options outside the park.

On our way back to Shinsaibashi we stopped for vegan ramen at Matsuri which is near Noda station where we needed to change trains. 

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Simon in a unicorn hat at the It’s So Fluffy shop in Universal Studios Japan
Simon in a unicorn hat at the It’s So Fluffy shop

If you plan to do any shopping, bring your passport as you can then shop tax-free if you spend over 5000 yen.

There are many options for souvenirs in the park. Our favourites were in Harry Potter World and It’s So Fluffy which is full of cute fluffy unicorns from Despicable Me.

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Is Universal Studios Japan Worth it?

Universal Studios Japan is crowded and expensive (if you purchase an Express Pass), but we still think it’s well worth visiting.

It’s a fun day out in Osaka with the magical Harry Potter World, immersive Super Nintendo World, and some seriously thrilling rollercoasters and unique 3D simulators.

It is a very popular park, so do make sure you avoid peak times, book tickets in advance, and either buy an Express Pass or prepare to queue.

If you are theme park nuts like us, you might also want to read our posts on our favourite Universal Studios Singapore rides, Universal Islands of Adventure rides, and Tokyo DisneySea rides

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  1. This is um… ok but too over so yeah and I actually went to the universal studios in japan, Osaka and the Harry Potter one is actually just so so I was kind of scared. Hey! I’m only in fourth grade.

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