Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is a dreamworld where Hogwarts can be spied from the lapping shores of Amity Bay as Jaws himself circles your boat. But how do you get tickets without feeling the bite?

universal studios japan tickets
Photo by xiquinhosilva used under CC

Unfortunately, Japan isn’t really a big believer in deals and large film corporations are (unsurprisingly) similarly minded. There are some ways, however, to lower the cost of spending a day or two with your favorite characters. Whether you’ve been to a different Universal Studios or not, Osaka’s biggest theme park is a real wonderland for thrillseekers and film fanatics. With rollercoasters, immersive 4D experiences and plenty of exciting rides, it’s no wonder that a visit to USJ has become one of the top things to do in the Kansai region. This steady popularity, however, means few discounts are available, but decisions on where and when to buy tickets as well as what kind of access you want can help you save a few yen towards that extra cauldron cake.

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Note: All prices are listed inclusive of tax, but prices do fluctuate and may rise annually.

Universal Studios Japan tickets: Quick overview

On the surface, USJ’s tickets are pretty simple: you have a 1-Day Studio Pass, a 2-Day Studio Pass and the option of an Express Pass add-on. This Express option lets you skip queues on certain rides and pack more into your day, but it does come at a (rather hefty) price.

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Japan Rail Pass
The JR Pass is a 1 week pass that allows unlimited travel on Japan Rail lines throughout the country. This ticket is extraordinarily good value. *Restrictions: Can only be purchased by temporary visitor visa holders not already in Japan. ...

An Express Pass comes in three forms: one for 7 attractions (from ¥7,600), one for 4 attractions (from ¥5,200) and one for 3 attractions (from ¥4,200). These passes have varying options about the rides included (you can’t just pick and choose).

Tickets bought at the gate are a little more simplified, but those bought online have more options including a 1.5 Day Pass, VIP Royal Studio Pass and more.

buying universal studios japan tickets
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On-the-day tickets

If you prefer to keep things casual and rock up on the day to purchase tickets, you’ll be heading straight for the park ticket gates. Here, you can purchase an adult 1-Day Studio Pass for ¥7,400 (incl. tax) or a child’s for ¥5,100. A 2-Day Pass is ¥13,400 and ¥9,000, respectively. The gates are open an hour before the park’s official opening time and close two hours before the park.

However, buying your USJ tickets at the gate, on the day, carries risks—including lengthy queues, cutting into your day, and tickets selling out during popular seasons. We strongly recommend buying your tickets online ahead of your visit.

Planning ahead: Booking USJ tickets online

Booking tickets in English

If you prefer to plan ahead and have your tickets before you arrive, then booking online through one of the approved ticket sellers or travel agents (including Voyagin and Klook) is a great way to go. USJ is pretty strict about unauthorized resellers and invalidate any QR codes that are found to have been resold, so steer clear of unapproved sites.

While online prices add a few extra yen compared to booth tickets, there are some perks that can make it worth your while—aside from not having to queue early in the morning! The option to purchase an e-ticket means you have more flexibility on when you go, as they are generally valid for around a month, so if plans change you still have guaranteed entry. There are also chances to buy USJ tickets which are not otherwise available (like the coveted NYE countdown tickets), and Fast Passes which often sell out very, well, fast at the gate.

One of the most practical online ticket options is the 1.5-Day Pass that allows entry from 3pm on day one (perfect for the evening displays), then full-day access on day two. This is great if you’re arriving mid-afternoon in Osaka and think a day might not be quite enough time, or if you have to leave before the evening shows on your second day. Note: These tickets must be exchanged at Kansai Airport or at JR Namba Station, so be sure you can visit one of those in advance.

Photo by Selena Hoy

Booking tickets in Japanese

While the booking online section of the English USJ website directs you straight to the options above, there are some extra tickets available if you book through the Japanese site. This can be manageable if you use Google Translate (which works well on Chrome) and offers some unique discounts. The regular 1-Day or 2-Day Pass costs the same as the at-the-gate tickets and is therefore a little cheaper than third-party ticket-booking sites, but the 1.5-Day Pass is the same price as Voyagin and Klook.

There are some discounts to be had on the Japanese site if it is your birthday. If you’re visiting during your birthday month or the following month, you can save ¥500 on a 1-Day Pass and ¥1,000 on your 2-Day Pass. You do have to be a member for this deal, but you can sign up for free, so it’s an easy save.

Photo by Kentaro Iemoto used under CC

Travel combination tickets for USJ

Note: These tickets are only available to tourists with temporary visitor visas. Similar to the Japan Rail Pass, those residing in Japan cannot use them.

Hankyu Tourist Pass Combo

If you’re traveling from Kansai Airport, there are some transport-inclusive options that may be worth your while. This Hankyu Tourist Pass Combo offers a 1-Day Studio Pass plus unlimited use of the Hankyu train lines for one or two days. This includes the Hankyu Kobe Line, the Takarazuka Line and the Kyoto Line, which is great if you’re traveling in or out of Kyoto after your stay in Osaka.

JR West Kansai Pass Bundle

The JR West Kansai Pass Bundle allows you to choose from a day pass to the theme park with 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-day rail passes (either the Kansai Area Pass or the Kansai WIDE Area Pass). If you’re planning on exploring the Kansai area, this is a great option—we have some tips on routes you can choose as well as which pass will suit your plans best.

USJ combo packages and coach transfers

If you’re traveling from Tokyo, there are various bus packages available from Willer Express, which include your USJ entry pass, transport and—optionally—hotel accommodation if you don’t fancy snoozing in the bus.

If you’re making your own way to USJ, you can always grab a coach transfer ticket for just ¥1,100 one way or ¥2,000 return from Osaka’s city center straight to the park. Pick-up locations include Dotombori and Shinsaibashi, departing at 7:30am and 7:40am respectively. The return bus departs at 8pm from USJ, giving you a pretty full day—although you can take a train home if you’d rather stay till closing time.

There’s also a special combo ticket package for thrillseekers planning to visit both USJ and the Harukas 300 observatory.

Pro tip: Check out our full guide on how to make the most of your visit to USJ, saving a few more monies on the day. Also take a look at what else there is to do in Osaka.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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