Authenticity main focus of Japan’s first outdoor Legoland, chief says

Kyodo

Japan’s first outdoor Legoland has been created with much effort devoted to making its buildings appear more Lego-like before its opening in Nagoya in April, the head of the theme park said.

“We have put a huge effort in improving the park’s image, which is very much about . . . making it more authentic,” Torben Jensen, president of Legoland Japan, said in a recent interview.

He said most of the buildings and attractions at the park have been “scaled to Lego” because Lego blocks were actually used in the process of modeling them.

In addition to over 40 attractions, visitors will be able to see Lego re-creations of Japanese scenery and animals that took around 500,000 man-hours to produce.

Japan already has Legolands in Tokyo and Osaka, but both are indoor theme parks in shopping malls. The Nagoya park, the first full-scale outdoor facility of its kind in Japan, follows seven similar parks abroad.

Jensen said that unlike other theme parks in Japan, Lego’s new park is entirely dedicated to families with children aged between 2 and 12.

He said Legoland has taken various measures to accommodate young visitors, including smaller versions of roller coasters for children barred from regular rides due to safety reasons.

The park is also training staff to interact with young children by stooping down and speaking accordingly, he added.

As for the recent surge in foreign visitors to Nagoya and Japan, Jensen said he was looking forward to tapping some of the windfall.

“Obviously it is a big potential that we would be targeting moving forward,” he said.

Looking ahead, Jensen said his company has already secured a plot of land to expand the 9.3-hectare park by 40 percent and plans to open a Lego-themed hotel nearby in 2018 and an aquarium inside it.