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Harry Potter theme park to open in Japan

A third Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is to open at Universal Studios’ Osaka site in 2014.

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Magical experience ... The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, which opened in 2010.

Japanese fans of boy wizard Harry Potter will soon be able to explore the magical world of Hogwarts when Universal Studios Japan expands its theme park with a half-billion dollar investment.

The company is going to boost the footprint of its park in Osaka, western Japan, by one fifth, with new attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter slated to open in 2014, a spokesman said Thursday.

“We will build several attractions, including a school for wizards,” he said. The company later added a recreation of wizarding village Hogsmeade would be among the attractions.

James and Oliver Phelps, who played the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter movies, were greeted by dozens of Harry Potter fans dressed as characters from JK Rowling’s books at the official announcement in Osaka.

This Japanese attraction will be the third of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks. The first was opened in 2010 as a section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure site at its resort in Orlando, Florida; a second, at Universal Studios park in Hollywood, California, is under construction and looks set to open in 2016. Hogwarts Castle will sit at the apex of each attraction, and visitors can also dine at the Three Broomsticks pub, pick up a wand at Ollivander’s store or snack on sweets from Hogsmead’s famous Honeyduke’s sweet shop.

Demand is likely to be high at the new Japanese Potter park. The seven films in the series have grossed more than $893m in Japan and been seen in cinemas by more than 78 million people.

“I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando,” said Rowling. “I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan.”

Brad Globe of Warner Brothers, the studio behind the movie franchise, said the Universal Studios Japan expansion was a boon for Harry buffs.

“Harry Potter continues to captivate generations of fans around the world and we are delighted to announce this partnership… that will allow us to bring the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Asia,” he said.

“We think this is the perfectly timed next step in bringing the magical world of Harry Potter to life for even more fans.”

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