Harry Potter world coming to Japan

AFP-JIJI

Fans in Japan 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 $500 million investment.

The company is going to boost the footprint of its park in Osaka by one fifth, with an area devoted to the Harry Potter phenomenon that is slated for opening in 2014, a spokesman said Thursday.

“We will build several attractions, including a school for wizards,” he said.

James and Oliver Phelps, who played the Weasley Twins in the “Harry Potter” movies, were on hand Thursday for the official unveiling of the plan, the spokesman said.

The blockbuster series has been a huge success in Japan, sparking long lines of costume-clad fans at bookstores every time the Japanese translation of a new novel was released.

Cinematic releases of each installment have also proved wildly popular.

The operator of Universal Studios Japan, which opened in 2001, is a private firm licensed by the U.S. Universal group.

It has attractions featuring “Sesame Street,” “Peter Pan’s Neverland” and the “Land of Oz,” among others.