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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Japan

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Published: July 14, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Universal Studios Japan celebrated the opening of its Wizarding World of Harry Potter tonight with a celebrity grand opening celebration, in advance of tomorrow's official opening to the public.

Harry Potter stars in Japan
Photo courtesy Universal Studios Japan

Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) greeted Japanese fans on the red carpet at the Osaka park. After the arrivals, a fireworks display marked the opening of the new land and its Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride to the invited guests.

The opening ceremony for Osaka's Wizarding World
Photo courtesy Universal Studios Japan

Osaka's Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens to the public on Tuesday morning. The land is almost identical to the original Wizarding World at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, minus the Dragon Challenge roller coasters. We've now opened the listing pages for Japan's Wizarding World to readers who've visited Universal Studios Japan to rate and review the attractions:

The debut comes one week after the official opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and four years after the opening of the original Wizarding World land at Islands of Adventure. Japan's Wizarding World is the first outside the United States, and will be followed by a fourth Wizarding World, at Universal Studios Hollywood in California, in 2016.

Update: Felton and Lynch led visitors into the new land on Tuesday morning:

The opening of the Wizarding World
Photo courtesy Universal Studios Japan

(An aside: One of the many interesting things about global Web publishing is trying to select the proper verb tense when writing about things in the Far East that have already happened tomorrow. It reminds me of a great Douglas Adams bit noting that the problem with time travel isn't becoming your own ancestor, it's dealing with how to conjugate verbs in a shifting timeline.)

The day before the opening ceremony (July 13, yesterday in the U.S., two days ago now in Japan), J.K. Rowling toured Osaka's Wizarding World, as shown in a publicity photo from the park.

J.K. Rowling in Japan
Photo courtesy Universal Studios Japan

"The craft and attention to detail across The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is incredible and I will take away the memory of Hogwarts castle reflected on the Black Lake in particular. I’m delighted that Harry fans in Japan and around Asia can experience a physical incarnation that is so close to what I imagined when writing the books," Rowling said in a statement released by the park.

Readers' Opinions

From Dan Glynn on July 15, 2014 at 4:32 AM
Does Osaka get snow in winter? If so, this would the WWoHP to visit at Christmas time. It'll be beautiful!
From Anon Mouse on July 15, 2014 at 8:11 AM
Terrific. I can't wait for it to open in Hollywood. Any news about a new Diagon Alley opening anywhere?

I've been watching the Harry Potter movies to get a feel of Diagon Alley. Really not much there since most of the action takes place in Hogwarts Castle. I suggest they offer a new ride that's an adventure in the castle like the "Chamber of Secrets".

From Robert Niles on July 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM
I've heard through typically reliable channels that there's a long-term plan/concept for Diagon Alley in Hollywood, though that's contingent on pretty solid continued financial success for the Universal parks between now and 2018. Don't know about the other parks.
From 24.25.247.241 on July 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM
It's unlikely there will be a Diagon Alley at USJ unless they get rid of an entire area or two. I heard that USJ is landlocked and that the company is looking for land elsewhere in Japan to build another park. This means it is unlikely to be in the same area to even be like Disney World.
From Robert Niles on July 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Well, USJ still does have an Amity area and Jaws ride.... ;^)

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