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

We’re both huge Harry Potter fans. I mean, we named our cat Hermione. Do I need to say more? I know for myself personally, if there was a real life Hogwarts, I’d move in tomorrow. Sadly though, there isn’t a real life Hogwarts. I don’t have any magical powers, and like other muggles around the world, I have to settle on visiting places like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan.

When we were planning our trip to Japan, Osaka was at the top of our list. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, a major reason behind that was because Osaka is home to Japan’s very own Universal Studios. Whether you’re a fan of Harry Potter or not, you’ll definitely be impressed with all of the beautiful detail that’s been put into every inch of the park. From walking down Main Street which takes you through Hogsmeade Village, to the amazing Hogwarts Castle, which is truly something not to be missed. 

Keep reading to find out what we loved about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, plus some tips and tricks to help your visit be as fun and smooth sailing as possible!

Best Parts About the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts Castle was definitely our favourite part about Harry Potter World. As we mentioned before, the detail is incredible. We took a ridiculous amount of photos of the outside of the castle, even though every photo pretty much looks the same. But you’ll come to realise that it’s super hard not to take so many photos. The castle looks exactly like what you’ve seen in the movies, and from what we saw while walking through the castle, the interior is just as amazing!


Tip: There is a Hogwarts Castle Walk that you can do, which takes you through the entire castle. This gives you the chance to see more than what you would by standing in line for the 4D ride. We didn’t personally do this Castle Walk because the lines were ridiculously long and we also didn’t fully understand what it was. You see quite a lot standing in line for the Forbidden Journey ride, even if you have an Universal Studios Japan Express Pass!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 4K3D ride

This ride is something that we can almost guarantee you’ve never experienced before. If you’ve been to any of the other Universal Studios theme parks across the United States or Singapore, you might be familiar with this type of ride. Of course, however, Harry Potter takes it to a whole new level.


You start by sitting in a regular looking rollercoaster seat. You’re strapped in, and unless you’ve already been on the ride, you’ll have absolutely no idea what to expect. Think Soarin’ over California from Disney’s California Adventure Park, but a million times better. You’ll fly through Hogwarts Castle, play Quiddich with Harry and his friends, be taken through the Forbidden Forest, almost get attacked by spiders and so much more. We don’t wanna ruin it for you, though, so we’ll stop here!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

Note: If you’re prone to motion sickness, we don’t recommend this ride. You will be thrust around in your seat quite a bit, and if you’re already feeling unwell or can’t handle sharp twists and turns and fast motion, it wouldn’t be enjoyable for you or the person you potentially throw up on. Since we don’t suffer from motion sickness, we thought it was one of the best rides we’ve ever been on! Definitely up there with Space Mountain. Yeah, I said it. I went there.


Tip: Make sure you invest in the Universal Studios Japan Express Pass, if for no other reason, than getting on this ride in under 140 minutes. This was the average wait time while we were in the park. It was a freezing cold Tuesday in the middle of winter, and the place was packed. Trust us. Get the Express Pass. You can thank us later!

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Ollivander’s Wand Shop

This was definitely one of the coolest experiences at Harry Potter World Japan. We had to wait for around 10 minutes before we were let into Ollivander’s, but it was worth it. First you’ll be taken into a room with a group of fellow Harry Potter fans and be treated to an introduction spoken in Japanese. Next, you’ll be led into Ollivander’s Wand Shop. There’ll be a man waiting and ready to blow your mind.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

Do you remember the scene from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, where Harry chooses his wand? He picks up multiple wands, and all sorts of crazy things happen? Well, Ollivander chooses someone from the group and acts out that very same scene!


He switches between speaking in Japanese and English so incredibly seamlessly, it’s hard to keep up. So if you’re considering purchasing a Harry Potter World wand during your visit, we definitely recommend doing so at Ollivanders. It’s a much cooler experience than simply buying one at a regular merchandise store. Plus, you might be chosen by Ollivander to pick your very own wand!

Butterbeer

Butterbeer is a must when visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan. There are a few outdoor stalls where you can buy a regular, plastic throw-away cup. We decided to splurge though, and spent 600 yen on a souvenir cup. If you’d prefer to enjoy your refreshing cup of Butterbeer out of the elements, there are a couple of indoor dining locations. You’ll need to make a booking for the Three Broomsticks, otherwise check out the Hog’s Head!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

We purchased ours from the Hog’s Head, then sat outside on the undercover seats nearby. It was an extremely cold day, which meant all of the indoor restaurants were unfortunately taken!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

Not so great parts about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan

It is insanely busy

Universal Japan was a lot busier than any other theme park that we’ve visited. If you’re planning to purchase a regular ticket, definitely arrive at least an hour before the gates open. The park usually opens at around 8:30am, but there can be different opening times for each day of the year. Make sure to check the website when it gets closer to your visit to be sure.


You’ll have to wait in a line for almost everything. From using the toilet to taking a photo with the Weasley’s Flying Car. We didn’t eat inside the park (except a churro), because all of the restaurants and food stalls were far too busy. Try to eat lunch a bit earlier in the day, to avoid the busy midday queues.

It’s a crazy expensive place

We saw so many people lugging around huge Wizarding World of Harry Potter bags filled with everything I wish I could have bought. However, unless you’re rich or have successfully saved a butt load of money, be prepared to spend a small fortune on Harry Potter merchandise.


The scarves and wands cost around 5,000 yen, which is pretty standard for theme park souvenirs. Everything is overpriced and has been marked up, just because they can. It’s all part of the theme park experience. Just be prepared to pay a little more for Harry Potter souvenirs, and budget a bit more for your day at Universal Studios, if you hope to take home a few souvenirs.

I bought a Gryffindor Scarf and Hermione’s Wand, and Russell bought Harry’s wand. If we had more money, we definitely would have bought more, to fuel our (my) Harry Potter obsession!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

4 Tips for Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

1. Purchase a Universal Studios Japan Express Pass

Purchasing a Universal Studios Japan Express Pass will definitely be worth the investment. After your very first ride, you’ll be super glad you bought it. As we mentioned earlier, Harry Potter World is a super busy place. This means that all of the ride lines are going to be painfully long.

But, if you have an Express Pass, they won’t be bad at all!


The Universal Studios Japan Express Pass is basically like Disneyland’s Fast Pass, but you have to pay extra for it. We chose the Express Pass 7 option, which gave us entry to 7 of the most popular rides with almost no wait time. I think the longest we had to wait for any ride was around 10 minutes. The Express Pass gives you access to rides all over Universal Studios itself, not just the Harry Potter World rides.

So if you would rather spend your day exploring the park, eating delicious food and taking all of the selfies, we highly recommend investing in an Express Pass.


Note: There is a limit on how many Express Passes are allocated each day. So if you are intending on purchasing one, be sure to arrive at the ticket gate early to guarantee you get one!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (Osaka) | Rhiannon Travels

2. Bring food and a water bottle with you

Bringing your own snacks and a refillable water bottle is the best way to avoid spending all of your money on overpriced snacks, and waiting in line for food all day. There are a ton of water fountains around the park to refill your water bottle, which is super convenient and helped us drink plenty of water throughout the day.

3. Purchase your tickets before you get to the park

There are a few ways you can purchase your tickets beforehand. Any Lawson Station convenience store around Osaka should sell them. Otherwise, purchase them online and print out your e-ticket – I’m sure most hotels will be happy to help you with this if you’re a tourist and don’t have access to a printer.

This will cut your wait time in half when arriving at the park, which means you can spend more time exploring the magically beautiful Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

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4. The best time to visit Harry Potter World Japan

Visit the park on a weekday, during the off-peak season and NOT on any Japanese holidays.

This is probably the most important advice I can give to anyone looking to visit Universal Studios Japan in general. We visited on a Tuesday at the beginning of March, during Winter. This particular day was painfully, almost unbearably cold. Yet it was still incredibly busy. To make the most out of your day and avoid spending 8 hours in lines (if you don’t purchase the Express Pass), definitely visit on a weekday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to visit during the week, as they are a lot quieter.


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan is an amazing place, with incredible detail put into every inch of the place. All of the staff are super friendly and will do their best to help you find your way around. I finally lived my dream of spending a day at Hogwarts. I’ve even got Hermione’s wand and a Gryffindor scarf to remember our day at Harry Potter World.


Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below! We would love to read your thoughts on the magical land of Harry Potter!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

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38 Comments

  1. Jean
    March 18, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Oh your photos are just wonderful. I’m so jelly! I want to go and drink butterbeer, Thanks for showing me how wonderful Wizarding World is!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 18, 2017 / 10:38 pm

      Thanks! I hope you get a chance to visit one day! 🙂

  2. Kelly
    March 18, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    I feel like this post embodies all good things in life. I mean, I am an absolute Harry Potter fantatic and love your tips and tricks and honest review of this park. I actually had no idea this was in Japan but now it’s just extra inscentive for me to visit ASAP!! Thank you!!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 18, 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Make sure you do visit ASAP! It’s definitely worth the trip! 🙂

  3. March 18, 2017 / 9:42 pm

    We are going to Japan for a whole month and since we looove HP we are going to go check it out. We went to the one just outside of London and we didn’t like it so much. But we want to try again in Japan, because we love the country, the culture and we know they would really surprise us with everything.

    • rhiannontravels
      March 18, 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Oh that’s so disappointing that you didn’t like the London one, I thought that would be one of the best – if not THE best! Everyone is super friendly and helpful in Japan so I think you’ll have a blast when you go! 😀

  4. Megan Johnson
    March 18, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    This looks soooo fun! I’m going to Florida in October and told my boyfriend we have to go to Harry Potter World. He’s from Florida and not super enthusiastic about going, but he’s accepted it and I’m certainly excited! I never thought the souvenirs were that much, but that’s good to know, it’s all good to know! And I can’t wait!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 18, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Haha definitely drag him along for sure! Yeah the souvenirs are super expensive, but maybe write a list of a few of your MUST have items, and budget for them! Everything like magnets etc are around the $10 mark, and obviously robes and jumpers are up around the $60-$150 mark! So be prepared to spend a lot! haha but it’s most definitely worth it! 😀

  5. March 18, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    This is so cool! I had no idea there was a Harry Potter world at Universal in Osaka – we just got back from there!

    Dying to go though, looks like you had a blast!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 18, 2017 / 10:33 pm

      If you ever get a chance to go back, definitely check out HP World for sure!

  6. March 18, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    Great guide! Looking forward to visiting here in my upcoming year of travels. Thanks for sharing 😀

  7. March 18, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    Really helpful tips! I’m glad I came across this because we’re also going to Japan in 3 weeks and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of my MUST-DO! I was quite worried because people always say that there’s a lot of crowd and I don’t want to waste time in the queue, and that some rides are not translated to English! But since you enjoyed it so much, I think we’ll be fine! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂 I live in Singapore and been to Universal Studios several times, I wish there’s a Harry Potter World here, too!

    We already bought our tickets and I’m so excited!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Oh how exciting! If you’re worried about waiting in lines definitely invest in the Express Pass. It costs a bit extra than the regular day ticket but it’s totally worth it! You’ll be able to get on all the main rides in under 10 minutes! 😀

  8. March 18, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing ! I am a Harry Potter fan and I have visited the Universal park in Florida few years ago… it was a fantastic day ! The souvenirs were also expensive, but… I bought some anyway 🙂

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:26 pm

      Haha yes they’re expensive but totally worth investing in a couple! 🙂

  9. March 18, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    I’m a big fan of Harry Potter and been reading the series a couple of times already (I feel like i’ve memorized all the events in the book, lol). You’re article had me all jealous and looking forward to visiting this amazing place. <3<3 <3

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      Harry Potter is the best! I hope you get to visit one day 🙂

  10. March 18, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    This is a very detailed and well-written article. I’ll pin this for future reference. My husband lived in Japan for a few years and we plan to go there soon. Thanks!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      Thanks so much! I hope you guys have a great time when you visit 🙂

  11. March 19, 2017 / 3:37 am

    Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that there was a Harry Potter World in Japan! I only knew about the one in Florida, haha. Where have I been living? This was such a good informational post; makes me definitely want to visit it some day! Love imaginary worlds! Sharing this on FB!

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Haha! So many people didn’t know about the Japan one! I’m so glad! You definitely should visit one day 🙂

  12. Vrithi pushkar
    March 19, 2017 / 4:20 am

    I had no idea they had this in Japan. My husband is a Harry Potter geek. He takes it to a a whole new level , he probably know all the dialogues and he and his friends quiz each other on them. I am sure if we ever go to Japan, this is going to be a top priority. We have visited Univeral studio Orlando a few times in the last two years and we could use a change of place. Thanks for the tips and your honest review!

    Vrithi Pushkar
    http://www.epicuriouspassport.com

    • rhiannontravels
      March 19, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      Oh you definitely should make it a priority, especially if he loves it that much! He will be in heaven! 😀

  13. March 19, 2017 / 7:04 am

    what a great place!! Love your photos!! I was not aware of that place, thanks for sharing!

  14. March 19, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    This is awesome, great tips! I’ve been to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio tour in London but I really want to go to one of the theme park ones so I can actually walk around the castle, and in Hogsmeade and go into the shops and stuff! Oooh and the rides sound so fun! Gorgeous photos too 🙂

    • rhiannontravels
      March 20, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      I’m so jealous you’ve been to the studio tour! That would have been amazing! I hope you get to go to the theme park one day 🙂

  15. March 20, 2017 / 4:39 am

    A 140 minute wait time! That is eternity!! I loved space mountain too and if this is better it makes me want to try it 😀
    If I saw chocolate frogs for $10 I would at least get one. I have been waiting for the $21 price tag to drop on amazon forever!
    I’m such a Harry potter fan too! I remember reading the books before they got famous and I really need to “invest” in a trip like this to one of these magical places. Thank you very much for all the helpful tips!!! I LOVE your pictures!
    Also, did butter beer taste sweet like butterscotch or was it more on the beer side?

    • rhiannontravels
      March 20, 2017 / 7:35 pm

      The 4D ride is amazing! Oh wow, $21?! That’s ridiculous! I thought $10 was bad.
      I’m so glad you found the tips helpful 🙂
      Butterbeer is definitely sweet, it for sure tastes like something I’ve had before but can’t put my finger on it. Sort of like creaming soda I think. Doesn’t taste anything like beer though 🙂

  16. miieloise
    February 3, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Oh! I didn’t know there was one in Japan! I had only heard of the park in Florida and the Studio Tour in the UK! Japan isn’t too far from Australia so maybe I’ll get a chance to visit this magic world one day 😀 Thanks for all the tip. Saving this for later (fingers crossed…!)

  17. Michelle Joy
    February 3, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    Great photos! Looks like you had such a fun time. I didn’t even know they had this in Japan.

  18. Viola Wang
    February 3, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    omg I am going in June and so so excited after reading this! Thanks for the great tips! <3 I will make sure to go on a weekday haha

  19. February 3, 2018 / 5:34 pm

    I have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka multiple times since it was opened and I totally agree with you about the positives and the negatives. I always went on normal weekdays and before opening in the morning, running to the Harry Potter section as soon as the gates opened.

  20. Frances Fraser-Reid
    February 3, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    I love Harry Potter world in Orlando! Japan looks just as cool!

  21. Amy
    February 4, 2018 / 3:14 am

    OMG. I’ve been to HP Wizarding World in Florida and I’ve been to Osaka, but now I need to go to HP WW in Japan!

  22. February 4, 2018 / 8:30 am

    This post is so cute! Seems like you had a really nice time there, crowded yes but sounds like it was a pretty special experience overall. Also, I’ve always wanted to try butterbeer… how was it!? Anyway, thanks for sharing these tips and photos – will keep in mind if I ever make it there!

  23. February 4, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    This is AMAZING!! What an amazing place <3 My inner nerd would be ecstatic!! And I would imagine that it would be really busy, but I wouldn't imagine it so expensive! Great tips about bringing your own food and water!

    • April 10, 2018 / 4:51 pm

      Hi! We purchased our tickets at the park on the day we went 🙂

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