The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter finally opened on June 16, 2023! Luckily, we had a first look behind the veil.
Check out this guide to find out how to save your galleons and not spend it all on Butterbeer.
Potterheads can also get their fix of Polyjuice Potion at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal Studios Japan theme park.
What is The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter?
The Tokyo Potter experience isn’t an amusement park. In other words, don’t expect to ride a Hippogriff roller coaster. There are, however, interactive experiences, such as becoming a spectator of a Quidditch match and riding a broomstick.
The main fun to be had is touring the likes of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and the Ministry of Magic and seeing actual displays of sets, costumes, and props. Some of these attractions will be recreations, but others will be the authentic article used in the films.
Since the Tokyo Tour promises to give fans a unique way to experience the wizarding world of Harry Potter, you could argue that it’s better than an amusement park.
How to get there¥188
13 minutes from Ikebukuro to Toshimaen
The Studio Tour was built from the ashes of the old Toshimaen theme park in Nerima City, which is only about a 15-minute train ride from central Tokyo (Ikebukuro). The nearest train station is Toshimaen on the Oedo and Ikebukuro/Toshima lines, and the entrance is around a 5-minute walk away — spot the stag and doe patronus statues. They also have a big parking complex if you’d prefer to drive.
Look out for the Ikebukuro and Toshimaen railway stations to get a Harry Potter makeover — you might be able to board the train at Platform 9 ¾ to get there.
Getting tickets to the Studio Tour¥6,300 for adults
Get tickets here
The Tour requires all bookings to be made in advance and distributes visitor arrivals evenly to prevent congestion. This means you won’t have to wait in massive queues, regardless of popularity.
There are three main prices: ¥6,300 for adults, ¥5,200 for ages 12–17, and ¥3,800 for ages 4–11. Under 4s enter for free. Tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. You can buy from the official website — although be warned, in true British style, you may end up waiting in a queue — or from other ticketing websites like Klook.
What to see and do at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
The tour is split up into an indoor soundstage and outdoor backlot areas. The indoor soundstage will contain most of the main attractions like the film sets, while the outdoor backlot will showcase iconic houses, vehicles, several sculptures, and an outdoor seating area. You’ll find props and costumes throughout, so keep an eye out.
Explore the Harry Potter sets
Note: When you first enter, there won’t be any bathrooms for around an hour.
Be sorted at the Great Hall
The Hogwarts Great Hall will be the first set you happen upon after exiting from the cinema. Find costumes worn by some of the actors and other props. You can even spot Dumbledore, Snape, and teachers at the top of the hall, as well as overhearing part of the sorting ceremony.
Here you’ll get a taste of what it would be like to work, sleep, and study at Hogwarts. Walk around classrooms and watch potions brew independently, take a Defence Against the Dark Arts class, or grab a book from the library. You’ll see Slytherin and Gryffindor common rooms, as well as dormitories, Dumbledore’s office — including his Pensieve billowing mist — and moving staircases.
Go out of bounds in the Forbidden Forest
Try not to get killed — or worse, expelled — when you venture into the forest. Large trees and creepy sounds make this section very atmospheric but be warned, those who have arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) might want to give the end a miss.
Where it all began
Once you’ve made it through the Forbidden Forest and past Hagrid’s Hut, you’ll come across a very familiar-looking house — Number 4 Privet Drive. Placed outdoors (where houses should be), Harry’s original home is surrounded by a giant wizard’s chess set, the bright blue Weasley car, Hagrid’s motorbike, and the Knight Bus. You can even go inside the home and relive unforgettable book and movie moments.
Board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾
While the real steam train — and station — is still in London, this version was created as a direct copy. Sounds and smoke bring it to life and there are many iconic photos to be shot here, including an overloaded luggage cart (or trolley) on its way back to the muggle world. You can even go inside the train and get a glimpse of some memorable scenes from the movies over the years. The Railway Shop is also on the platform and provides wands, robes, and other products.
Tip: The final gift shop may have very long queues, so buy something here if you want to grab your souvenirs quickly.
Save your galleons at Diagon Alley
One of the best moments of the London Tour was Diagon Alley and Tokyo also doesn’t disappoint. The rickety, lopsided shops are infused with realism, from Gringotts Wizarding Bank to Ollivanders wand shop and the colorful, enigmatic exterior of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. You can peek into cobwebbed windows and listen to the moment Harry gets his wand.
Floo away in the Ministry of Magic
The Ministry of Magic set is unique to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo and it is more than impressive. Its walls alone are around 9 meters tall and it was constructed by the filmmakers who worked on the Harry Potter films. The emerald green tiles and central statue transport you into the working world of a wizard. You can also step into a Floo fireplace yourself and recreate the feeling of arriving for a day on the job.
Interactive experiences at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
The tour isn’t all about walking around and looking at stuff, you’ll also get to put on your best wizard or witch face for photos and videos numerous times: Be on the wall of moving portraits and do your best Fat Lady impression; become a spectator at a game of Quidditch and cheer on your house team; find your face on a wanted poster; ride a broomstick through central London; and see if you can pronounce Diagon Alley while using Floo powder.
Some of these experiences will come with a free download of your photo/video — you’ll need to use a QR code — and others like the broomstick experience will require you to pay quite a bit extra for physical or digital copies.
Behind the magic
When you aren’t using up all your phone space taking photos, you’ll find pockets of information about the process behind the films. Experience the whole of the Potterverse; sound, creature, set, costume, SFX, VFX, and endless design departments all get their moments to shine. Eddie Redmayne, the lead actor in The Fantastic Beasts films, even makes a virtual appearance.
What to eat and drink at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
There are four places to stop for Harry Potter-inspired snacks and drinks along the tour. The Backlot Café and Butterbeer Bar will be situated halfway through and the Food Hall and Frog Cafe will be waiting for you at the start or end of your tour.
Everyone will be scrambling to buy the very sweet, butterscotch-flavored Butterbeer at the world’s largest Butterbeer Bar. A glass does cost a steep ¥1,100, but you can take home the tankard it comes in.
There are some British favorites at Backlot Café, including afternoon tea for ¥6,500 per person (you can’t book this in advance), Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) set for ¥2,900, and — our recommendation — pumpkin soup for a reasonable ¥400.
There’s also a ton more to try at the Food Hall — where you can sit below banners as if you were in the Great Hall — and the Frog Cafe.
What to buy at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
Apart from the Railway Shop on Platform 9 ¾, there is only one other gift shop at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo and it is the world’s largest Studio Tour Shop. You can buy a whole host of wizard-related products and exclusive items, and it is the only store of its kind that offers a whopping seven products for personalization: Hogwarts acceptance letters, wands, robes, t-shirts, trunks, accessories, and notebooks. Of course, there are limitations; you can’t betray your house and have yellow lettering on a green Slytherin t-shirt.
You can also let the wand choose you, get a robe fitting, try Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (shockingly ¥1,900) and other snacks, as well as buy jewelry and accessories, socks, mugs — you name it. It’s not cheap, so beware of overspending.
Is it in Japanese or English?
There will always be some form of English-language support, be it subtitles on videos, text below props, or an audio guide. The latter is useful for minor explanations that will be spoken in Japanese, such as in the poster room.
Some of the staff may have limited English-language capabilities, but there will always be someone around who can help.
How long does the tour take?
They recommend four hours for the tour and that’s exactly the time it took for us — this included a stop for some Butterbeer and snacks. It may take more or less depending on what you desire to do and how busy it gets.
How big is it?
The tour covers around 30,000 square meters (approximately four Quidditch fields), so we recommend wearing good muggle shoes.
Is it sustainable?
The Toshimaen area is well known for its green landscape, so Warner Bros and Co have committed to preserving the green space and making sustainability a key principle. New trees will be planted to replace old ones to maintain the greenery. From an economic perspective, the Tour will aim to create local job opportunities and drive much-needed growth in tourism.
How many other Studio Tours are there?
The two main tours are the original Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and this newly opened Tokyo tour. There is also Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, but this only features some Harry Potter artifacts. There is also as a large store in New York.
Overall, Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter is an immersive, entertaining, and educational experience, so there’s plenty to look forward to.