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NEWS: Toshimaen to close in phases in 2020


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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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(Photo credit to bert425)

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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(Photo credit to bert425)

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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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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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I will miss that coaster with the plush armchair-like seats in it.

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Way Back When ~ Our Add-On Park in the TPR 2007 Japan Tour.

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The 2011 TPR Japan Tour. Summer Carnival back then, at the park.

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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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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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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...

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My Toshimaen dark ride WTF? opinion. TPR 2011 Japan Tour.

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^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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  • 4 months later...

Update on the timing of this project: 2023

 

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/06/c6ddeb6f7252-harry-potter-theme-park-to-open-in-tokyo-in-1st-half-of-2023.html

 

Harry Potter theme park to open in Tokyo in 1st half of 2023

KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS - 14 hours ago - 20:40 | All, Japan, Lifestyle

 

A 94-year-old amusement park Toshimaen in Tokyo will be closed at the end of August, its owner said Friday, and part of the site will be used for a new theme park based on the Harry Potter films, due to open in the first half of 2023.

 

Seibu Railway Co. signed a deal to sell a large part of the 22-hectare site to the Tokyo metropolitan government, which plans to build a park that will also be used as an emergency shelter space in the event of a disaster.

 

The railway company will lease part of the land to Itochu Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. will run the Harry Potter theme park.

 

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike welcomed the prospect of the theme park, which would be the second such facility in the world, following the one in London.

 

Toshimaen's closure is scheduled on Aug. 31, excluding a hot-spring spa. Seibu said the amusement park will reopen from Monday, except for the swimming pool area, after having been shut due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

 

Toshimaen, which opened in 1926, is one of the largest amusement parks in Tokyo with over 30 rides and attractions, including a wooden carousel that was made in Germany in 1907 and brought to the park in 1971.

 

It has also been famous for its various kinds of swimming pools such as a 350-meter, doughnut-shaped pool, which is said to be the world's first flowing pool.

Edited by larrygator
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Bummed that I never went to this place. I was going to squeeze in a visit here if I was going to Tokyo for the Olympics this August, but that's not happening now. I hope Yomiuriland is doing well, they seem to get a lot of the same demographic as Toshimaen but keep adding new rides and are close by. I have yet to visit them but plan on doing so on my next Tokyo visit next year.

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Granted I'm a huge Carousel fan, but for me, the biggest loss here (not just the Velvet Log Coaster- which I loved by the way; or the fantastic collection of Huss Flats - most all sitting on the roofs of buildings), is the Classic Carousel.

 

this thing is not only Historic (by way of Germany, thru Coney Island, then to Japan), and really one of a kind. . but it's drop dead gorgeous.

 

I'm hopeful that this will be saved/sold/moved somewhere to continue exisiting.

 

and I'm so happy that I got a chance to ride it (I was the only one in the little group I was hanging with during the visit to Toshimaen that went over to the Carousel on that afternoon).. I rode it alone, but I got to ride it multiple times, on all three rotating levels.

 

I really liked this park, and am sad it's going away.

 

but forever grateful for Robb/Elissa for bringing us here pre-official TPR trip, so I could experience it!

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^ Definitely one of the most unusual, and awesome carousels I'd ever seen and ridden. Great shots of it, Bert. Thanks for sharing them. And it would be fantastic if this found a home in another park.

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