I’m not going to lie: one of the biggest highlights of my 10-day Japan trip was stepping into Universal Studios Japan’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I know that’s pretty lame considering I’m in freakin’ Japan, but it’s the truth and I’ve got no reason to deny it.
I wish I could put to words what it’s like when you’re in your mid-twenties, bent on getting to Hogwarts, knowing full well that your 10-year-old self is losing it because you’re doing what she literally could not do because the place didn’t even exist yet – hahaha! I could feel my childhood hugging me and jumping up and down. This is why growing up can be a real pleasure: you can go back to being a kid from time to time. ♥
This Japan trip was actually a homage to my childhood — but more on that in future posts.
I’m no Muggle, so here are some things you need to keep in mind while there (interspersed with some photos — enjoy!):
Tip #1: Lower expectations on Butterbeer, folks. It was overpriced and underwhelming. (But you’re still going to get it because it’s Butterbeer. I understand. This is the cross we fans need to bear sometimes. Everything is overpriced, actually, but when you’re a fan EVERYTHING IS WORTH IT.)
Tip #2: The Forbidden Journey is a must even though it’s in Japanese. But you’ll still dig it, I promise. There’s something oddly satisfying about seeing a Japanese-speaking Daniel Radcliffe. :)) The ride will also make you feel like you’re riding a broomstick, which is so exciting.
Tip #3: Eat at the Three Broomsticks. I had a really good meal (or was I just starving?) — My companions and I stopped talking because we were just busy stuffing our faces. The lemonade is good, too. Love lemonade!
Tip #4: Get a Chocolate Frog. You’ll get a holographic card and the chocolate is good. :) (And, no, the frog won’t be moving, sorry kids.) Should’ve gotten more than one!
Tip #5: Line up for the “magic show” near Ollivander’s. I hope you get chosen. Some of my funniest moments with my friends were inside the secret room because we wanted to be chosen so badly. To be fair, the little boy who was chosen was decked out in a Harry Potter costume, and said Alohomora so perfectly I wanted to hug him. :)
Tip #6: Stay by the mini-podium for some magical shows. I got to watch four representatives from the four houses sing a little number. We also got to watch students from the Beauxbaton Academy (where Fleur Delacour is from) and students from Durmstrang (where Viktor Krum is from) do a bit of an exhibition. World-creation is top-notch!
Tip #7: There’s a place where they actually display real-live owls! :) They’re not there all the time, so watch out for it. Also, in that same place, LOOK UP and see all the automated owls. :) You’re welcome.
Tip #8: TAKE VIDEOS. I only took one video in my entire stay in Hogwarts and I regret it. Watching the one video I took makes me laugh because I can hear how excited I was.
Tip #9: Wait for nightfall. Hogwarts looks stunning lighted up. :)
Verdict: If you’re a Potterhead, and a trip to London or California isn’t within reach yet, then the one in Japan is going to fill your heart to the brim in the meantime. :) You could spend the WHOLE DAY there and just revel in the magical atmosphere created by none other than our top girl J.K. Rowling.
Fighting for joy (amidst all the fangirling),
PS. Here’s a tip of the hat to my good-looking companions J and K. A theme park is an experience meant to be shared, so grab your friends and have a magical day together. :)
TEN POINTS TO GRYFINNDOR!
A USJ ticket is worth ¥7,200.
The Express Pass we got is worth ¥6,600 (so we could skip all the lines)!
Have you been to USJ? What did you like best about being in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?