All the Potterheads in Japan waited a long time for this. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter finally opened its doors on Friday, June 16, 2023.

The Studio Tour is the world’s largest Harry Potter indoor facility exhibiting some never-before-seen, Tokyo-exclusive sets from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises. All were hand-crafted by the world’s best set designers using unique methods and techniques. What’s more, visitors can take part in fun, interactive experiences such as becoming one of the moving portraits in Hogwarts. Come with us on our journey back to Hogwarts and experience the magic and wonder of the Wizarding World.

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Welcome Back to Hogwarts

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express

Every Hogwarts student remembers their first train ride aboard the Hogwarts Express. There are many magical modes of transport in the Wizarding World, but none compare to the  train that departs from Platform 9 and 3/4.

The Many Halls and Rooms of Hogwarts

The Great Hall is a magnificent part of Hogwarts and has been the setting for many scenes during the entire 10 years of Harry Potter. Many feasts, dances and magical confrontations took place here. Production designer Stuart Craig sought to recreate and reference traditional English architecture. The cobblestone floors, narrow windows and wood-paneled walls were inspired by the Christ Church building at Oxford University in England.

While the real-life influences are obvious, the Great Hall is also tampered with plenty of magic, including an ever-changing ceiling and floating candles. Originally, real lit candles were used to create this whimsical atmosphere on set, but when one of the invisible wires caught on fire, the candles were added in post-production by the visual effects team. The feast for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone featured real, cooked meals, but the food had to be replaced at least twice a day to avoid unpleasant smells. From the second film onward, the staff poured resin to create food samples that could last days and sometimes weeks.

Take a Peek Inside the Gryffindor and Slytherin Common Rooms

According to Craig, “The Gryffindor common room is where Harry experiences home for the first time in his life. As such, the set was designed to be comfortable, with well-worn furniture, prioritizing comfort over glamour. To this end, some sofas were reupholstered in red velvet and beaten to ruin the springs, giving them a worn look as if they had been used for decades.”

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From the Gryffindor common room, a spiral staircase leads up to the boys’ dormitory. The set for the boys’ dormitory changed a lot over the years, but the beds remained the same from the first to the last film. As the actors grew older, the production crew had to get creative with camera angles to hide the fact that their bodies had grown larger than the beds. Over the years, each resident’s personal space was decorated to express their own individuality. Ron’s space, for example, was decorated with posters of his favorite Quidditch team.

In contrast to the warmth and coziness of the Gryffindor common room, the Slytherin common room was designed to have a cold and haughty feel to match the cunning and ambitious nature of its residents. According to Craig, the common room, located away from Hogwarts Castle and in the dungeons of the Black Lake, was made to “look like a space carved out of rock.” The black leather sofas and wooden chairs in the room creates an austere atmosphere and the tapestries on the walls are also devoid of any warm colors, casting a blue-green shadow over the entire set.

The Wonders of Dumbledore’s Headmaster’s Office

Deep within one of the tallest towers of Hogwarts Castle lies Dumbledore’s Headmaster’s office, consisting of three overlapping round rooms with portraits of the 48 former Hogwarts principals adorning its walls. This set reflects Dumbledore’s intense interest in space and the sky, with shelves lined with gleaming astronomical instruments, telescopes and star charts. Be sure to take a close look at these story-defining props, such as the Sorting Hat, the Sword of Gryffindor and Dumbledore’s Pensieve.

The Moving Portraits of Hogwarts

The Wizarding World is filled with portraits that move and speak, such as Sirius Black’s wanted poster in the Daily Prophet and portraits of former Hogwarts principals chatting in Dumbledore’s office. Join the ranks of fine witches and wizards and strike your favorite pose to join the many magical portraits that adorn the halls of Hogwarts.

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Around the Hogwarts Grounds

Visiting Hagrid’s Hut

Outside the Forbidden Forest is the friendly half-giant Rubeus Hagrid’s hut. The Studio Tour recreates Hagrid’s hut as it appeared in the films, eliminating the back wall so that visitors can walk around and explore. Visitors can also enjoy fun hidden elements in the set’s interior, from Norbert the Dragon’s egg to Ron’s slug-crawling bucket from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Discerning fans will also find Scabbers the rat hiding in one of Hagrid’s many pots and kettles.

Venturing into the Forbidden Forest

The Forbidden Forest is not for the faint of heart. Visitors can choose to head towards the warm glow of Hagrid’s hut or find themselves lost in the heart of the dark forest, which grows darker with every step taken. Whichever path you choose, you will encounter friendly magical beasts, including the hippogriff Buckbeak. But if you continue on into the dark, you’ll also come across fearsome dark creatures, such as a Dementor, a spirit-sucking demon that flits through the trees, and Aragog, an Acromantula that lurks in the darkness.

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Staples of the Wizarding World

Learn How to Ride a Broom

Discover the secrets of the green screen technology used in the Harry Potter series. Visitors get to fly around Hogwarts on a broomstick and escape from the ferocious Hungarian Horntail dragons that appeared in the Triwizard Tournament. Learn how to dodge and hide as if you were being chased by a fire-breathing dragon and become the Triwizard Tournament champion. You can even take home the edited footage from the green screen experience as a unique souvenir.

The Quidditch Experience

The Studio Tour invites you to a Hogwarts Quidditch match, where you get to be a spectator and cheer on your favorite Quidditch team. Kensho Ono, who voices Harry Potter in the Japanese-dubbed version of the films, teaches visitors about the magical origins of the sport of Quidditch.

Shop Around Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but has appeared many times in the series. A complete streetscape was created by changing the position of the walls and the rows of stores, as well as changing the angles of the entire building from side to side. During the filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, part of the Diagon Alley was transformed into the snow-covered Hogsmeade Village.

Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, the store that embodies Fred and George Weasley’s mischievous sense of humor, was designed to resemble an 18th-century storefront and took more than three months to build. Most of it was spent on building the 6-meter-tall moving mannequin that sits above the main entrance. Browse through 120 products designed by the graphic design team MinaLima.

While in Diagon Alley, don’t forget to check out Ollivanders, Gringotts, Madam Malkin’s Robes and other recognizable shops.

For more information, visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter official website. Advance reservations are necessary.