The Road to Hogwarts

Gather round all you aspiring witches and wizards who desire to be enrolled in Hogwarts, the premier school for wizardry! For this is a tale of how to get yourselves into Hogwarts despite being a Muggle.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter and have been wondering if you could ever experience life in JK Rowling’s books, then get yourself over to Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.  Universal Studios has created a microcosm of Harry Potter’s world which stays faithful to the movies.

Since Muggles don’t have access to teleportation spells, the only way to get there is via the old fashioned way; by planes and trains. If you are wondering how to get to Osaka from Tokyo, you can browse to my previous blog post on getting a JR Pass and saving quite a bit of money on train travel in Japan.

The road to Hogwarts passes through a small forest where you encounter the Weasley family’s flying car stuck under a tree, and then following the trail you will see the entrance to the village of Hogsmeade.
The village of Hogsmeade where wizards and Muggles mix.

The village of Hogsmeade is the centre of this fantasy world of Harry Potter. The entire area is very well partitioned from the rest of Universal Studios and you don’t see or hear any distractions from rides from another movie franchise. Upping the realism factor are the many Harry Potter fans who can be seen dressed in robes of the various houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw), and walking around with their newly bought wands or broomsticks.

You can take a photo with the Hogwarts Express. And no, you can’t board the train here.
And yes, you will get to drink Butterbeer.

The village of Hogsmeade features several well known shops from the movies like the the Three Broomsticks (restaurant) where you can get Butterbeer, Honeydukes (candy shop) and Ollivanders (souvenir shop).

Buying a wand can be an entertaining experience at Ollivanders.

And if you really want to be a wizard, special wands are for sale where you can learn to cast spells at certain spots in Hogsmeade. Say the magic words and wave your wand to cast your spell, although it may take a few tries to get it correct.

Say the magic words and wave your wand to cast magic spells at special spots in Hogsmeade. Like you could make fire come out of this chimney.

Of course the main attraction is the castle of Hogwarts. It’s a scaled replica of the movie castle although it still does look rather life sized.

The attention to details is astounding as you enter through the gates of Hogwarts.

There is a 4D ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which is really popular  among visitors, and be prepared to queue for a long time if it’s crowded. The other ride is a roller coaster which is rather mundane. The best way to shorten your waiting time is to purchase the Express Pass which are available only for same day sale and in limited quantities.

Details like owls sitting on the rafters and owl poop can be seen, even in the waiting areas.
Inside Hogwarts you will pass through the hallway with the talking paintings, and if you listen carefully, you can hear their conversations. You will pass through here while lining up for the 4D ride or taking the Hogwarts tour.

When it gets dark, the park may be closing and people are leaving, but do stay till after sunset as the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts looks dramatically different from daytime. Check the time closing times of the park. At different times of the year, the closing times are early or extended.

Hogsmeade looks so much more attractive at night. You do feel like you are in the movies as the magic of twilight sets the mood.
I could fool anyone that I took this photo of the real Hogwarts somewhere in Scotland. This is taken from back patio of the Three Broomsticks. And something lurks under the water…
Wizarding gear looks even more appealing in the twilight.
A more foreboding and mysterious look to Hogwarts at night.
The gate guardian really looks scary with the lighting. You can almost feel a Dementor appearing at any moment.

So would you want to visit this special place and feel like a wizard or a witch for a day?


Getting There for Muggles

Back to reality.

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is located in Osaka city, and you can fly direct from Singapore to Kansai International Airport, or take a Shinkansen from Tokyo. If you are coming from Kyoto, hourly rapid trains connect the 2 cities.

The train station to get off for USJ is Universal City Station, and you can use your JR Pass to take the train.

Once you are at USJ, entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is through the main ticket which gives you access to the whole park.

13 thoughts on “The Road to Hogwarts

  1. I regret not going to USJ when I went to Osaka, but then I only had a very limited time in the city. I like to think that my ideal house is Ravenclaw, but based on my personality I’m more of a Hufflepuff. Thanks to this post I know I should stay until sunset to see the lights at Hogsmeade and the imposing castle.

    1. I almost didn’t want to go to USJ. Thought it would be like the USS in Singapore. I’m glad I did. My niece kept insisting that go see the Harry Potter world as it’s so different from the rest of USJ. There’s also an anime world in USJ which you don’t find in other US parks. Fans of anime would love it.

    1. I am Harry Potter Freaker. By reading this story I feel If it could be here and returned to Japan and got an amazing experience there, it’s so stunning and inspiring to go back soon.

  2. I am Harry Potter Freaker. By reading this story I feel If it could be here and returned to Japan and got an amazing experience there, it’s so stunning and inspiring to go back soon.

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