Exploring Japan: Tokyo’s Akasaka Station Welcomes Harry Potter


Calling all Harry Potter fans! Tokyo’s Akasaka Station and the shopping street just behind it have been transformed into a franchise-themed wizarding wonderland. So even if your Hogwarts acceptance letter never arrived, you can still visit Diagon Alley.

The stairs inside the station and the small mall around it are fully Harry Potter-themed – including a cafe, costume display and specialty store – to promote the Akasaka ACT theater production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child premieres July 8.

The region’s magical facelift began on June 16. A closing date for the Hogwarts motif has yet to be announced but will likely match the piece’s 10 month runtime.

The journey begins with the staircase from the station to the theater, lined with more than 40 portraits of witches and wizards from the series and featuring a huge time turner as its centerpiece. Once above ground, visitors are greeted by the sound of John William’s whimsical, melodic score and the sight of banners depicting Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin draped over the buildings like a Quidditch match. The path then leads to more immersive pop-ups including the Harry Potter Café and a gift shop. A statue of Hedwig, Harry’s beloved owl, perches on the roof of the shop.

Since Akasaka Station is the only Harry Potter attraction in Tokyo, and visitors had to travel all the way to Universal Studios Japan to see something similar, the exhibit was quite crowded, even on a Tuesday afternoon. The Harry Potter Café is fully booked until August 31, but there is a take-out window that does not require a reservation. Customers receive a return ticket to return to place their order. I had a three hour wait when I left around noon. You will also receive a return ticket to access the Harry Potter Mahou Dokoro shop.

The shop is worth a visit as its windows are lined with wands and potions, huge golden snitches hang from the ceiling, and the merchandise is unique from what I’ve seen at Universal. There are also fun photo opportunities with a Lego display and a trolley that makes it look like you are entering Platform 9 ¾.

The cafe’s take-out menu is different from the restaurant’s and features a variety of specialty drinks and scones, as the series is set in London after all. The scones are flavored with strawberry, blueberry, citrus, and kiwi to match the color of their corresponding houses. I tried the scones inspired by the two houses I believe I would ride if I were a student of wizardry – Slytherin and Ravenclaw. They cost around $4 each. You can purchase a take-out keepsake box depicting your Hogwarts house for an additional $1.50.

Drinks, from mocktails to sparkling fruit nice in this heat, come in collectible bottles and cost around $10. They also come with a homemade charm.

Nearby stores are also taking part in the theme, including Tully’s Coffee, offering limited-run products like mugs, thermoses and tote bags.

You can purchase Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets online at the Akasaka ACT Theater website. Tickets range from $50 to $150. The show runs until May 2023.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is written by Jack Thorne from a story by JK Rowling, Thorne and John Tiffany. It debuted in London’s West End in 2016 and opened on Broadway in 2018. The Tokyo show will be the first time the play has premiered in Asia. The story takes place 19 years after the events of the last novel. Grammy-winning artist Imogen Heap composed the music for the piece.

The Tokyo production’s opening cast includes Tatsuya Fujiwara as Harry Potter, Hayami Seina as Hermione Granger, and Ryota Takeyama as Ronald Weasley.

The play was critically acclaimed and swept at the 2018 Tony Awards, garnering six awards, including Best Play.

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