Universal Studios Japan is located in the Konohana Ward of Osaka, in Kansai. Opened in 2001 the park seems to have been a, err, universal success in Japan, rivalled only by Disneyland and DisneySea in Tokyo in terms of visitor numbers. In fact, recent reports make noises to the effect that USJ is experiencing faster growth that its Disney rivals. Whatever the numbers, USJ is hugely popular with tourists from Japan and overseas. Alongside classic attractions like JAWS, Jurassic Park - The Ride, and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man - The Ride, the 2014 edition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, projected USJ into the stellar regions of the Asian theme park scene. This should really be no surprise given the feverish popularity of the Harry Potter franchise in Japan. If USJ does have a downside for some, it could be that it’s some distance from Tokyo. To this effect we look at how much it costs to get from Tokyo to Universal Studios Japan.
Getting to USJ from Tokyo will mean some form of transit in Osaka.
NB* The prices listed below are all in Japanese Yen. They are based on bookings made approximately one month in advance, online directly with the service provider. They are a guide only, and shouldn't be considered definitive.
Using trains to get to USJ from Tokyo will mean taking the Shinkansen, probably from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station, like the Tōkaidō Shinkansen services listed in the table below, all departing from Tokyo Station and arriving at Shin-Osaka Station.
|Nozomi (153 mins)||13,620||14,450||19,230|
|Hikari (~ 190 mins)||13,620||14,140||18,920|
Express / Rapid / Local trains
Without making use of the Shinkansen, a combination of express trains and rapid trains could get travelers to Shin-Osaka in around 9 hrs. At fares of around 15,000 yen however, travelling in this way makes little sense. Using only local trains could get costs down to around 9,000 yen but with journey times at the 14-hr mark, this is only for the desperate and / or the local train super enthusiast. Better to take the bus if money is an object.
It will take around 30 mins to get from Shin-Osaka Station to Universal Studios Japan (Universal City Station).
A simple and cheap route looks to be the following …
Shin-Osaka - (JR Kyoto Line Rapid Service) - Osaka - (JR Yamatoji Line Regional Rapid Service) - Nishikujo - (JR Yumesaki Line) - Universal City (220 yen / 24 mins)
This is going to be the cheapest way of getting from Tokyo to Universal Studios Japan. Many of the services will run at night, making this an even better option for budget travellers who can sleep on the bus and save on a night's accommodation. That being said, if the plan is to hop off the bus and onto the USJ attractions, travel in this way could leave light sleepers struggling for the energy to cope with USJ's excitement.
There are some bus services that travel between Tokyo and Universal Studios Japan without need to make transfers.
Osaka Bus run the Tokyo Tokkyu New Star service picking up from Oji Station (Kita Ward) and dropping off at USJ. This is a night-bus service taking around nine hours. Fares from ~ 6,600 yen.
Willer Express run services to USJ departing from Tokyo Station. Journey time around 10 hours.
|NEW PREMIUM Singles||8,600 - 11,000|
|NEW PREMIUM 2 rows||7,460 - 10,500|
|NEW PREMIUM Economy||7,600|
Willer express buses from Shinjuku to USJ
Travelers from Tokyo to Universal Studios Japan could also take the bus to somewhere in downtown Osaka and then take trains from there to USJ.
WILLER EXPRESS bus services to downtown Osaka
Osaki Station to WBT Umeda
|RELAX with Monitor||4,320|
Shinjuku Station to WBT Umeda
|EXECUTIVE||11,100 (no luggage space)|
|SLEEPER||6,180 (no luggage space)|
Ikebukuro Station to WBT Umeda
Umeda to USJ (train / subway)
From Umeda it’s a short walk to Osaka Station from which you can take trains to USJ
Osaka Loop Line services will go straight through to Universal City. 180 yen / 19 mins
Yamatoji Line services will require a transfer at Nishikujo to the JR Yumesaki Line.
How much it costs to fly to USJ will depend on if you travel with one of Japan's low cost carriers or with one of the flag carriers. For cheap flights between Tokyo and Osaka, the best bet will be budget airlines Peach and Jetstar.
Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Kansai Airport (KIX)
|Peach||from 4,290||from 8,630|
|Jetstar||from 4370||from 9,040|
ANA flights from Haneda to Kansai Airport
|Basic 1 Fare||12,090|
|Value 28 Fare||11,890|
|Premium Basic Fare||22,090|
ANA flights from Haneda to Itami
|Basic 1 Fare||11,490|
|Value 28 Fare||8,590|
|Premium Basic Fare||19,990|
JAL flights from Haneda to Itami
|9,990||10,990 - 16,090|
JAL flights from Haneda to Kansai Airport
|11,390||13,090 - 15,590|
There are limited JAL flights from Narita to Itami
Universal Studios Japan is serviced by the Universal City train station on the Yumesaki Line
From Itami Airport to USJ by train (search Osaka Airport)
Cheapest route: 600 yen / 42 mins / 3-4 transfers
From Kansai Airport to USJ by train
Cheapest route: 1,100 yen / 67 mins / 2 transfers
Driving from Tokyo to Universal Studios Japan may take around 6 hours in good traffic conditions under the assumption that divers know where they are going. How much does it cost to drive? Well, a very rough estimate of highway tolls between the Tokyo and Osaka areas is 10,000 - 13,000 yen dependent on route. (Source: NEXCO)
Expect to pay ~ 30,000 - 40,000 yen for a basic rent-a-car from Tokyo to Osaka, to be used within one day.
Have you ever travelled from Tokyo to Universal Studios Japan? Do you have any information to share regarding how much it costs to travel between the two? Let us know in the comments below.
See our ‘How Much | Travel’ series for more destinations, and their costs, from Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan
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