Care for butter beer at Three Broomsticks? Perhaps a chocolate frog from Honeydukes? Or would you prefer just looking around Hogsmeade?
Such questions would surely set off shrieks from Harry Potter fanatics. And to think they are not anywhere near London! Smacked right in the middle of age-old Osaka in Japan, Universal Studios has opened its newest theme park: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s the latest addition to the myriad of sights and scenes a tourist gets to experience in Osaka. And more than anything else, it proves Japan’s self-styled docility to worldwide trends and the latest craze – a trait that has made it a topnotch tourism site and one of the most visited places in the world.
Universal Studios Japan is listed among the highest-grossing theme parks in the world, with over 10 million visitors lining up to see its ten attractions, including The Wizarding World. It’s projected that Harry Potter is appealing enough to mostly Asian fans to draw in record-high visits towards year-end. In fact, since the new theme park opened this July, ticket sales have tripled.
Stepping into the park is like being transported to the world that J.K. Rowling has ingeniously created: Hogwarts School of Wizardry, Hogsmeade, and the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. Still, the highlight of the entire experience is the exciting gastronomic treats at the Three Broomsticks where they serve traditional British dishes like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and, for larger groups, the great feast platter. Then, like Harry Potter wearing his invisibility cloak, you can whisk your way into the Hog’s Head, where they serve some interesting concoctions for young and old alike. Sip on pumpkin juice and butterbeer to refresh your wizarding skills. For older wizards, they serve draft beer and some great choices of wines and spirits.
And one more thing: always keep your magic wand on hand, just in case Voldemort suddenly shows up as you wander about.