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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an area dedicated to the Harry Potter books and movies, within some Universal Studios theme parks. In this post, we share photos of the Wizarding World and give you tips on how and where to see some Harry Potter-themed buildings, shops, rides, and characters..
We recently visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan, at Universal Studios Japan, Kyoto. These photos are of the recreation of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts, a partial recreation of Diagon Alley, including Olivander’s Wands, and so on.
We also tell you about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides, in Osaka Japan.
There is also a Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida, at Universal Orlando and in Beijing China, and Hollywood California.
Orlando has the most Harry Potter-themed rides. In Universal Japan, there are only 2 rides and the Wizarding World area is small, but very well-themed.
Photos of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
To see Hagred’s Hut at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Japan (photo above), you need to enter the queue area for the Flight of The Hippogryph Ride. You can’t see this if you’re not in the line. We waited 2.5 hours for this Harry Potter Ride. Wait times were the worst we’d seen at any theme park in the world.
Inside Hogwarts Castle
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a fictional school housed in a castle in the Highlands of Scotland. There is a recreation of the Hogwarts building inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and theme park guests can go inside.
What’s inside Hogwarts? The building houses the best ride in The Wizarding World, Japan, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, and its queuing area. The lines can be up to 3 hours (maybe more, but we saw 180 mins wait time on this ride) so the queuing areas need to be entertaining.
Guests waiting to board The Forbidden Journey ride enter low down in the classroom, via the dungeons. Passing the potions classroom we moved on to Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor Commonroom, past the “Fat Lady” from the moving staircase and The Sorting Hat high on a shelf.
Most of the portraits on he walls are animated as they are in the movies, but the only picture we recognised was Dawn French as “The Fat Lady.” All speech is in Japanese.
The Forbidden Journey Ride itself is also in Japanese but it really didn’t spoil it, the ride is full of action, the commentary and language barrier really aren’t a big deal.
It’s quite dark inside the corridors of Hogwarts so photography was difficult, a few photos are below.
There is also a gift shop inside the Japanese Hogwarts Castle.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Ride
The Forbidden Journey ride is not a rollercoaster and wasn’t too scary at all. It is a CGI ride, mostly in darkness.
Riders follow Harry Potter as he rides his broomstick with some intense drops and swoops. It’s a great ride, and worth going to Universal for if you’re a Harry Potter fan.
We went straight to the Forbidden Jorney Ride when we arrived at 8am (our entry ticket was for 8am), by then there was already a 55 minute line.
You can cut wait times at the Wizarding World and the whole of Universal Studios by buying fast passes, there are a lot of options. We chose to not buy these as we wanted to compare wait times at this park fairly with others around the world.
If we were to go again (which we probably wouldn’t) we’d buy the passes. You can buy your Universal tickets here, this is probably the easiest way to do this, it’s what we did.
The Flight of The Hippogriff Ride
A hippogriff is a mythical magical creature, half horse, half eagle. This Harry Potter ride is a very small rollercoaster, suitable for people like me who are scared of heights.
The hippogriff appears in the Prisoner of Azkaban, where it belongs to Hagred and then Sirius Black.
You will also see a hippogriff sitting on its nest at the start of this ride and you may see one on stage in the Wizarding World area, if you get your timing right.
We think this coaster is identical to the Enchanted Airways Rollercoaster in the Shrek (Far Far Away) area at Singapore Universal Studios, we can’t be sure. Same ride, different theming.
Magical Creatures at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
A few characters and creatures that are not from the Harry Potter movies, but from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also appear inside the Wizarding World.
We spotted a niffler, a creature that is showcased by Hagred in the fourth Harry Potter book (Goblet of Fire), but I think most of us would associate this creature with Fantastic Beasts.
You can buy a niffler here. These are a great Christmas gift for Potter fans!
You may also spot a A Pygmy Puff a miniature Puffskein as bred by Fred and George Weasley and sold at shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes at 93 Diagon Alley in London. Ginny and Fred describe Pygmy Puffs as “really cute and fairly cuddly.” They are also very pink, or sometimes purple or blue. You can buy these in the park or online here.
Dressing Up To Visit The Wizarding World
A lot of people (kids and adults) dress up in Harry Potter costumes to visit the Wizarding World in Japan. Cosplay or fancy dress are very popular, so if you or your kids want to wear your student robes, go ahead!
Buy Harry Potter costumes here, in advance, or you can buy robes and wands in the park.
I want to thank the kids here at World Travel Family, D and Boo, for helping me write this post. They’ve both read the books and watched the movies over and over again and were a big help to me here. I visited Universal with my teen son and we had a great day, despite the queues! That said, the London Harry Potter attraction, the Warner Bros Studios Tour, is undoubtedly better. See more Harry Potter content on our site here.