Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter opened its doors on June 16 at the former site of Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo's Nerima Ward. It's an invitation for all fans to dive into the enchanting wizarding world of the beloved Harry Potter film series. As someone who's been obsessed with the books since fourth grade (and has seen the films countless times) I couldn't contain my excitement to finally experience the magic firsthand.
Studio Tour Tokyo is operated by Warner Bros Studio Japan based in Tokyo's Minato Ward. After its successful debut in London, the Harry Potter studio tour in Tokyo is the second of its kind globally. Spanning a vast area of 90,000 square meters (22 acres), Studio Tour Tokyo provides an immersive walkthrough adventure.
The intricately designed sets and props, magical creatures and objects, and behind-the-scenes explanations unravel the secrets behind the making of the Harry Potter movies.
Watch Out, Menacing Dragon Ahead!
The studio tour is full of thrilling encounters, as I soon found out when I came face to face with a fearsome dragon. It's the dragon that Harry fought while soaring on his broomstick in the fourth film.
Behind a set of heavy doors is the iconic Great Hall of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Long dining tables are meticulously arranged, as if a sumptuous lunch for Harry and his friends is about to be served. At the back are Albus Dumbledore and other faculty members, dressed just like in the films. Also, don't miss the Sorting Hat patiently perched on a stool. Along the wall are hourglasses proudly displaying the house points.
Gryffindor vs Slytherin
Next are the Gryffindor common room and boys' dormitory, the cozy abode of Harry and his fellow housemates. It has an inviting atmosphere with rich red hues, creating a warm and welcoming vibe. In contrast, dare to venture into the common room of Gryffindor's fiercest rival Slytherin, and you'll be greeted by a dark ambiance with black leather sofas, hard wooden chairs, and cold tones. The sets and props illustrate the unique traits and characteristics of each house.
On Platform 9 ¾, marvel at the iconic Hogwarts Express with its red carriages. Relaxing in the train's compartments are the protagonists at different stages of the film series. Outside, the iconic trolley can be seen going through a brick wall.
One of the many highlights of the studio tour is the full-scale replica of the London Ministry of Magic. Another is the café, where you can treat yourself to some fizzy "butterbeer." The sweet, creamy magical beverage will remind fans of when Hermione Granger gave herself a "white mustache" from drinking butterbeer.
As you continue your journey, explore the diverse range of sets and exhibits, from the bustling Diagon Alley to the mysterious Forbidden Forest and even the Headmaster's office. The impressive detail and quality of the sets bring iconic movie scenes to life.
Fun and Magic for All
The studio tour's staff members, called "Interactors," are there to share in your excitement. Studio Tour Tokyo is a walk-through experience that can be enjoyed alone. Therefore, the Interactors enhance the experiential value through friendly interactive communication, according to Naoki Onozato, the Head of Show Experience at Warner Bros Studio Japan.
Furthermore, Onozato explains that the studio caters to Harry Potter fans at every level, from die-hard enthusiasts to those who have only seen the movies once. Whether visiting alone or as a family of three generations, there is plenty of fun for everyone. Additionally, Onozato emphasizes that the studio offers both entertainment and learning. It piques the visitors' interest in how film creators bring literary worlds to the big screen.
While the original storyline may have concluded, the Harry Potter series continues to thrive through stage adaptations and various other mediums. Onozato hopes that the studio tour will ignite further interest in the series. "I hope that being immersed in the world of Harry Potter will make our visitors want to rewatch the films," he says.
To visit Studio Tour Tokyo, make reservations for specific dates and times through the official website. Ticket prices are ¥6,300 JPY for adults, ¥5,200 JPY for ages 12 to 17, and ¥3,800 JPY for ages 4 to 11.
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Video by: Shaun Fernando