Hogwarts: Osaka Edition

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka unveiled its newest attraction July 15: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features a huge recreation of Hogwarts Castle, the school for wizards that provides the setting for the popular book and movie series.

Photo: AP Photo
Harry Potter

About 3,000 people showed up for the event, and many had spent the previous night waiting in line.

Actor Tom Felton, who played adolescent antagonist Draco Malfoy in the film series, was there to provide some “magic words” to open the attraction, which cost about 45 million yen ($443,000) to build and includes state-of-the-art video technology that lets visitors experience flying over the castle with Harry Potter on a broomstick.

In related news, the number of visitors to USJ since the first of the year reached 10 million in the middle of March, the first time it has ever achieved that mark this early. Also, the operator of the theme park has said that it is considering bidding for a license to operate a casino complex in Osaka if the government eases regulations on gambling, as it is expected to do by the end of the year.

The envisioned complex would have a casino and theme park built on the artificial island of Yumeshima, in Osaka Bay, located about 3 kilometers from Universal Studios.