Tokyo is already home to the renowned Disney Resort (which encompasses both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea) and the much loved Sanrio Puroland but come 2023, Harry Potter will soon join the capital's list of theme parks.
It has been reported by NHK that Warner Bros is interested in opening a dedicated Harry Potter theme park in Tokyo, making it the franchise's second theme park in Japan. The first is Osaka's Universal Studios Japan with the inclusion of its Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion in 2014. However the new theme park will be solely dedicated to Mr Potter and his magical world alone.
This announcement follows after reports of one of Japan's oldest amusement park, Toshimaen closing its doors as a result of poor ticket sales in recent years. Given that today's park goers are often driven by social media hype and media franchises, it should come as no surprise that Toshimen's generic carnival like rides have become its greatest liability. To put things in perspective, at its peak in the 90s, Toshimaen could draw a consistent annual crowd of 4 million. In 2018, only 1,120,000 tickets were sold. Furthermore, ask any foreign tourists of it and you will be met with a confused look.
Park owner, Seibu Railway is considering closing the park down gradually and selling off the property which is where Warner Bros may come in. What a shame considering that Toshimaen has been opened since the 1920s and has been a part in the childhood experience for many Tokyolites.
NHK says that negotiations are still ongoing, and so details are scarce, including the potential scale of the project. Still, should the Harry Potter plan go through, it’ll make Nerima Ward, where Toshimaen is located, a major mecca for fans of the franchise and could potentially rejuvenate the area for tourism.