Exactly three years ago, Universal Studios opened another Harry Potter theme park and it’s in Osaka, Japan. Like in Florida, the park is still crowded especially during the weekends and holidays. To help plan your trip, here’s a useful guide:
1. Where to get tickets
The popular attractions have the long lines so it’s best to get your tickets in advance. You can get them either at partner hotels or on the website. Osaka, unlike in Florida, has timed tickets or express passes. Getting one of these is actually better because you can avoid really long lines.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Osaka
Address: 2 Chome-1-33 Sakurajima, Konohana Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 554-0031, Japan
Phone number: +81 570200606
2. What you need to do before visiting
We all know how popular this theme park is. People from around the world travel to Japan for this magical experience, and we’re talking about millions of Harry Potter fans. You are likely to have a wonderful and (not so) tedious experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter if you plan ahead of time. Find out which days the theme park is most crowded. Avoid those days if you plan to really maximize your visit. Try to also look at the studio map available on the website for your itinerary. Go with the most popular attractions first as they are usually the ones packed with people. Schedules are subject to change, but usually the park opens at 9am and closes at 10pm. Visit the attractions in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of the park in the late afternoon and early evening.
3. Main attractions
Everything in the Wizarding World is worth a visit, but these are some of the most popular attractions that you need to prioritize.
Expecto Patronum Night Show
If you’ve seen the movies you’ll know what dementors are and what they do to their victims. You’ll feel a chilling presence and an overwhelming emotion that you vow you never want to experience again. The Expecto Patronum Night Show features dementors and Hogwarts students struggling to cast a powerful spell to beat them. “Expecto Patronum!” shouts the students of Hogwarts. The audience will then see a blinding and shining white light and a patronus in the form of a mystical creature to appear before their very eyes. It’s a truly magical experience. This attraction is available on these dates only: April 21- Nov 5.
A new addition is the Wand Magic that will let visitors cast real spells inside the Hogsmeade Village. They only need to do it correctly and wave the magic wand and tada! You can cast spells in the walls, windows, and even in the back alleys.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Soar high above the castle with this 4K3D technology ride. With the Forbidden Journey, you get to feast your eyes with the castle’s special effects. You can explore Dumbledore’s office, the famous Sorting Hat, Defense Against the Dark Arts Room, and the Gryffindor Common Room.
Flight of the Hippogriff
A 30-second rollercoaster ride and also one of the main attractions is the Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a thrilling ride, however short. You would be able to get a glimpse of Hagrid’s hut with this ride.
Remember Platform 9 ¾? Yes, this is where you’ll find The Hogwarts Express, just like in the movies. You will be greeted with this train when you enter the Wizarding World. This connects you to the Hogsmeade Village.
Hogsmeade Village is where you’ll find restaurants and shops in the Harry Potter movies. You can also buy souvenirs like Sirius’s wanted poster and moving bludgers.
Hogwarts Castle Walk
Inside the castle is Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and other classrooms found in the movies. Touring the castle will let you experience Harry Potter once more. It’s strikingly similar in the movies. You will really be amazed.
This is the Weasley family’s flying car that they used to rescue Harry from the Dursleys. Harry and Ron also used this to get inside Hogwarts, but the car broke down and crashed into the Whomping Willow. The same car is in the Wizarding World in Osaka and it can be seen when you follow the path through Hogsmeade.
4. Shops and restaurants you need to visit
The restaurants are a little pricey but it’s worth it. Here are two shops you need to visit in the Wizarding World.
Three Broomsticks is a restaurant in Hogsmeade that serves butterbeer, chips, and fish. This is another must-see in Hogsmeade. The restaurant has wooden stairs and high ceilings. While inside The Three Broomsticks Inn, look at the walls. You’ll see owls and house elves doing the dishes.
The pub is inside The Three Broomsticks Inn at Hogsmeade. Here you’ll find the talking heads from The Prisoner of Azkaban. Be careful about the hogs; they snarl at guests. Also, if you’re looking for something that’s stronger than Butterbeer, this is your place. Get a bottle of Firewhisky!
5. A few tips for a Harry Potter fan
The park has the most people in the mid-morning until late afternoon. We would recommend you go with the major rides first thing in the morning and visit the shops about three hours before the shop closes. Other shops you need to see are Ollivander’s, Honeydukes, Zonko’s, Dervish and Banges, and the Owlery.
There’s a unique attraction here not found in Orlando and that’s the Great Black Lake. It’s located on the left side of Hogsmeade. The lake is huge and deep. It sure adds a dark atmosphere to the place.
After all this time?
It’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published and two more books are coming in October this year. 20 years and still, people love Harry Potter. Always.
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