I had a much better childhood than Harry Potter did, but I honestly believe that Hogwarts and Hogsmeade are the happiest places on Earth. Don’t believe the muggles at Disneyland – they’ve never been.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan (USJ) takes up less than a quarter of the park’s area, and only has two rides: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Flight of the Hippogriff. Many people vote that Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the better one, and I agree. After all, it takes you through the castle.
The line to the ride is one of the longest in USJ, but the wait is SO worth it. Once I stepped into Hogwarts, I swear it felt like I was finally home. (Damn you, Voldemort, for wiping out the Ministry’s records of muggle-borns!) ლ(｀ー´ლ)
The line usually starts outside the castle gates and trickles into the greenhouse. Once you enter the dungeons, you’ll need to leave your things in the lockers and go up the stairs surrounded by portraits. Salazar Slytherin and Rowen Ravenclaw were having a conversation, but I couldn’t understand their Japanese. At the top of the stairs is Dumbledore’s office, and if you look behind his desk, you’ll see the headmaster himself. *wipes tears* Sorry, sentimental.
The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom is next, and here you’ll see the Harry, Ron, and Hermione after they step out of the invisibility cloak. The Gryffindor Common Room is empty but you’ll see the Fat Lady (I whispered balderdash. It didn’t work.), and after the Common Room you’ll find the Sorting Hat by the Great Hall where Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey begins.
I loved the ride. Some people say it makes them dizzy and nauseous because there’s a lot of movement, but I was happy just seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione even if they were speaking in Japanese.
The ride makes you feel like you’re on a broom, and you’ll run into familiar creatures: dragons, spiders, and even dementors. By all means, go ahead and scream Expecto Patronum with Harry – I did. LOL. I couldn’t help it.
After the ride, you’ll exit to Filch’s Emporium, which I think is the best place to buy souvenirs. After all, that’s where all the good stuff Filch has confiscated ends up. You’ll even find George and Fred’s Map!
Across the Emporium is the Flight of the Hippogriff. It is the less popular of the two rides and was not fun at all. But maybe that’s because I’m deathly scared of going on a roller coaster even if it’s just a 30-second ride with a single loop. Yes, it’s a ride for children. But still. My heart. (」゜ロ゜)」
In fact, my favorite part about the Flight of the Hippogriff is the part before the ride where you’ll see Hagrid’s Hut. It’s the only way you can see the gamekeeper’s house but Hagrid’s busy with Fang inside so you can’t ask him for rock cakes. BUT you’ll get to see the bike, which honestly made me feel all sentimental again. RIP Sirius Black.
Most people go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the rides, but I think the shops are special too. In fact, Ollivander’s might actually be even better than the rides. It is, after all, the reason why I was once the happiest girl on Earth, muggle or otherwise.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN (USJ) HOURS
Check the park’s page for their opening hours. There are times when they open before the schedule if there are many people lining up outside the gate.
Check HERE for the prices.
FROM OSAKA STATION OPTION 1: There’s a train from Osaka Station that goes directly to Universal City Station at 180 YEN, but check the timetable because there aren’t a lot.
FROM OSAKA STATION OPTION 2:Take a train on the JR Osaka Loop Line to Nishikujo Station, then take another train on the JR Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station.
FROM KANSAI AIRPORT: Take a train on the Kansai International Airport Express Line to to Nishikujo Station, then take another train on the JR Yumesaki Line to Universal City Station.