Strategies to Save Time at USJ

While I strongly recommend buying an Express Pass because they save so much time and therefore make your life easier, there are other ways to save time at USJ. Here are a number of other ways to save time.

Buy your tickets ahead of time

If you buy your Studio Pass ahead of time through an online provider such as Klook or Voyagin you don’t have to waste any of your important time standing in line to buy tickets even before you get into the park. You can then use this time saved to dash to the ride you want to try the most before it gets too busy. You could also use this time to get a free timed entry pass to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Arrive at Universal Studios Japan before the official opening time

The gates at USJ are often opened before their official opening time which is what happened on our first visit to Universal Studios Japan. This means that you can get a headstart on other people and make the most of your time. An even better option is to buy a Studio Pass bundled with a VIP wristband through either Voyagin or Klook which will allow you to enter the park 15 minutes before everyone else.  You have to visit the Harukas 300 Observatory in Osaka to collect your VIP wristband.

As with buying your tickets ahead of time, entering before everyone else will allow you to visit at least one or two rides before they get busy and/or give you time to pick up a timed entry to Harry Potter.

However, be aware that if you are planning to arrive early and race to your favourite ride, the most popular rides get busy quite early. For example, on 14 September 2019 (a slightly below-average crowd day, 46 points) here were the wait times at 9 am for three of the more popular rides:

  • The Flying Dinosaur – 85 minute wait time at 9 am.
  • Hollywood Dream – The Ride – Backdrop – 90 minute wait time at 9 am.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – 54 minute wait time at 9 am and a 75 minute wait time at 10 am.

The more detailed wait time graphs from 14 September 2019 for these three rides are below:

Flying DInosaur Wait Time - 14 Sep 2019
Flying Dinosaur Wait Time Graph (14 Sep 2019). Source:
Hollywood Dream Backdrop Wait Time - 14 Sep 2019
Hollywood Dream – The Ride – Backdrop Wait Time Graph (14 Sep 2019). Source:
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Wait Time - 14 Sep 2019
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Wait Time Graph (14 Sep 2019). Source:

Use the Single Rider lines at Universal Studios Japan

If you have decided not to buy an Express Pass, think about using the Single Rider line if you don’t mind splitting up your group for some of the rides at USJ. Six of the more popular rides at USJ have Single Rider lines which could save you a lot of time. The rides that have single rider lines are clearly marked on the Universal Studios Japan map.

Use a wait time app to plan your day

There are a number of wait time apps for Universal Studios Japan that can help you plan your day and make the most use of your time. This strategy is by no means foolproof as some rides can stay pretty busy throughout the day, and it can also be pretty tricky to get your timing right. However, as you can see from the graphs above, wait times for rides do ebb and flow throughout the day. By keeping an eye on ride wait times, you can sometimes get in the queue for a ride when it is less busy.

Here are some of our suggested wait time apps:

Child Switch

This is not really a time-saving idea but it might save your sanity. Twenty-two rides and attractions at Universal Studios Japan offer Child Switch. Child Switch allows parents or carers to take turns riding an attraction while the other person stays in a special waiting area to look after your child that does not meet the ride requirements or otherwise can’t go on the ride. Then, when the ride has finished, the other person gets to ride the attraction without having to go back to the start of the general queue. Check out the park map to find out which attractions offer Child Switch.

Join the Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group or Discord Server

You are also welcome to join our Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group and our new Japan Travel Planning Discord Server – they are great resources to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

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