I remember looking at the Universal Studios Japan (USJ) admission tickets back in 2012 when they were only around 6,200 yen, and thinking, “Wow, that’s pretty expensive.”

Then last year the price jumped to 7,200 yen. This year 2018, a ticket to USJ is 7,900 yen (5,100 yen for children).

At this rate, I can imagine the price in 2020 will probably be around 9,000 yen — nearly $90 per person.

The operators behind USJ seem to be very confident in raising the price every year since they know that by adding a few new attractions, tourists will never be discouraged by the price.

The addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter alone has granted them a boon for visitors despite the price increase.

Millions of fans horde this attraction every year just to experience life in Hogsmeade and Hogwarts (which was really awesome by the way).

But it’s the Forbidden Journey 4K3D Ride that is the ultimate winner in this Wizarding World attraction.

Before we proceed, it’s important that you get you familiar with the terms that you might encounter while reading USJ travel guides or booking USJ tickets.

You can read about all the types of USJ tickets here.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Tickets at the Gates

To begin, let’s see why you should not buy at the entrance gates ticket booths. The traditional way of getting the USJ tickets is also, unsurprisingly, the worst option — going on the day of your visit and buying it via the ticket booths at the entrance gates.

Buying USJ tickets at the Entrance gatesI wouldn’t recommend you go through this. The entrance to USJ is always packed with people, no matter what time of day it is.

The Universal Studios Japan park opens between 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. and a pool of people will usually be in line as early as 7 a.m. just to buy the tickets.

When I got to the park at around 8:15 a.m., the above photo was what I saw at the entrance. It was only 8:15!

I was surprised that in a country where everyone is perpetually connected to the internet that so many still rely on ticket booths.

Although, given how often you’ll see Japanese people standing in long lines just to get a coffee, maybe it’s not that surprising.

So, since the ticket booths are out of the equation, where should you buy your USJ tickets?

Or perhaps a better question may be, where can you buy tickets in advance?

There are several travel agencies that sell USJ tickets, but be wary, Universal Studios Japan can nullify tickets sold from unauthorized or third-party resellers, leaving you out-of-luck and money.

I will only list all the legal and official sellers to get your USJ tickets from.

1. Voyagin (Autumn 2018 Sale Alert!)

Universal Studios Japan Autumn 2018 SALE at Voyagin

Voyagin was the first travel agency website to offer Universal Studios Japan tickets online. They are an official seller and recognized by Universal Studios Japan.

In fact, you can buy all types of Universal Studios Japan tickets from their booking website, such as Studio Pass, Express Pass, and VIP Wristband. Since buying USJ tickets almost always require Japanese language skills, Voyagin serves as arbitrator between foreign customers and USJ. To ease your worries, you can also check the USJ website and check that Voyagin is on their list of Official Sellers. Another thing is that Voyagin is part of Rakuten Inc. (owners of Viber) and is based in Tokyo.

Pros:

  • Flexible ticket. Your ticket is valid within 180 days up to 1 year.
  • You’ll receive the e-ticket with QR Code instantly.
  • No need to print the ticket. QR Code can be scanned through your mobile.
  • English chat and phone support available.

Cons:

  • Ticket price may go up occasionally because of foreign exchange rates.

2. Klook

Use Promo Code: MOBILE10 for HK$10 off on your first booking using Klook mobile app.

Klook is another official seller of USJ tickets. Similar to Voyagin, Klook is a travel concierge startup company based in Hong Kong. They also have a mobile app with a nice interface to easily book any tours or tickets from them. The only downside with Klook is that if you encounter any problems with your ticket or if you have questions about their services, they don’t have a phone support. You can only email them. This can pose quite an inconvenience to some should problems arise during or after the booking process.

Pros:

  • Flexible ticket. Your ticket is valid within 180 days up to 1 year.
  • You’ll receive the e-ticket with QR Code instantly.
  • No need to print the ticket. QR Code can be scanned through your mobile.

Cons:

  • No phone support. Only email support.

3. Official Website of USJ

It is always a better option to book directly with the official website of Universal Studios Japan because you won’t have to deal with the currency exchange rate fluctuations or any of the service fees of travel agencies. When you pay using your credit card with the USJ website, you’ll be charged with the fair amount of your bank’s currency exchange, which always has a better rate. But the biggest caveat here is the booking page is all in Japanese and will require help from a Japanese friend. I eventually a found a way to book with the USJ website thanks to helpers like Google Translate. However, it still took me almost 30 minutes to finish the entire process.

Pros:

  • Flexible ticket. Your ticket is valid within 180 days up to 1 year.
  • You’ll receive the e-ticket with QR Code instantly.
  • No need to print the ticket. QR Code can be scanned through your mobile.

Cons:

  • Japanese only.
  • No VIP wristband being offered.

4. JAPANiCAN

2-Day Osaka & Universal Studios Japan™ Train & Hotel Package (Early Departure) (One Way)

This is perhaps the best deal for families who are arriving at Universal Studios Japan from Tokyo. JAPANiCAN is also an official seller of USJ tickets as it is a subsidiary of JTB Corporation, which is the largest Japanese travel agency in Japan. However, their online website doesn’t sell individual USJ tickets. They only sell package deals. This includes a round-trip bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka, hotel accommodation, and the 1-day Studio Pass, which actually a pretty good deal, especially for traveling families.

5. Lawson Convenience Stores

If you are already in Japan, you can get your tickets from the LOPPI machines at any Lawson Convenience store, which are nearly as plentiful as 7-Elevens in Japan [i.e. everywhere]. The LOPPI machine has an English option, but halfway through you might find some complications like the L-code. Here’s the website that will show you how to do it. If you are still confused, you can always ask help from a Lawson staff. The only thing you need to consider before purchasing from LOPPI machine is that the ticket is not flexible. Meaning, you must use the ticket on the date printed.

6. Kinken Shops

If you are already in Japan, the cheapest way to get a ticket for USJ is also the most complicated way, for a non-Japanese speaker that is. You can order discounted USJ tickets from ticket discount vendors called kinken shops, which are scattered around Japan. These kinken shops sell USJ tickets for as low as 6,500 and are valid until a certain expiration date. You can buy through their website or through their physical stores. If ordering online, on top of the price, you must choose the ticket to be delivered to your house via cash on delivery, there’s an additional fee of 650 yen fee, which is still not bad as long as the USJ ticket you bought is not more than 6,500 yen. If purchasing through their physical store, just find a nearby kinken shop that’s not too far from your house, or buy it while you’re out and about. Just be sure to bring a Japanese friend.

WARNING: Universal Studios Japan now nullifies tickets bought from auction sites like Kinken shops. Buy it at your own risk.

7. Travel agencies of your home country

Aside from the aforementioned Klook, Voyagin, and JTB JAPANiCAN, if you are from some of Japan’s nearby countries, like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia, USJ has partnered with several travel agencies where you can purchase your USJ tickets. For my fellow Filipinos, you can get your USJ tickets from travel agencies accredited by the Japanese Embassy. Getting your tickets from these travel agencies is very convenient, but the disadvantage is the price. One ticket can costs up to 80-90 USD, because of the service fees.

Verdict

Like in real life, the cheapest way to acquire something could also be the most inconvenient way. I can only recommend two ways to book your USJ tickets, either from an online travel agency that are recognized by Universal Studios Japan or its official website.

But if you lack Japanese skills or don’t have a set schedule, definitely go with Voyagin or Klook, as they provide flexible tickets where you can go to USJ anytime. If you are also getting Express Pass tickets, it’s better to use the Voyagin or Klook websites, since the USJ Japanese website can be really confusing and time-consuming. Lawson is okay, but you have to keep in mind that you must go on the date printed on the ticket. Ultimately, it’s really up to you which you find convenient booking your own.

Once you’ve bought your tickets, I also recommend reading my complete guide to Universal Studios Japan, Osaka.

Published by Ada W.

Ada moved to Japan in 2014 as a result of her husband's deployment. A former assistant language teacher who's been exploring Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefectures slowly. She hopes to uncover other regions of Japan. View more posts