Japan is great for many things, the weather, the tourism area, foods and so much more. One of the best things would be their theme parks. The best known theme park in Japan is of course Disneyland, but one other theme park that is also very well known would have to be Universal Studio Japan (USJ) that is located in Osaka.
There are many movies themes in Universal Studio Japan, especially Jurassic Park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are also a lot of different themes, and even if you’re not a fan of all them, you can also have a lot of fun in this theme park. If you’re planning to head to Universal Studio Japan, here are some hacks you need to know.
1. Buy your tickets in advance online
When you are standing in front of Universal Studio Japan, ready to have fun, you wouldn’t want to be queuing up to get your tickets. The tickets buying part will always take up a lot of time, which reduces the time you can spend being in the theme park. Instead, try to get your tickets online in advance. Not only can you skip out on the ticketing buying process, you might even get some discount when you purchase them online. Here are several types of tickets for USJ:
Standard Ticket: this is just the regular ticket with options for single or two days.
Express Passes: this pass allows you to skip queues for 4 to 7 rides.
Early Entry Ticket: this ticket allows you to enter the park 15 minutes earlier, and also with access to the “Haruka 300 Observatory Deck”.
2. Be at the park early
According to the USJ official website, they’ve mentioned that their opening time is between 8.30 to 9.30 in the morning. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to camp in your car, and wake up as early as 5am to wait for it. However, if you can, try to be as early as possible, say be there at 7.30 to 8.30, and don’t be surprised when you see people waiting there already. The Japanese are known to be prompt. The theme park has a different opening hour every day, so it is best to be there early just in case they open early, and you get an extra 15 minutes to be in the park.
3. Visit the theme park on Wednesday and Thursdays
Most of us would know that when we want to visit theme parks, it is best to visit them on the weekdays, as they are school and working days. However in Japan, there are usually excursions for students on Mondays and Tuesdays, and sometimes they would go to places like USJ for the students to have a break. This is why Wednesday and Thursday is the best time to visit this theme park. Try to plan your itinerary so that you are able to visit the theme park on these two days.
4. Queue at the single rider lanes
When we get on rides, it is definitely more comfortable and fun to be able to sit with your friends, but most rides, especially thrill rides, do not last more than 2 minutes. You wouldn't get to talk much with your friends anyway. If you do not mind sitting with strangers, you can queue up at the singer rider lane. It is much quicker to get on the rides, allowing you more time to get on other rides. You can talk about the ride with your friends after you’re done with it.
5. Find a good spot early for parades
Just like Disneyland, there are also a lot of parades and shows to watch at USJ. Just remember to check the timetable so you can schedule your time to watch them all. If you do enjoy the shows and parades, be sure you arrive at the designated location early so you can get a good spot. If you want to watch the shows, try to get the seats in front. If you’re waiting for the parade, try to wait at a spot along the parade path so you can view the parade from the front. If you’re late to the parade, you will end up being blocked by a crowd because it will be very crowded.
6. Get timed-entry tickets to the Wizarding World
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is something you definitely don’t want to miss. On peak days at USJ, you need to get timed tickets to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as it can get crowded. Sure, you don’t have to pay for the ticket, but it is time-limited so be on time like Hermione, and make sure you do remember your entry time at the allocated slot. However, if you do visit USJ on off-peak days, mostly Wednesdays and Thursdays, you wouldn’t need a ticket, since the area wouldn't get too crowded.
7. Make sure you have a translation app
There are many benefits to learning a new language, one of it being able to communicate and understand things when you visit the country that speaks the particular language. If you do know Japanese, it is very convenient for you to communicate with the locals. However, if you do not, then having some sort of translation app on your phone. A lot of explanation and meaning for the rides are in Japanese, so if you want to fully understand them, make sure to have some translation app, such as the Google Translate app, and then snap a picture of what you want to translate.
8. Make use of the rental locker
If for whatever reason you have to carry your luggage with you to the theme park, or maybe you have a lot of belongings with you, make sure you get a rental locker, so that you can have your things securely kept in a place, while you enjoy your time over in USJ comfortably and safely, especially when you have a huge sum of cash with you. Even though Japan is a generally safe country, it is still best to keep an eye on your belongings. Do make sure you have spare change with you to rent the lockers using the machines as the machines only take coins.
9. Enjoy tax-free purchases
If you do not like getting on the rides, then shopping at USJ could be one way to spend your time. The shops over there are very convenient for travelers as you can get tax refund for the souvenirs you buy in the theme park itself.. If you're buying more than 5000 yen of souvenirs and consumable goods, and 500,000 yen for food items, you can get a total tax refund of 5.8%! Just bring your receipts and your passport to Studio Gift West, and then you can have your tax refunded.
10. Get free stickers from staffs
If you’ve been to Hong Kong Disneyland, you might’ve known that you can actually get free stickers from the staffs in the theme park. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for them, as stickers are not just for kids, adults can collect stickers too. All you need to do is to keep a sharp eye, look out for the staffs who have a pouch hanging from their neck. Ask them nicely for stickers and they will give you random stickers for you to collect.
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” - J. K. Rowling