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Editor's Rating

7.5
Lots of fun overall, totally worth seeing, but be prepared for crowds
15 User ratings
Rating 7.5

PROS

Great park design, really fun to see at least once

CONS

Very crowded at all times of the year, very expensive to buy Harry Potter souvenirs, no gluten free food options in the park, express passes sell out fast, can get really hot in the summer months

The Ultimate Guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan

When I first found out about Universal Studios opening Harry Potter World Osaka, I felt two things. First, I felt grateful for still living in Japan at the time. And second, I felt the sudden urge to drop everything and run off to Osaka to go explore what seemed like the coolest place on Earth.

Over the years, I’ve become quite a Harry Potter fan. One of the best things about living in Japan is that a lot of adults here are totally OK with carrying their childish side into their grown-up lives. Escaping into a world of fantasy is at times the best reality. So, how good is Harry Potter World Japan at creating this alternate reality?

Overall, it wasn’t a perfect experience, but we still had a blast and I’m glad we were able to go. Below are some pictures from Harry Potter Japan and my own review of our experience in January. Guide to Harry Potter World Japan

Park Fees & Entrance Passes

How to Get There & Where to Stay

Book Your Overnight Experience From Tokyo To Universal Studios Here via the Bullet Train and don’t worry about ticket or foreign language hassles. 


A Review of Harry Potter Japan

Harry Potter Japan

What We Loved About Harry Potter World Japan

  • The entire design of the Harry Potter World Osaka was simply awesome.
  • Hogsmeade Village is fantastic.
  • Hogwarts Castle looks amazing. It’s really beautiful though we couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the castle is being used for?? It’s so big but we only saw a tiny bit of it. But you can see Dumbledore’s Office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom! We definitely enjoyed the walking tour A LOT more than the ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (SEE my review of this ride below).
  • The details inside Hogwarts Castle are impressive and the holograms of Harry, Ron, and Hermione inside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom look very real.

Harry Potter Japan: Butter Beer

 What We Didn’t Love About Harry Potter World Osaka

  • The prices are extortionist. If I had to make just one complaint about this place, I’d complain about the prices. 1800 yen for a tiny box of Harry Potter Jelly Beans?? Andof course there is merchandise everywhere. Wands, robes, candy, keychains, notebooks, shirts, etc.. There is a ton of cool stuff, but it’s very marked up in my opinion. Of course, they’re able to charge that amount and get away with it so more power to them. I guess that’s capitalism. But they even charge you for a bag upgrade if you want handles on your bag which is super convenient and necessary when walking around a theme park. This kinda killed the mood for me after awhile….I had to put this cynicism out of my mind to enjoy the park.
 A Guide to Harry Potter World Osaka Japan. How to get there

  • The Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey ride made me very sick. I threw up afterwards, though it was a miracle I didn’t hurl on the ride. It was miserable, BUT I AM prone to motion sickness. I rode other rides around the park as well that cautioned against such ailments and felt totally fine. Well, unfortunately, the same can’t be said for this ride!! If you are even slightly susceptible to motion sickness or if you are just overly sensitive to noise etc., do yourself a favor and DON’T ride this ride. It took me a few hours to feel right again. Essentially, the ride felt like being shook around in a box for like five minutes. It’s a 4K imaging ride which means much of what you experience is through a large screen as you’re flying through the air on a broomstick, but your cart is moving quite turbulently. It was hard for me to appreciate the details of this ride because it was too overwhelming to all of my senses. Also, not all Express Passes work with this ride (see below to know what I’m talking about). But, honestly, the best part of this ride was waiting in line because you meander through Hogwarts Castle and can admire all the details inside.
  • It’s insanely overcrowded. We purchased a set of Express Passes to skip the lines, so they gave us a set time to visit Harry Potter World later in the afternoon. If you don’t buy an Express Pass, you’ll have to wait in line to filter in to Hogsmeade. This wasn’t a problem though as we simply spent time in the rest of the park until then. But even still, the stores are very overcrowded, but that’s to be expected. We went on a Sunday and we hear it’s always this busy. See more about Express Passes under Tips below.
  • Lastly, there was NO Dobby creature anywhere. Dobby is my favorite character in Harry Potter and I ADORE him, but I didn’t spot him anywhere.

Harry Potter Japan
Snow on the roof at Harry Potter Japan

How To Get to Harry Potter World Osaka Japan

The best way to get to Harry Potter World Osaka is to simply take the Shinkansen to Osaka station. There are plenty of hotels around the area and taxis are a lot cheaper in Osaka than in Tokyo.

Where to Stay 

There are lots of hotel options in Osaka. If you didn’t read my review already, here’s my experience at The St. Regis Osaka. It ranks as one of my top stays of all time and I always enjoy staying at Japanese hotels. You’re rarely disappointed with the service, but The St. Regis was truly a 5 star experience. The St. Regis is about a 20 minute cab ride to Universal Studios Osaka.

Of course you can stay near Universal Studios at either of their official hotels: the Hotel Kintetsu Universal City, Hotel Keihan Universal City, Hotel Keihan Universal Tower, or the Hotel Universal Port. But here you can take a look at the 19 Partner Hotels with Universal Studios.

If you plan on doing a lot of shopping for merchandise inside the park, perhaps you should look into staying at one of the Universal properties because you’ll be able to send your stuff from the store straight to the hotel.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, then go for a ryokan!

Parks Fees, Tips, and Advice

Personally, we only needed one day at Harry Potter World Osaka. Originally we weren’t quite sure if we wanted to return again for another day, but one day was more than enough. The park really isn’t that big and you can experience everything in just a day. But we don’t have kids!

Harry Potter Japan: Chocolate Frog
Enjoying a popular chocolate frog from Honeyduke’s Candy Shop

There are plenty of fan shops inside Harry Potter World and inside Universal Studios to buy robes, wands, shirts, hats, everything! Head over to Olivanders and pick out a wand. But try to get there early enough to avoid the crowds.

The candy shops are pretty much all Japanese style sweets in the park, but the Honeydukes candy shop offers a lot of hard candies and of course, the ever popular Chocolate Frogs.Harry Potter Japan

Purchase an Express Pass to skip ahead of the lines. This is highly recommended because there will always be a big crowd. We felt the easiest way to purchase the pass is to simply buy it at the counter window when you first arrive at Universal Studios, BUT you risk it being sold out – especially in high season. Fortunately for us, they weren’t sold out but we did go on a Sunday in January. But we bought the Express 5 pass option which was great, allowing us to bypass the lines on 5 of the main rides. You can try purchasing these passes the day before at official Universal hotels or online, if you can read Japanese. Lawson convenience stores are also supposed to sell them as well, although we didn’t try this method. But the Express Passes saved A LOT of time. Totally worth the extra cost. Click Here for current Harry Potter Japan ticket prices. We paid around a total of $100 USD equivalent for a 1 day ticket and Express 5 pass, but prices fluctuate depending on the year.

More Photos from Harry Potter World Japan

Harry Potter Japan
Trying on a robe just for fun of course
Harry Potter Japan
Watching the procession
Harry Potter Japan
Hogwarts at night looks really cool

Harry Potter JapanHarry Potter JapanHarry Potter JapanHarry Potter Japan

Harry Potter Japan
It’s snowing at Hogwarts

Have you been to Harry Potter World Osaka before?

If you’re interested in an easier option, book your overnight experience through Viator from Tokyo to Osaka via the bullet train. Don’t worry about any ticket hassles!!

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25 Comments

  1. Belle
    May 8, 2017 at 10:49 pm — Reply

    hi! i’m having doubts about riding the Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey Ride but would i still be able to tour the castle without falling in line for the ride?

  2. Rocio
    January 1, 2017 at 7:31 pm — Reply

    Hello! I’m loving all your posts 🙂
    I was wondering, do you think the express pass is worth it if I’m not a fan of rollercoasters? My main interest is to see the stores and the castle, not really into the attractions….

  3. Pochacco Tan
    November 18, 2016 at 5:56 am — Reply

    Good afternoon, thanks for writing the article
    Do you know what is the timing of the castle tour? Im trying to find it online, but with great difficulty D:
    Thank u in advance

  4. July 23, 2016 at 11:43 am — Reply

    how much are the robes?
    john recently posted…The Ultimate Guide to Photographing Stars Like a ProMy Profile

  5. Chrise Ocampo
    June 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm — Reply

    Hi! Me and my friend have been planning to go to the wizarding world of harry potter in Japan. How much is the ticket? I’ve watched a video and they said you only need “Timed Tickets” to get inside and it’s for free.

  6. Ann
    June 6, 2016 at 12:37 am — Reply

    I’m planning to get the whole Ravenclaw uniform and a wand…
    How much is it?
    Is Hogwarts totally like the Hogwarts from the movie?
    How much is the chocolate frog and the every flavored jelly beans?
    Sorry for so many questions… I really enjoyed your blog!

    • June 6, 2016 at 5:46 pm — Reply

      I can’t really tell you the prices of items except things are really expensive. I think the frog and beans were like $20 each. Hogwarts is obviously not like the movie because there are tons of tourists. The castle’s exterior is really cool though, but you can’t see too much on the inside. The details are nice though. It’s as if I’d expect at Universal Studios.
      Stephanie recently posted…When You Need A Vacation From Your Amazing VacationMy Profile

  7. Jeanne
    May 3, 2016 at 7:01 am — Reply

    Hello! Nice blog! 🙂 iknow it’s really late but i am still looking forward for a reply. Do you remember the price of the butterbeer?

  8. Diana
    December 26, 2015 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    Hello!! Loved your post! I have a quick question, you can buy the Express Pass or the DAY Studio Pass or you need both to skip the long lines?
    Thank you!

    • December 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm — Reply

      I’m not familiar with the day studio pass, but I know with the Express Pass you can skip the line for only rides that honor it, and up to the number allotted on your pass (3, 5, 7).
      Stephanie recently posted…10 Sleep Tips for Holiday TravelersMy Profile

  9. November 19, 2015 at 11:44 pm — Reply

    How Much is the Wand?

  10. Savanah
    August 12, 2015 at 7:08 am — Reply

    Dobby is in the kitchens!

  11. uriel
    July 20, 2015 at 7:40 am — Reply

    Hi! i really love you review about the park 🙂 I hope you can still remember but can I ask how much is the robes? I know that this is really late but I am really looking forward about your reply 🙂 thank you very much and have a nice day…

  12. July 15, 2015 at 3:27 am — Reply

    i love how you blogged about harry potter’s world! im from the philippines and im having a vacation in japan this august all by myself (its my first time to travel alone and visit universal studios so im a bit nervous and excited as well). can you give me more tips on how to “survive” the day in HP’s world. how about the food? have you tasted the famous butterbeer? how much does it cost to buy some souvenirs like the chocolate frog? wands and candies? and what are the difference between the three express passes? pls pls pls 🙂

    • July 15, 2015 at 10:44 am — Reply

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I think a solo vacation to Japan is always a good bet. 🙂

      As far as HP world, it’s expensive, not going to lie. There are a lot of different restaurant in the Universal Studios Park though and a few in HP world. It’s normal theme-park food. I tried the butterbeer, although my husband drank most of it. It’s worth trying!

      Souvenirs are not cheap in this park, but as for the frog, I can’t recall the price but honestly it’s probably close to 1200 yen at least. I recall a small box of Harry Potter jelly beans costing close to 1800 yen. Just bring more than enough cash if you plan to buy souvenirs, although they take credit card too.

      The different express passes when we went (you can see the picture in my blog) are 7 rides, 5 rides, and 3 rides meaning you can use your express privilege for 7, 5, or 3 rides. You can see the prices in the corresponding photo in my blog post. However, we bought them on a week day and they weren’t sold out. Depending on what day you’re going, you may want to purchase them ahead of time which in Japan I think can be done at a Lawson. Ask your hotel. Also, August will be hot so dress cool!!
      Stephanie recently posted…Sea of Trees: Aokigahara ‘Suicide Forest’ JapanMy Profile

  13. christinachan
    February 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm — Reply

    Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog! Omg this is basically my dream xx

    http://reallyliteral.blogspot.ca/

  14. February 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    Great review of Harry Potter’s world! I love Harry Potter, and am dying to go to one. It’s a shame everything was so expensive, because I know I’d want to buy everything! 🙂

    • February 18, 2015 at 12:10 pm — Reply

      Thanks! Yea it’s costly but not too super expensive, just overpriced in my opinion. Hope you can go!

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