The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Japan in 2014
Published: May 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM
Coming soon to Japan
The Osaka theme park is set to begin construction on the Japanese version of the Wizarding World, which will likely be built on the site of a current parking lot between Jurassic Park and the Waterworld theater. Since Universal Studios Japan won't have to clear away any existing attractions for its Wizarding World, it should be ready for a late 2014 debut, opening before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, which was announced last December.
No opening date has been announced for the California version of the Harry Potter land, and there are no publicly visible signs yet of construction, which is tipped to involve the demolition of existing structures at the park. (To be fair, Universal Studios Hollywood's getting ready for the public debut of Transformers: The Ride 3D on May 25, so it's not like USH hasn't been busy building new stuff.)
The Japanese Wizarding World is said to include Hogwarts Castle and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride from the original "Hogsmeade" version of the Wizarding World, which opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando in 2010. There's no word on any possible inclusion of elements from the rumored "Diagon Alley" version of the Wizarding World, which is said to be coming to Universal Studios Florida in 2015 or so.
This announcement would leave Universal Studios Singapore as the only Universal theme park without a Harry Potter attraction in the works. Park vice president John Hallenbeck last December dismissed speculation about Harry Potter coming to Singapore, and having toured that park and its surroundings in person, I can't imagine where Universal could make an additional attraction of this size fit in that space-constrained theme park.
Now I gotta start scrounging the cash for a plane trip to Osaka.... :^)
Update: Here's the release from USJ.