OSAKA — Universal Studios Japan has announced that it will open “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in late 2014. The sprawling attraction is modeled after the original Wizarding World that opened to the public within the Universal Orlando Resort in 2010, in the United States.
The Osaka attraction, which will feature replicas of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village in the only official Harry Potter theme park outside the U.S., will see Universal Studios Japan partner with Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts, with funding coming from several private investors including Goldman Sachs. Total construction costs are estimated to run in the region of 45 billion yen ($440 million).
As the completion date draws nearer, the scaffolding surrounding the nascent Hogwarts Castle has started to come down, revealing the sight of impressive spires to delighted fans who have been posting pictures on Twitter.
Outside the U.S., Japan is the largest market worldwide for the Harry Potter series. The films alone have grossed nearly $900 million at the box office and attracted more than 78 million moviegoers.
J.K. Rowling, author of the original book series said, “I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity, and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando. I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan.”
Elsewhere, trains on the JR Sakurajima line — which will provide a direct link to the theme park when it opens — have been running Harry Potter-themed ads on their sides since February to drum up advance interest in the Osaka attraction.