Harry Potter may already be gone in the big screen but his legacy lives on at the Universal Studios Harry Potter Japan.
Based on the highly popular book series by British author J.K. Rowling and subsequent movies produced by Warner Bros. the theme park in Osaka is the second Wizarding World od Harry Potter site of Universal Studios.
The original theme park opened at Universal Studios Florida in 2010, which recently inaugurated Diagon Alley, another section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Studios Hollywood, meanwhile, is set to launch its own version by 2016.
Two stars from the movie Tom Felton and Evanna Lynch who played Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood attended the opening ceremonies wearing their Slytherin and Ravenclaw scarves. Then the two performed a mock “Revelio” spell – a charm used to reveal hidden objects— after which the archway entrance filled with smoke. As it cleared, Hogsmeade Village was revealed to the guests waiting to enter the new attraction.
Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson may have been too busy to attend the event, but author J.K. Rowling herself reportedly visited the par before it was launched. She cannot help but be amazed with the craft and attention to details throughout the theme park.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka has most of the similar attractions found in the original Orlando site. Among them the signature “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride, a flight simulator that feature special effects. A trip to the castle is part of the excitement as guests make their way to the castle, featuring a few of Hogwarts most popular spaces like the portrait room with talking pictures, the office of Dumbledore, the classroom of the Defence Against the Dark Arts, the common room of the Gryffindor, and the Room of the Requirement.
Other attractions include “Fight of the Hippogriff” a mini coaster that will take guests to Hagrid’s Hut prior to a climb into Hippogriff, a winged horse with an eagle head. Hogsmeade, which reenacts the village Hogwarts students visited to get their fill of Butterbeer, houses some shops that appear in the books/films such as the wand makers Olivanders, where visitors can select their own magic wand; Honeydukes, which sells populr wizarding world sweets; and the Three Broomsticks, which sells traditional British fare.
There are also attractions that are not found in the Orlando site such as Hogwarts’ Black Lake and live owls.
Universal Studios Japan estimates construction costs at ¥45 billion ($442.2 million). Universal Studios is hoping that the park will generate ¥5.6 trillion ($55 billion) in a span of 10 years. However, it is facing tough competition from Tokyo Disney Resort, which was visited by 31.3 million visitors last year.
Universal Studios Japan only attracted 10.5 million visitors in a similar period exceeding 10 million for the first time since 2001, its inaugural year.
Universal Studios Japan is located in Osaka and can be reached by train. JR Universal City is the nearest station. Tickets cost 6,980 yens per adult 4,880 yens per child.