The biggest and best theme park in the Kansai region is Universal Studios Japan (Wikipedia), commonly called USJ. It’s the second largest park in Japan, second only to the amazing Disneyland/DisneySea complex in Tokyo. It’s home to many traditional rides you might be familiar with if you’ve visited Universal Studios in the USA, but there are also some uniquely Japanese attractions. And USJ now features the spectacular Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
It’s not a cheap day out, as tickets, park food and souvenirs will probably run to about ¥10,000 ($100) for the day. However, if you’re a resident of the Kansai area and love theme parks, the Annual Pass is a bargain. You only have to go about 3-4 times to pay for the pass. As the park is very easy to access and there are seasonal themes such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentines, it’s easy to make the pass worthwhile. Also, if you’re able to go often, you’ll feel less pressured to try and fit as many rides into one day as possible, and relax enough to really enjoy the experience instead. Given how long lines can be, you probably won’t fit too many attractions into a single day anyway.
Transfer at Nishi Kujo Station on the Osaka Loop Line and go to Universal City Station.
USJ gets about 12 million visitors per year. Together, the two Disney parks in Tokyo get over 30 million! That’s the population of Canada. You can see lots of cool data here.
The park closes at an early 8pm. But many locals leave by 6pm. If you want until the end of the day, you can find that the lines for some of the top attractions, like the Harry Potter roller coaster, are much, much shorter. Instead of waiting 3 hours during the heat of day, enjoy other attractions instead, because you’ll probably have better luck with the most popular rides in early evening.
USJ permits costumes. It’s very common to see groups of people dressed up as their favourite characters, such as Mario, Wally (Where’s Waldo) and many more. If you want to have a laugh with your friends, and you like posing for pictures, give it a try!
Editorial Review: 😍
If you love theme parks, you’ll love USJ. Try going during weekdays and stay away from holidays or school break times for a slightly smaller crowd. Better yet, don’t be one of those people that moans and complains about being in crowds. Make peace with it, accept that this is part of what theme parks are like, and try to make the best of it. You’ll surely enjoy yourself a lot more.