Universal Studios Japan will open its version of the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park on July 15. The expansion of the park in Orlando, which will include the Hogwarts Express train and re-creation of Diagon Alley from J.K. Rowling's books and movies, will also open this summer.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products joined Universal in Osaka, Japan, to announce the opening of the park Friday.
Like the Universal park in Orlando, Universal Studios Japan is expected to benefit from a significant boost of visitors once the "Wizarding World" opens this summer.
The completion of the themed area comes as Universal Studios Japan counted 10 million visitors for the second time in March, the first time USJ has achieved the milestone since the park's opening in 2001.
In attendance at the launch announcement were Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador of the United States of America to Japan; art director and production designer for the Harry Potter films, Stuart Craig; actress Evanna Lynch, who played "Luna Lovegood" in the "Harry Potter" film series; architect Tadao Ando; and Universal Studios Japan ambassadors, and beloved musical act, SMAP.
(Above from L-R:) U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Glenn Gumpel, president and CEO of Universal Studios Japan; Evanna Lynch, "Luna Lovegood" from the "Harry Potter" films; architect Tadao Ando; and Stuart Craig, production designer on the "Harry Potter" film series
When Prime Minister Abe and Ambassador Kennedy announced the opening date, Hogwarts castle was illuminated with a light show and fireworks. Lynch led the guests in casting the spell "Lumos!" followed by more fireworks.
"We cannot wait for the July 15 opening. 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' will be a wonderful addition to Universal Studios Japan and will contribute to energizing Osaka and the local economy," said Prime Minister Abe.
"Harry Potter inspired a generation of children to love reading ... and when they are not reading, I hope they come to 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,'" Ambassador Kennedy said.