Harry Potter Studio Tour & Universal Studio Japan - Family Friendly Tips
Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Japan
Calling all Potterheads, it’s time to hop on your flying broom to Tokyo, Japan for the much awaited Warner Bros. Studio Tour, featuring the behind the scenes sets of Harry Potter. Opening its doors on 16 June 2023, this theme park is the second of its kind in the world, resembling the amazing Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London and should not be confused with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.
The newest addition to this magical franchise is located on the former Toshimaen site and provides fans the ultimate opportunity to journey behind the scenes to learn and experience the remarkable world of Harry Potter. Geared to be the largest indoor Harry Potter attraction in the world and the first Warner Bros. Studio Tour to open in Asia, it features exclusive sets only available at this location. According to the studio's official website, the new studio in Tokyo will also showcase some exhibitions of the Fantastic Beasts franchise with beautifully recreated movie sets. Fans of the Fantastic Beasts series will also be able to explore how the movies’ otherworldly creatures were designed in a series of videos and enjoy an exhibit of lively Bowtruckles.
At the studio, you’ll be able to explore iconic sets such as the Forbidden Forest, home to magical creatures and dark secrets, where you will have the chance to test your magic spells by casting the Patronus and battling with Dementors before coming face-to face with Aragog - the spider owned by Hagrid - in his lair. You’ll also be able to step through the grand doors of the iconic Great Hall and feast your eyes on exquisite costumes and props from the actual films! Besides that, you will also get a view of Diagon Alley, the bustling shopping street from the movie, where you can get an up close peek of Ollivanders Wand shop and Waesley’s Wizard Wheezes.
The studio also features several interactive activities and experiences too. From journeying to the wizarding school, becoming part of a moving portrait in the halls of Hogwarts and even being part of the crowd at a Quidditch match via green screen technology. Of course, you can’t miss stepping onto the set of Platform 9¾, where you can even hop aboard the real Hogwarts Express!
In addition to the new studio tour, you can also visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan (USJ), located in Osaka. The park features a whole spectrum of world-class interactive sites and thrilling rides. As you enter into Harry Potter’s world in USJ, you will be transported to a completely different world even before entering Hogsmeade Village. You will first pass the Stone Circle, before coming across the fantastic Flying Ford Anglia, complete with flashing lights, used to rescue Harry in the Chamber of Secrets.
What to do at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Japan?
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
One of the most highly anticipated attractions at the new park is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, which takes visitors on a thrilling journey through the halls of Hogwarts. The ride features a combination of 3D projection technology, animatronics, and special effects, creating an immersive experience that transports riders into the world of Harry Potter. You'll be able to feel the dragon's fire and the Dementor's chill as they approach. If you’re not keen on rides—you can still explore Hogwarts Castle without going on the ride. Do note that height restrictions apply for the ride: 122 cm or more (same when accompanied by an attendant)
2. Flight of the Hippogriff
Another exhilarating ride is the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a scaled-down roller coaster that is suitable for younger children. Follow Hagrid's instructions to discover how to approach a Hippogriff, a creature with the head of a large eagle and the body of a horse, before you swirl and dip around the pumpkin field and swoop past Hagrid's Hut.
3. Ollivander's Shop and Wand Magic
If you’re an ardent potterhead, you’ll know that wands are essential! Head over to Ollivander's Shop, where hundreds of magic wands await you.get yourself a Magical Wand and join the Wand Magic stamp rally activity that you can enjoy while walking around the area. The Magical Wand comes with a map that will show you where to cast your magic. At Hogsmeade village,, you can really cast spells at the window, the stone walls, and even the back alley. Say the magic words while waving your wand and snow will fall unexpectedly, and a big pot will overflow with water.
4. Harry Potter shows
In addition to the rides, the theme park also features a variety of shows and performances. The Frog Choir performs a selection of songs from the Harry Potter films, accompanied by their talented croaking frogs, while the Triwizard Spirit Rally features a spectacular display of wand duels and acrobatics. And the third show you can be part of is Wand Studies where you can use your new wand and assist brave wizards as they practise their spells!
Now that you know what to expect at the new Warner Bros. studio in Tokyo and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in USJ, here are some family-friendly tips you should follow, especially if you’re travelling with young children:
1. Plan ahead:
As with any public attraction, it's important to plan ahead before your visit. Make sure to research the studio’s and park's opening hours, park map, ticket prices, and any special events or shows that may be happening during your visit.
Due to the limited number of visitors that can visit the Studio Tour at any one time, you will need to pre-book your tickets ahead of your visit. Do note that tickets cannot be purchased at the attraction.
For entry to USJ, we strongly recommend buying either an Express Pass 4 or Express Pass
7. Express Passes significantly shorten wait times at the attractions covered by the passes. Both types of Express Passes include timed entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as timed entry through a much faster Express Queue to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Express Pass 7 tickets also include timed entry to Flight of the Hippogriff. We suggest you arrive once the theme park opens and move to the furthest end of the main entrance or begin with the most popular ride. As your day progresses, move your way back to the main entrance to avoid the crowd and cover more attractions with your Express pass.
2. Dress for the occasion:
Encourage your children to dress up in their favourite Harry Potter costumes, or at least wear comfortable clothing and shoes for a day of walking and exploring. Dressing up can enhance the experience and make it more enjoyable for your children.
3. Bring extra snacks and water:
While there will be plenty of food and drink options available at the studio tour and USJ’s magical restaurants and cafes, it's always a good idea to have some snacks and water on hand to keep your children fueled and hydrated throughout the day. Packing some healthy snacks can save time and money while providing a preferred and enjoyable snack for your children while the adults enjoy the famous wizarding drink, Butterbeer, or even Butterbeer ice cream in the Butterbeer Bar.
4. Don’t forget to take breaks:
It can be easy to get caught up in all the excitement, but be sure to take breaks throughout the day to rest, so the kids don’t get cranky. Find a quiet spot to sit and relax, or take advantage of the air conditioning indoors.
5. Make use of the Child Swap service:
The Child Switch line, which is available in all Universal Studios, allows parents travelling with kids that either don’t meet height requirements or don’t wish to take the ride to switch parental guidance when one parent is on board. In other words, Parent A will take the ride first while parent B waits in the family room with the child and they simply switch after that. Although there is no separate queue for Child Switch – you wouldn’t have to wait in line again all the way from the back.
6. Added facilities:
For parents travelling with young children, you’ll be glad to know that the USJ theme park also provides other convenient amenities such as a first aid centre, baby care facility, and missing children centre (just in case the little one wanders off alone). You can also rent a stroller and locker at the park to keep all the extra clothes and snacks, so you don’t have to carry them around.
Family Travel Insurance
Above all, remember to have fun and enjoy the magical world of Harry Potter with your children. Take lots of photos, make memories, and immerse yourselves in the experience. Whether you're a die-hard Harry Potter fan or simply looking for a fun day out with the family, these themed holiday locations are designed for families to enjoy, so take advantage of the sites and special activities that appeal to your family, and create a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.
Ensure you and your family are equipped with the right travel insurance. DirectAsia’s family travel insurance covers you, your spouse and up to 4 children. Get a quick quote by selecting your travel destination and policy start date before booking your flight and theme park tickets!