5 Tips to Maximising Your Trip to Universal Studios Japan (Express Pass, Hidden Secrets & More!)

5 Tips to Maximising Your Trip to Universal Studios Japan (Express Pass, Hidden Secrets & More!)

With so much to see in so little time, follow these tips to maximise your Universal Studios Japan experience!

Home to the internationally-acclaimed Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other exciting attractions, it’s little wonder that Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is jam-packed with tourists and locals all year round.

With nine fun-filled zones such as Minion Park, Hollywood and Waterworld, you might realise only at the end of your USJ trip that you haven’t visited all the attractions you set out to, even if there were no queues!

Grab your 1-Day Studio Pass* at just S$93/adult and S$65/child!
What’s more, the tickets are open-dated so you can travel to Universal Studios Japan at any time of the year!

Get Your USJ Studio Pass

*Valid until 29 Jan 2019.

Other than booking your tickets online in advance, how can you make sure that you’ve made the most of your trip to Universal Studios Japan? You’re in luck as we’ve compiled this list of tips that’ll have you zooming around the Studio – as fast as if you were on a broomstick!

1. Plan your visit for a smooth trip

Before you set off for Japan, you should already be making plans for the impending battlefield at USJ.

Image credit: L1NDUS

The off-peak period during the year is typically between October and December, and don’t forget to check the calendar to avoid public holidays! Also, it’s generally advisable to visit on Wednesday or Thursday in order to shun the weekend and school excursion crowds.

Did you know that USJ changes its operating hours from day to day? Check the official Universal Studios Japan website to find out the daily operating hours, as well as the show and attractions schedule, and periods of temporary closure for selected attractions.

2. Jump the queue with an Express Pass

Image credit: Jeremy Thompson

To cut your time waiting in queues — which can go up to three hours during peak periods — opt for a Universal Express Pass that allows you to enjoy each attraction once through the priority line.

There are multiple types of Universal Express Passes available, the difference being the rides included in the package. Our personal favourite is the Universal Pass 7 ~The Flying Dinosaur~, which gives you priority access to:

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™ in 4K3D
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • The Flying Dinosaur
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D OR JAWS®
  • Hollywood Dream – The Ride OR Backdraft®
  • Jurassic Park – The Ride® OR Terminator 2:3-D®

Only a limited number of passes are supplied daily and they follow a dynamic pricing model based on estimated attendance in the Studio, so we highly recommend that you book beforehand to secure your Pass!

Skip the queue and jump straight to the ride — purchase a Universal Express Pass today, starting from 5,200 yen!

Check the availability and price for your preferred dates here.

Get Your Universal Express Pass

Just remember that even with a Universal Express Pass, you still need a separate Studio Pass to enter USJ, so don’t forget to get both when booking.

Bonus: Every Universal Express Pass purchase comes with a complimentary timed entry ticket to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP). Read on to find out more about timed entry tickets!

3. Exclusive winter specials and night shows

In addition to the regular attractions, USJ also organises limited-time events in conjunction with  the largest seasonal events of the year. Time your trip to catch these one-off specials!

From 9 November 2018 to 6 January 2019, Universal Studios Japan will be transformed into a winter wonderland with Universal Wonder Christmas, where you can witness the most spectacular Christmas show and the “World’s Most Illuminated Tree”. You can even join in on the festive fun with the Minions at Minion Park or the Minion HACHA-MECHA Christmas Party Parade!

The biggest highlight of USJ’s winter programme is undoubtedly Winter in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which runs until 28 February next year. The wizarding village of Hogsmeade will be blanketed in snow and Hogwarts Castle will be enveloped in winter magic, among other Christmas-themed experiences such as new Magical Wand spells and festive food.

Thinking of leaving once dusk falls? Consider staying on for the Universal Spectacle Night Parade, a magical display that will dazzle you!

Synchronised perfectly with light projections, the float parade brings you a fully immersive experience featuring characters from Harry Potter, Transformers, Jurassic Park and Despicable Me.

Don’t forget to check the parade route and schedule and place yourself in the best positions to catch your favourite characters as they come to life.

4. The hidden secrets of Universal Studios Japan

Enter the park before anyone else!

Image credit: masatsu

Unbeknownst to most, USJ typically opens its gates to visitors up to two hours earlier than the stated opening time of the day. So get out of bed and get camping at the gates if you want to be the first to catch a ride or two before the crowds start to stream in!

Extend your magical experience in Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Image credit: Ankur P

In order to regulate crowds, an allocated timed entry ticket to WWoHP is required and re-entry is not allowed once you exit, though you can stay for as long as you want upon entering.

However, if you’re getting an Express Pass, you can collect another timed entry ticket to WWoHP once you enter USJ.  That means you can visit WWoHP twice, preferably once in the day and again at night.

Beat the lines and make a reservation

For those with kids in tow, Universal Wonderland allows you to make reservations at its attractions. Simply go to the attraction with your Studio Passes, select the timing and you’ll be issued with a “Yoyakunori” ticket which gives you priority access during your reserved time. Attractions that allow reservations include:

  • Elmo’s Bubble Bubble
  • Elmo’s Go-Go Skateboard
  • Moppy’s Balloon Trip
  • Snoopy’s Great Race
  • The Flying Snoopy

Enjoy gastronomic delights and priority seating

To catch a breather and fuel up (we’re not talking about just the usual bites and finger food), you can dine at one of the restaurants in USJ, which serves up up gastronomic delights that look as good as they taste.

What’s more, you can even make a reservation at the following restaurants in the New York Area:

  • Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
  • Park Side Grille
  • Azzurra di Capri

Memories for you to take home

If you’re looking for mementos to bring home, you can get free themed stickers from the staff! Besides cute Hello Kitty and Snoopy stickers, you can even get special stickers for your first visit or birthday. Just look out for the staff members with a fanny pack to score some free collectibles.

If you’re buying souvenirs from the Studio gift shops, you can mail gifts to your loved ones back home directly – no more worrying about your luggage bursting at the seams! However, do note that the shipping service is only available for China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, certain regions of the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

5. In-park hacks to make the most out of your trip

If you’re going to be spending an entire day walking about, you know it pays to cut every ounce of weight or non-essential item on you. Head to one of the locker stations to stash your belongings away. There are coin-operated single-use and multi-use lockers within the park, while large lockers are located only outside the park, so know where to keep your stuff!

Image credit: Jeremy Thompson

If you don’t have an Express Pass or if you’ve already used your pass for a specific attraction, you can try joining the single-rider lines instead as the lines tend to be shorter and move faster. For parents accompanying children, USJ’s Child Switch system lets the two of you take turns to go on the rides without having to queue in line again.

There’s also a free Wi-Fi zone in the canopy for those of you who need an Internet connection. So if you’re going to be updating your Facebook and Instagram, this is the place to be! You’re allowed up to 15 minutes per session and three sessions per day.

If you didn’t manage to secure a good spot to one of the parades or you’re simply not keen on crowds, we’ve got you covered!  Use the time to hit up the popular photo spots, as the majority of the crowd would have flocked to the shows, leaving you to take all the selfies you want!

Now that you know how to go about Universal Studios Japan like a pro, it’s time to get planning and packing. Hit up the booking page while the tickets are up for grabs!

Your Universal Studios Japan adventure awaits.
Land the best offers for the Studio Pass and Express Pass, and be on your way!

Get Your USJ Tickets

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About Author

Garrick Lee
Garrick Lee

Garrick is a neurotic whose interest flickers between wildlife and architecture. He writes on environmental topics in his personal time.