The Most Anticipated Additions to Japan

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  • For tourists and residents alike, projects in Japan offering entertainment value are among the most exciting and anticipated ones. Despite a global pandemic causing havoc to many industries and halting projects, Japan is still expected to see some very big and important projects that have many people patiently waiting for and which are projected to bring in a vast amount of visitors.

    Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter

    Located in Toshimaen, Nerima, The Making of Harry Potter is expected to open in 2023. Being the second location in the world after the very popular tourist magnet one in London, The Making of Harry Potter will capitalize on the devotion Japanese masses have for Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasly, and the world that was depicted in the very popular movies.

    The site will occupy 30,000 square meters, and will include movie sets built onsite as well as a plaza for people to relax and chat. Nerima is one of Tokyo’s quietest wards, being outside of the Yamanote Line and being an important territory for Seibu Railway (which is also participating in the project).

    Toshimaen Station is served by the Toshima Line and the Oedo Line, the Oedo Line being particularly important for those staying in the city center and wishing to visit the Studio Tour. With the opening of The Making of Harry Potter, Nermia would expect to benefit from an increasing number of visitors.

    Ghibli Park

    Located in Aichi, much has been speculated about the upcoming Ghibli park, both positive and negative, but despite the worries some people have voiced, the theme park is still one of the most anticipated additions to Japan’s ever-growing entertainment landscape. Nagoya, while being one of the biggest and most important cities in Japan thanks to its strong economy (Toyota is headquartered in Aichi Prefecture), is often overlooked by tourists, particularly foreign ones. It’s something that Nagoya can’t wrap its head around. Nagoya is a fantastic city, and it’s conveniently located between the popular metropolitan areas that include Tokyo and Yokohama, and Osaka and Kyoto, meaning that foreign tourists who take the shinkansen to visit both Kansai and Kanto always pass by Nagoya without batting an eyelid.

    Aichi has tried to bring in more foreign visitors, the opening of LEGOLAND being a good example, but the park never brought in the numbers that investors had expected. Ghibli Park might just cast the spell that Aichi has been waiting for. The Ghibli brand is incredibly beloved both domestically and internationally, so the opening of a Ghibli theme park would make people who hadn’t considered a stop in Nagoya to add it to their itineraries. Ghibli Park will be located on the outskirts of Nagoya, making it more likely that people will decide to book a night in Nagoya than visit the park as part of a one-day trip.

    Fantasy Springs

    When the Oriental Land Company announced it would spend about 2.3 billion dollars on a new addition to the already fantastic Tokyo DisneySea park, Disney theme park fans around the world felt their hearts sink for a second. The figure itself is wondrous, being between four to five times higher than what Universal Studios Japan spent on their now open and well-received Super Nintendo World.

    This new area, whose entrance will be located in the quiet corner that connects Lost River Delta (home to the Indiana Jones rides) and Arabbian Coast, will include attractions of Peter Pan, Frozen, and Tangled, all beloved films with strong fanbases. Particularly exciting is the addition of Tangled since it’ll mark the first ever attraction based on the film.

    Fantasy Springs will also include what the Oriental Land Company describes as the most luxurious hotel in the Tokyo Disney Resort. This is something that has many people curious since the resort’s three main hotels (Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, Disney Ambassador Hotel, Tokyo DisneySea Hotel Miracosta) are already very expensive five-star properties. The Tokyo Disney Resort will also welcome a Toy Story hotel, located between Hilton Tokyo Bay and Hotel Okura Tokyo Bay, which will offer more budget-friendly accommodations.

    Integrated Resorts

    It will be years since we are finally able to see the integrated resorts Japan plans to build. Japan is an untapped market for casinos, and one they expected to be among the most profitable after, in 2018, Japan decided to allow casinos in the country by giving three licenses. After the announcement, some cities showed their interest, which was needed in order for casino operators to submit bills (if a city does not express interest, then casinos cannot be built there). Osaka was one of the first cities to say they wanted casinos, and other cities like Nagasaki, Wakayama, and Yokohama followed.

    Naturally, the announcement also brought local opposition from some of residents of those cities since they worried that the presence of legal gambling and casinos would result in deterioration to their cities’ safety and overall environment.

    However, what was initially going to be an exciting bidding war between casino operators to get one of the coveted three licenses has been decimated, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MGM Resorts ended up being the sole operator bidding for license in Osaka; Wakaya is still dreaming of having an integrated resort, but their favorite bidder pulled out, leaving the city with a sole bidder: Clairvest Neem Ventures. When Yokohama announced its interest in having an integrated resort, many casino operators moved their gaze to Kanto, considering Yokohama a very attractive city due to its proximity to Tokyo. However, Macao giant Galaxy Entertainment Group pulled out, again, because of the woes the pandemic had caused.

    Still, despite the troubling developments, Japan is expected to be a big gambling market once borders reopen and tourism restarts; but it’s still anyone’s guess what the integrated resorts will be like and where they will actually be.

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