Travel Journal {Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan}

This past October while visiting Kyoto, we also wanted to venture down to Osaka, mainly Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Getting down to Osaka from the Kyoto train station is fairly straightforward. We had no problem staying in Kyoto and taking the rapid express train down to Osaka each day. There’s a JR special rapid service train that goes down to the Osaka station in about 30 minutes. From there, take the Inner Loop Line to Nishikujo Station and then from there it’s a quick but jammed packed train ride to Universal City. Probably about 40 minutes total train time with a few minutes here and there waiting for the next train.

Universal Studios will not rent strollers for kids over 3 years of age. I was pretty bummed as we were hoping to save my 4 year old from walking all day long. Something to consider if your 4 or 5 year old needs to rest in a stroller for part of the day. Be sure to bring a small umbrella one. Remember the train to and from Universal City will be packed.

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com
Universal Studios does their tickets a little differently than the Disney Parks. You have to pay for their fast pass equivalent. They have three Express Pass options to choose from depending on how many rides you want to bypass the line on and how much you are willing to pay for them. Look online at the different options and pre purchase these Express Passes before getting to the park. Many of these options were sold out when we were buying our tickets.

For Harry Potter World, you must have a timed ticket to enter if you didn’t purchase one of the express passes that includes it. Here’s the map in English and you can see where the timed ticket booth is (#65).

We went midweek in October and the park wasn’t terribly busy. With 2 kids (ages 4 and 6) we stayed away from many of the adult rides, such as Jaws. Harry Potter World was a big hit with my kids. They’ve both seen the first movie though. Prepare for long lines and huge crowds in Harry Potter World. Although my oldest was tall enough for the castle ride, the 3 hr wait time kept us from riding it. We did all walk through the castle, which I’d recommend (10 minute wait). Both boys were tall enough for the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster (1 hr wait).  Honeydukes (candy shop) was about a 25 minute wait to walk through. Fun to see all the candies from the movie such as the Every-Flavor Bean and Chocolate Frogs. Prices are high though but make for memorable stocking stuffers. Ollivanders was also busy, but without the line. Many of the shops on the main street also carry the same wands if you don’t feel like fighting the crowds in this shop.  We had lunch at Three Broomsticks which was just a fun environment and the roasted chicken was delicious.  There is no time limit with your ticket so you can stay as long as you want in Harry Potter World once you enter it.

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com

The Hogwarts Express was just a photo op right after you enter. Hard with the massive amounts of people.

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With smaller kids, the rest of our time was mostly spent in Universal Wonderland. They have an indoor Snoopy roller coaster that was actually a lot of fun. There’s another indoor play place in this area with lots activities under one roof. Kids can stomp on the virtual bubbles on the floor, take a slide down to the ball pit, bounce the giant balloons, or build with the gears, blocks and long noodle looking things. Plenty of outdoor rides as well to keep them busy. We never waited longer than 10 minutes for any of the kids rides.

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.comHalloween is always a fun time to go and the Japanese take their costumes seriously. The park had kids trick or treating but Universal Studios is also known for the more gruesome and horror flick costumes. As the sun set you’d start seeing the more disturbing costumes for little eyes. For the most part they stuck to a preplanned route so you could avoid them. We still saw them funneling into the park though near the entrance so be prepared to explain why the man is walking around with an axe in his head and blood dripping down.

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com
For young kids, the Disney Parks win hands down. My kids had fun here, but we went more for me because I wanted to see Harry Potter world. If you’re trying to decide whether to make the trip to Osaka or visit the Disney parks instead, I’d always recommend to choose DisneySea first. If you happen to be in Kyoto and have a free day, that would be the time to take an easy side trip.

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com

Right between the park and the Universal City train station is City Walk with plenty of restaurants and shops to choose from. We left the park around dinner time and ate at one of the restaurants here before heading back to our hotel in Kyoto. Universal Studios Osaka, Japan   www.homelifeart.com

 

Related blog posts:
Travel with Kids on the Bullet Train {Yokohama to Kyoto}
Travel Journal {Kyoto, Japan Arashiyama and Sagano}
Travel Journal {Kyoto, Japan: Nijo Castle, Golden Pavilion, Imperial Palace}

 

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