NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Portion of the park used by possible Harry Potter attraction
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NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby jedimaster1227 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:20 am

It looks like Toshimaen as it exists today will begin to close in phases over the coming year, with much of the park land to become a evacuation shelter for use in the event of a major earthquake, with the remaining land in contention for a Harry Potter attraction akin to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter‎.

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https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/02/baf96a06e69d-harry-potter-theme-park-expected-to-open-in-tokyo.html

A park based on the Harry Potter film franchise is expected to open in Tokyo around spring 2023, replacing 94-year-old amusement park Toshimaen, a source close to the matter said Monday.

Seibu Holdings Inc., the parent company of Toshimaen's operator, is considering closing the park in stages from this year, and is in talks with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., founder of the franchise based on the children's novels written by British author J.K. Rowling, the source said.

The U.S. film distributor is discussing opening a park featuring reproductions of sets of Harry Potter films, the source said.

It would be similar to "Warner Bros. Studio Tour London -- The Making of Harry Potter," a facility in London that lets visitors experience the wizardly world through costumes, sets and props, the source said.

USJ LLC, the operator of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, western Japan, invested some 45 billion yen ($414 million) to create a Potter-themed attraction area in 2014 on the site, which includes a virtual-reality ride and a rollercoaster themed on the wizardly world.

Toshimaen opened in 1926 and is one of the biggest amusement parks in the capital, with over 30 rides and attractions, including a wooden carousel that was manufactured in Germany in 1907 and brought to the park in 1971, and a double-flip rollercoaster.

It also has a variety of swimming pools such as a 350-meter, doughnut-shaped pool, said to be the world's first flowing pool, and a hot-spring spa.

The Tokyo metropolitan government plans to buy most of the 22-hectare site to use as an evacuation shelter during a major earthquake. The new theme park will occupy only part of the site.

Warner is expected to rent land for the theme park, the source said, adding a formal decision could be made this spring.
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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby DirkFunk » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:30 am

I'll believe it being a Harry Potter attraction when I see it.

The peak days for the Japanese coaster scene are long over and there's just a couple players left and a bunch of places that seem to be biding their time before they go out of business.

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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby SharkTums » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:30 pm

This is sad, and I actually had hope for the park after visiting this fall and actually seeing an almost healthy crowd level. But if they can really rent to WB and make it a Harry Potter Studio Tour type attraction in Tokyo they will make more money than they know what to do with so I can't see the park surviving at all how it is now.

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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby Nrthwnd » Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:45 pm

I will miss that coaster with the plush armchair-like seats in it.
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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby sfkk » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:08 pm

If you look at the reasons behind this it is quite interesting. Japan is one of the very best countries in the world for gender equity. Even more so than the rest of the developed world, women are choosing to take higher lines of work and subsequently choosing to have less children. The Japanese government has even been trying to essentially give tax incentives to people to have kids, but nothing has really been working. Japan does not have high immigration rates (of which first generation immigrants are statistically more likely to have more children) like the US, so the population is shrinking and aging. Schools and amusement parks are already becoming the first victims of this phenomenon, of which there are sure to be more.

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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby Nrthwnd » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:42 pm

^ If that's the case, then I do hope that Hanayashiki Park (opened in 1853) holds on forever!

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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby SharkTums » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:47 pm

Some interesting figures in this article:

https://soranews24.com/2020/02/04/brand-new-all-harry-potter-theme-park-could-be-opening-in-tokyo/

Unfortunately, Toshimaen’s nondescript attractions, such as a generic roller coaster, carousel, and bumper cars, have saddled it with a bland image, and it’s been struggling to attract guests in recent years. After welcoming roughly four million visitors annually during the ‘90s, Toshimaen sold just 1,120,000 tickets in 2018.


NHK says that negotiations are still ongoing, and so details are scarce, including the potential scale of the project. For comparison, Universal Studios Japan, as a whole, sits on 54 hectares (133.4 acres), whereas Toshimaen sits on 22. NHK also reports that the Tokyo municipal government is interested in purchasing a large chunk of Toshimaen to convert into a park and potential natural disaster evacuation reserve area, meaning Wanrer Bros. may end up with less than the full 22 hectares to play with. Still, should the Harry Potter plan go through, it’ll make Nerima Ward, where Toshimaen is located, a major mecca for fans of the franchise.

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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby Nrthwnd » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:12 pm

I must admit, Toshimaen had one of the "blandest" dark rides I had ever been on. Period.

But then - there was that awesome Toys 'R Us nearby... :lover:
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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby PKI Jizzman » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:44 am

Oh man Log Coaster would be a great Flight of the Hippogriff! It better stick around if all of this news comes true.
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Re: NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020

Postby jedimaster1227 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:51 am

^I can't imagine that if the Harry Potter thing goes through, that any of the rides from the current park will be retained. I'm pretty sure Universal has exclusivity rights when to a theme park-style experience for Harry Potter, so if Warner Bros is really considering doing something with the property there, it has to be something that doesn't violate their existing agreement with Universal like a studio tour.
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