Harry Potter big in Japan

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iol travel march 16 potter tour2 SUPPLIED File photo: Dumbledore's office

Fans in Japan of boy wizard Harry Potter will soon be able to explore the magical world of Hogwarts when Universal Studios Japan expands its theme park with a half-billion dollar investment.

The company is going to boost the footprint of its park in Osaka, western Japan, by one fifth, with an area devoted to the Harry Potter phenomenon that is slated for opening in 2014, a spokesman said.

“We will build several attractions, including a school for wizards,” he said.

The blockbuster series has been a huge success in Japan, sparking long queues of costume-clad fans at bookstores every time the Japanese translation of a new novel was released.

Cinematic releases of each instalment have also proved wildly popular.

The operator of Universal Studios Japan, which opened in 2001, is a private firm licensed by the US Universal group.

It has attractions featuring Sesame Street, Peter Pan's Neverland, and the Land of Oz, among others. - Sapa-AFP

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