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Sarah Roots

Japan is a core hub of Harry Potter fandom


Following the enormous success of Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter which has had more than 17 million visitors since its opening in March 2012, Warner Bros is opening a second Harry Potter Studio Tour in Tokyo, Japan, on 16 June 2023.

Built on the former site of the Toshimaen theme park, it will feature classic sets including the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest, as well as exclusive sets only available in the Toyko attraction. Visitors can also view costumes and props, learn about the filming techniques used to make the movies, and take part in activities including riding a broomstick, posing for a moving portrait in a Hogwarts hallway and being part of a crowd at a Quidditch match. Tickets are now available to pre-book. Adult tickets will cost ¥6,300 (£37.60/$47/E42.70) and junior tickets will cost ¥5,200 (£31/$38.50/£35). Anticipated dwell time is around four hours.

Here, Warner Bros’ Sarah Roots talks exclusively to Attractions Management about what the new attraction will feature, and the highs and lows of getting the project built.

How are plans progressing for the Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo? 
We have a talented team of the original Harry Potter filmmakers who have built sets, created props and designed costumes using the authentic techniques. This project has allowed more freedom for the team to create sets that weren’t kept after the films were made, which means the Tokyo tour will feature some really exciting new pieces.

The team created the pieces in the UK, then we shipped them to Japan and have been working collaboratively with local Japanese experts to complete the creative process and bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life.

Right now, the finishing touches are being put in place and the interactive elements installed. We’re so excited to be able to open the doors to the public soon.

What can you tell us about the exclusive sets that will only be available at the Tokyo tour? 
We’ll have the moving staircase from Hogwarts – a first – and this will be accompanied by a new interactive photo opportunity where visitors can appear in their own Hogwarts portrait.

The Tokyo tour will also include a Fantastic Beasts section which highlights digital technology in relation to the beasts in the films that wasn’t as advanced in the days of Harry Potter. Visitors will also get to explore new production spaces such as The Art of Sound that delves into the world of mixing, foley and sound effects.

The Tokyo tour is larger and has a huge amount of content so areas such as transition spaces where visitors pass from one set to another have been beautifully designed and show off costumes and props to an exceptional standard. We’re anticipating a longer dwell time as there is so much to experience.

Can you highlight any other exciting features of the Tokyo tour? 
We’ve learned from the success of Warner Bros Studio Tour London just how much our fans love hands-on interaction so that will be a big part of the experience. Fans will be able to take part in their favourite experiences from Warner Bros Studio Tour London like flying a broomstick or drinking a Butterbeer, as well as some that are new for Tokyo like posing for a moving portrait that will be displayed in the halls of Hogwarts. We’re even inviting fans to step into the crowd of a Quidditch match, to cheer on their favourite team.

Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo will also be home to the largest Harry Potter shop in the world.

The British-inspired menu in the Food Hall will serve Hogwarts favourite dishes such as roast beef, fish and chips and sausage and mash, while the Professor Umbridge tearoom will serve a magical themed afternoon tea in deliciously pink surroundings.

What excites you most about the project? 
Seeing the Studio Tour work through the construction, show fit out and current overlap into operations coming to life in Tokyo has been really special. I’m excited about the first fans walking through the doors on opening day. Welcoming Harry Potter enthusiasts (as opposed to business visitors) is always so uplifting – watching their emotional responses, shared experiences and excitement. Seeing the amazing reaction from fans when we launched the Studio Tour Tokyo opening date and put the tickets on sale to a record response has been incredible so I can’t wait for them to see it in person.

This tour is an extension to Warner Bros Studio Tour London in many aspects, we’ve been able to utilise all of the best assets in London, plus our operational knowledge and more-up-to date technology. It will be a good mix of fan favourites and new innovations.

The train stations serving the attraction are getting Harry Potter makeovers. What will this involve? 
The closest station to Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo, Toshimaen, will be undergoing a magical makeover to celebrate the opening of the Studio Tour – we’re working closely with our partners Seibu Railway to support the new opening. More details are coming.

The central Tokyo hub station Ikebukuro where visitors start their journey will be taking inspiration from Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross and wrapped trains will be showcasing scenes from the films.

How did you choose the site for Warner Bros Studio Tour Toyko?
We knew Tokyo would be the perfect location for the Studio Tour; it’s the first attraction of its type in Asia and Japan is a core hub of Harry Potter fandom. We found an amazing space at Toshimaen, located in Nerima-Ku on two direct train lines from Tokyo city and with car parking on site – pretty incredible for central Tokyo.

The advantage of building the Studio Tour from scratch has been the flexibility it’s allowed us – we’ve been able to enhance the design, take learnings from London, accommodate more space for the general reception and F&B/retail areas, and plan for future growth from day one.

We’ve been working with the original filmmakers in London since the concept plans, so we’ve had the benefit of being able to create the sets, props and costumes for Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo under their expert guidance, using the original moulds, methods and techniques. The UK based workshops where the assets were built and made had an amazing buzz.

What have been the biggest challenges of the project so far? 
We started feasibility, business planning and the site search for Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo back in 2017/18, and shook on a deal on the site at Toshimaen in December 2019. As we built up to launching the construction part of the project, COVID-19 hit and we had to carry on at pace during the pandemic. Not being able to travel until mid-2022 was a real challenge. We had to be agile and adjust our approach and management of the project on the ground as the situation changed.

Key areas of adjustment included the need for additional project management resources on the ground in Tokyo to supplement the physical absence of the core Warner Bros Discovery team. And the global rising cost of raw materials and construction related labour was a big challenge.

It’s been an amazing personal life opportunity to learn about another culture and appreciate a different approach to working – I’m still very much learning.

Tickets are available to pre-book for the Tokyo Studio Tour Credit: Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo
The Studio Tour Tokyo will feature replicas of the original sets Credit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour /Dan Wong Photography
The Warner Bros team have learned from the success of the London attraction Credit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour /Dan Wong Photography
Gringott’s Bank will feature in Tokyo Credit: Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour
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People
Sarah Roots

Japan is a core hub of Harry Potter fandom


Following the enormous success of Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter which has had more than 17 million visitors since its opening in March 2012, Warner Bros is opening a second Harry Potter Studio Tour in Tokyo, Japan, on 16 June 2023.

Built on the former site of the Toshimaen theme park, it will feature classic sets including the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest, as well as exclusive sets only available in the Toyko attraction. Visitors can also view costumes and props, learn about the filming techniques used to make the movies, and take part in activities including riding a broomstick, posing for a moving portrait in a Hogwarts hallway and being part of a crowd at a Quidditch match. Tickets are now available to pre-book. Adult tickets will cost ¥6,300 (£37.60/$47/E42.70) and junior tickets will cost ¥5,200 (£31/$38.50/£35). Anticipated dwell time is around four hours.

Here, Warner Bros’ Sarah Roots talks exclusively to Attractions Management about what the new attraction will feature, and the highs and lows of getting the project built.

How are plans progressing for the Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo? 
We have a talented team of the original Harry Potter filmmakers who have built sets, created props and designed costumes using the authentic techniques. This project has allowed more freedom for the team to create sets that weren’t kept after the films were made, which means the Tokyo tour will feature some really exciting new pieces.

The team created the pieces in the UK, then we shipped them to Japan and have been working collaboratively with local Japanese experts to complete the creative process and bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life.

Right now, the finishing touches are being put in place and the interactive elements installed. We’re so excited to be able to open the doors to the public soon.

What can you tell us about the exclusive sets that will only be available at the Tokyo tour? 
We’ll have the moving staircase from Hogwarts – a first – and this will be accompanied by a new interactive photo opportunity where visitors can appear in their own Hogwarts portrait.

The Tokyo tour will also include a Fantastic Beasts section which highlights digital technology in relation to the beasts in the films that wasn’t as advanced in the days of Harry Potter. Visitors will also get to explore new production spaces such as The Art of Sound that delves into the world of mixing, foley and sound effects.

The Tokyo tour is larger and has a huge amount of content so areas such as transition spaces where visitors pass from one set to another have been beautifully designed and show off costumes and props to an exceptional standard. We’re anticipating a longer dwell time as there is so much to experience.

Can you highlight any other exciting features of the Tokyo tour? 
We’ve learned from the success of Warner Bros Studio Tour London just how much our fans love hands-on interaction so that will be a big part of the experience. Fans will be able to take part in their favourite experiences from Warner Bros Studio Tour London like flying a broomstick or drinking a Butterbeer, as well as some that are new for Tokyo like posing for a moving portrait that will be displayed in the halls of Hogwarts. We’re even inviting fans to step into the crowd of a Quidditch match, to cheer on their favourite team.

Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo will also be home to the largest Harry Potter shop in the world.

The British-inspired menu in the Food Hall will serve Hogwarts favourite dishes such as roast beef, fish and chips and sausage and mash, while the Professor Umbridge tearoom will serve a magical themed afternoon tea in deliciously pink surroundings.

What excites you most about the project? 
Seeing the Studio Tour work through the construction, show fit out and current overlap into operations coming to life in Tokyo has been really special. I’m excited about the first fans walking through the doors on opening day. Welcoming Harry Potter enthusiasts (as opposed to business visitors) is always so uplifting – watching their emotional responses, shared experiences and excitement. Seeing the amazing reaction from fans when we launched the Studio Tour Tokyo opening date and put the tickets on sale to a record response has been incredible so I can’t wait for them to see it in person.

This tour is an extension to Warner Bros Studio Tour London in many aspects, we’ve been able to utilise all of the best assets in London, plus our operational knowledge and more-up-to date technology. It will be a good mix of fan favourites and new innovations.

The train stations serving the attraction are getting Harry Potter makeovers. What will this involve? 
The closest station to Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo, Toshimaen, will be undergoing a magical makeover to celebrate the opening of the Studio Tour – we’re working closely with our partners Seibu Railway to support the new opening. More details are coming.

The central Tokyo hub station Ikebukuro where visitors start their journey will be taking inspiration from Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross and wrapped trains will be showcasing scenes from the films.

How did you choose the site for Warner Bros Studio Tour Toyko?
We knew Tokyo would be the perfect location for the Studio Tour; it’s the first attraction of its type in Asia and Japan is a core hub of Harry Potter fandom. We found an amazing space at Toshimaen, located in Nerima-Ku on two direct train lines from Tokyo city and with car parking on site – pretty incredible for central Tokyo.

The advantage of building the Studio Tour from scratch has been the flexibility it’s allowed us – we’ve been able to enhance the design, take learnings from London, accommodate more space for the general reception and F&B/retail areas, and plan for future growth from day one.

We’ve been working with the original filmmakers in London since the concept plans, so we’ve had the benefit of being able to create the sets, props and costumes for Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo under their expert guidance, using the original moulds, methods and techniques. The UK based workshops where the assets were built and made had an amazing buzz.

What have been the biggest challenges of the project so far? 
We started feasibility, business planning and the site search for Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo back in 2017/18, and shook on a deal on the site at Toshimaen in December 2019. As we built up to launching the construction part of the project, COVID-19 hit and we had to carry on at pace during the pandemic. Not being able to travel until mid-2022 was a real challenge. We had to be agile and adjust our approach and management of the project on the ground as the situation changed.

Key areas of adjustment included the need for additional project management resources on the ground in Tokyo to supplement the physical absence of the core Warner Bros Discovery team. And the global rising cost of raw materials and construction related labour was a big challenge.

It’s been an amazing personal life opportunity to learn about another culture and appreciate a different approach to working – I’m still very much learning.

Tickets are available to pre-book for the Tokyo Studio Tour Credit: Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo
The Studio Tour Tokyo will feature replicas of the original sets Credit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour /Dan Wong Photography
The Warner Bros team have learned from the success of the London attraction Credit: Warner Bros. Studio Tour /Dan Wong Photography
Gringott’s Bank will feature in Tokyo Credit: Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour
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COMPANY PROFILES
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
Painting With Light

By combining lighting, video, scenic and architectural elements, sound and special effects we tell s [more...]
DJW

David & Lynn Willrich started the Company over thirty years ago, from the Audio Visual Department [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

08-08 May 2024

Hospitality Design Conference

Hotel Melià , Milano , Italy
10-12 May 2024

Asia Pool & Spa Expo

China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
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