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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Japan in 2014

Written by
Published: May 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM
News is leaking that Universal Studios Japan will announce tomorrow that it will the site of the world's second Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Hogwarts Castle
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.

Readers' Opinions

From Flavio de Souza on May 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Talking about announcements, some blogs are saying that Bob Iger announces this morning that an Avengers Attraction will come to Disney Parks. Is that true?
From Anon Mouse on May 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM
I don't see the point of visiting Japan just for a clone of The Wizarding World.
From Robert Niles on May 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM
Well, it is the only Universal theme park I haven't visited. And by then, Hong Kong Disneyland's expansion will be complete, too. I could do a two-fer trip, hit both and post lots and lots and lots of pictures again.

Also, Iger announced yesterday what Disney has said already, that it would eventually bring Marvel characters to the non-WDW Disney theme parks. In this case, he name-checked Avengers, since that's what's earning Disney gobs of money right now and that's what they were talking about during that investors' call.

From Caroline Davis on May 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM
Japan has been top of my list of countries to visit for a long time. Here's another thing to add to my itinerary. I just hope they don't suddenly close Back to the Future: The Ride.
From Daniel Etcheberry on May 9, 2012 at 3:24 PM
There is a ride called "Space Fantasy: The Ride" that looks like Space Mountain but better.
From 75.26.18.200 on May 9, 2012 at 7:25 PM
Back to the Future and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the two best rides rides in the world* in one park. That is awesome!

*According to me of course, we'll see if Transformers joins their company this summer.

From Nicholas Yau on May 9, 2012 at 9:51 PM
I feel that it's still possible for Wizarding World to come to Universal Studios Singapore, but unlikely to be any time soon - perhaps years after Hollywood completes construction of their zone. The Singapore park has opened for just over two years. Of course, the park will need to give up some attractions, but I feel it won't be difficult to let some areas go, especially when they become "dead zones" in the afternoon.

Give up Waterworld to build Hogwarts Castle and Forbidden Journey, and convert Far Far Away to Hogsmeade. The junior Vekoma roller-coaster here (Enchanted Airways) is a very close copy of the Flight of the Hippogriff. Shrek's tree-stump house? Possibly Hagrid's Hut. Though it might seem odd to have it far from the castle, so they might want to move it.

From Marc Kleinhenz on May 10, 2012 at 6:35 AM
My wife and I lived in Japan for a year, working as English instructors for a private corporation. We lived in Kobe, which is practically right next to Osaka, and managed to hit up USJ once (when a friend from back home came to visit). It was a lot of fun, though very, very small, with the Wizard of Oz land being particularly striking. Back to the Future, unfortunately, was very much undermined by the Japanese predilection for talking over everything, so take the experience -- if you ever go -- for what it's worth.

Harry Potter there would be excellent.

(Sidenote: in my entire time living there, even in a quaint little neighborhood that literally had no other gaijin living there, I never felt as much of a foreigner as I did that day we were in Universal. =( )

From 98.64.214.71 on May 10, 2012 at 6:49 AM
Universal is getting in to deep with Harry potter! Especially with it being a franchise that has ended and will have nothing to offer in the future. they're putting ALL their eggs in one basket. This will back fire on Universal. Now it should be clear to everyone why Universal is the #2 to Disney and has solidified their place as the worlds second best!!!!!!!
From Anon Mouse on May 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Harry Potter will make them #2? As if without it, they are number 1. Not sure where your logic came from.
From Brandon Mendoza on May 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Universal is still #2 even with HP. I'm sure if any of us looked at attendance numbers, I'm sure Universal experienced a huge influx of both new and old visitors, but I doubt it's enough to top Disney World's numbers even if you compared only the MK+Epcot versus USF+IA.

That being said, I'm glad at least one of the parks on the other side of the world will be able to experience Harry Potter. Not everyone can travel across the world, let alone across the US.

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