Welcome aboard the Hogwarts Express! Ever since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened its doors in July of 2014 at Universal Studios Japan, thousands of Potterheads have made the pilgrimage to the Osaka Prefecture to pay homage to our favorite bespectacled wizard! Hold onto your robes, and join us as we enter the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Are you ready? Make sure you tick off these items if you're paying Hogwarts a visit:
Photo by Malaysian Flavours
When you enter Universal Studios Japan, make sure the first thing you do is to get a timed entry ticket into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! This is a separate ticket that you’ll need to get inside the theme park to escape through the forest into Hogsmeade. The timed entry ticket will specifically state what time you’ll be able to access the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Before you enter the park, you’ll be able to spot the beloved Flying Ford Anglia from ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets’ in the Forbidden Forest. Strike a pose and take a few pictures next to it. If you’re lucky, the car might even come to life and make engine noises just for you
The Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey ride is one that you must NOT miss out on! Even the line-up for this ride is absolutely magical as you get to walk through Hogwarts castle to reach the ride. Expect to see some familiar artifacts from the movies like the Sorting Hat, Dumbledore’s office and the Gryffindor common room along the way. During the ride itself, you’ll be able to get the full experience of being a wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and EVEN get to take part in a Quidditch match. So much fun!
Photo by The Smart Local
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is home to The Black Lake - an attraction unique to Universal Studios Japan that is true to both the movies and books! Take the walkway to get a little bit further out on the water and you just might spot a few bubbles intermittently rising to the surface. Could this be evidence of a certain giant squid that resides below Hogwarts?
Photo by ourawesomeplanet
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter serves up 3 types of Butterbeer - Cold, Frozen and Warm (available during winter only). You’ll be able to get Butterbeer at the carts in front of various attractions at the park. However, if you don’t feel like lining up with the rest of the crowd, make your way to Hog’s Head - a small bar located in the middle of Hogsmeade that also happens to serve real alcohol for those who enjoy stronger drinks!
Image by Universal Studios Japan
To get the full wizarding experience, line up at Ollivander’s and purchase an interactive wand! Ollivander’s wand shop also features a special “wand experience” event - one lucky guest will be able to go through the process of getting picked by a wand. Because after all, “the wand chooses the wizard”!
Once you have purchased your interactive wand, check out the 10 magic stations throughout Hogsmeade where wand owners can cast spells! Light up chimneys, summon wind or even fire at various stations of the park. This will be the perfect time to capture a few videos of yourself to show off to your other Potterhead friends back home. One of the most popular magic stations features the Hogwarts Express - so make sure you join the line and don’t miss out!
Check out this video by Snitchseeker.com to see how wand magic works at the park:
Photo by triplerin
Hungry after wandering around Hogsmeade? Have a bite to eat at Three Broomsticks - a family-friendly restaurant with mouthwatering English pub fare. You’ll also be able to purchase Butterbeer here to wash down your meal!
Photo by goodluckjapan
Had enough of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade? Don’t forget to buy a few souvenirs at Honeydukes Sweet Shop for your friends and family back home just before you leave! Buy a pack of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans to trick your friends with or load up Chocolate Frogs as an appreciative gift. You will find that this shop has all sorts of items that were mentioned in the Harry Potter books - so even if you weren’t looking for anything sweet to eat, you’ll still have loads of fun browsing around the shop!
Have you checked off everything on our list? Now you can finally call yourself a bonafide wizard like Harry, Ron and Hermione!