I am finally sharing one of my most memorable experiences of my life: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, Japan. I am a Harry Porter fan and I have watched all movies over my growing years. Last year, i got a chance to step into Universal Studios Japan. I felt like I was teleported into a wonderland that never fail to thrill me every second.
I was so impressed. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was freaking mind blowing and everything you ever wanted it to be. It wasn’t like visiting a movie set or a theme park, it was a completely all encompassing world of magic. As you walk down the tree lined path towards the entrance way of Hogsmeade the theme music begins to make your toes tingle with excitement and you feel like a first year student about to see the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time. The second you walk through that archway into Hogsmeade you are no longer in Universal Studio. I mean, the rest of the Universal Studio theme park is exactly like being on a cheesy studio set but Hogsmeade is a working town with a towering life sized Hogwarts perched on a huge cliff in the distance.
When you have a chance to go there, you must have fun. You don’t know when you’re going to return to the Wizarding World again, so soak in every moment, enjoy every minute, and don’t be shy to act totally crazy because, trust me, it’s going to be worth it.
Oh yes, one more thing: always keep your magic wand on hand, just in case Voldemort suddenly shows up as you wander about!
Universal Studios Japan is listed among the highest-grossing theme parks in the world, with over 10 million visitors lining up to see its ten attractions, including The Wizarding World.
If you’re planning to visit Universal Studios in Osaka, the first thing I’m going to tell you is to make sure not to go on a weekend. I went on a weekday and, I am not kidding, it already felt like going on a Saturday or Sunday. The place was packed.
There are many other attractions at the studio — Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Back to the Future, Jaws, New York, San Francisco, and many more. But the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the main draw and the first area visitors usually go to when they get there.
I spent most of my time in Hogsmeade – the winter village that Hogwarts students love to visit in the movies. The first thing you will see upon entering Hogsmeade is the iconic Hogwarts Express train (I was also searching for the Platform 9 3/4 but you will not find it here though).
Welcome to Hogsmeade!
Those of you who have religiously followed the Harry Potter series — whether through J.K. Rowling’s masterful novels or the eight movies — you will instantly love the surroundings, which will give the satisfaction of finally experiencing what it’s like living in the Potter Universe along with fellow Potter geeks.
The whole area was like a set from the movie with the huge Hogwarts School castle, row of shops selling weird stuff and even the Hogwarts Express train.
Butterbeer’s the only way to go for drinks! A sweet mix of butterscotch and shortbread, the beverage is ten times tastier than what you imagined. You can get the normal or the frozen one.
Of course, there is also the huge Hogwarts Castle, which is the main attraction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Seeing it for the first time will make your jaw drop. The Hogwarts Castle was a fine replica of the castle we see in movies. Here you can ride the signature Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or opt to take a tour of the castle instead – dream come true for all Harry Potter fans out there! The details inside Hogwarts Castle are impressive and the holograms of Harry, Ron, and Hermione inside the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom look very real!
The 3D Forbidden Journey ride in the castle lets you experience different events of the Harry Potter universe from Quidditch, to battling dragons at the Triwizard Tournament, to dealing with Dementors while strapped to a seat that whirls you around in different locations inside the Hogwarts Castle of the Wizarding World.
The 3D feel makes it seem like you can grab the golden snitch by arm’s length or feel the dragon’s fire closing in on your face. And just when you thought Dementors were scary in the movies, you’ll be frightened when they appear right in front of you, ready to give you a kiss to suck out your soul.
By the way, the queue for the Forbidden Journey ride is perpetually long forever. I waited three hours to hop onto the ride. But the wait is so worth it.
The castle, which must be hundreds of feet high, is amazing. And while you’re in line for The Forbidden Journey, you go through different areas inside it that make you feel just like you’re in Hogwarts. There are even moving portraits!
Welcome aboard the Hogwarts Express Train!
Over the years, I grew up anticipating for Harry Potter sequels every year (that was 8 movies for 8 years) like most other kids my age back then. One of the reasons why I really wanted to visit Osaka is because of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Osaka. This is Japan’s version of the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter found in Orlando United States. I have always dreamed of touring a real-life Hogwarts Castle. Visiting the real world of Harry Potter was truly ‘magical’ for a ‘muggle’ like me!
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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