Aerial view of the former Toshimaen site, which will finally open in June! Local residents have concerns about the Harry Potter Museum | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Aerial view of the former Toshimaen site, which will finally open in June! Local residents have concerns about the Harry Potter Museum

Cherry trees were cut down, sidewalks shrunk, and a parking lot for 50 buses was built

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The Harriotta Museum, photographed from above in March. The admission fee is 6300 yen, and it takes four hours to tour the museum, which is a very large facility.

It has been two and a half years since Toshimaen, a long-established amusement park in Nerima, Tokyo, was closed. On June 16, “Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo,” an entertainment facility where visitors can experience the world of “Harry Potter,” will finally open on the site of the former park.

Ahead of the opening, this magazine took drone photos of the facility from the sky. A huge white building that covers everything sits in the place where the roller coaster “Cyclone,” “Flying Pirates,” and other attractions that used to be the symbol of the amusement park were located. Outside the building, brick huts from the world of “Harry Potter” and a chessboard-like structure where Harry and his friends fought heated battles in the story can be seen. The upper part of the photo, the site of the pool that was famous for its “flowing pool,” will be developed as a metropolitan park.” The trees that were overgrown when construction began in 2009 have been cut down, and the land has been neatly cleared.

The “Studio Tour Tokyo” attracted worldwide attention when reservations began in March, with a flood of fans and server outages. However, this area is originally a quiet residential area. T-shima En,” which had been billed as a “water and green amusement park” and overgrown with trees, had been a favorite recreational spot for local residents for 94 years. The sudden construction of a world-class entertainment facility in such a tranquil location has the local community in a state of confusion.

The local people are in turmoil because a world-class entertainment facility is suddenly going to open in such an idyllic place. If that happens, this area will be flattened. I heard that a parking lot for 50 large buses is being built on the site, but the road is narrow, so I’m not sure if they will be able to get through…… I’m afraid it will become a traffic jam. Recently, only the road in front of the facility is under construction to narrow the sidewalk and widen the road. The construction work is noisy every day at night, and on windy days, there is dust flying around, which has led to complaints.

A woman in her 40s who has lived in the area since her parents’ generation also expressed her concerns after the park opened.

After Toshimaen closed, this area really looked like a ghost town. I’m sure it will come back to life when the park opens. …… Unlike the days of ‘Toshimaen,’ the local residents don’t seem to benefit from the food and souvenirs available only in this facility. The cherry trees I used to look forward to seeing every year have been cut down and there are fewer of them. I am afraid that if the Harry Potter operation fails, then nature will disappear and a large supermarket will be built in its place.

The “Memorandum of Understanding for the Development of Urban Planning Nerima Joshi Park (the former site of Toshimaen)” concluded between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Nerima Ward, Seibu Railway Company, Warner, the operator of the Studio Tour, and ITOCHU Corporation states the following about the period during which facilities can be installed.

The period during which studio tour facilities, etc. can be installed shall be 30 years from the date of commencement of operation.”

Will the facility be loved by local residents like Toshimaen by 2053?

The demolition of the building, which began in September after the park closed in August 2008. The “Flying Pirates” attraction, which slides up to 45 meters above the ground, still stands at the back left of the photo.
In June 2009, about a month after the construction of the “Harry Potter Museum” began. All the attractions have been removed. Toshimaen” was closed while Corona was temporarily closed.

From the April 14, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Shun Kirishima

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