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Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo – that was absolutely brilliant!

I am a Potterhead; there is no denying it. I queued for each book on release day and rushed to see each movie on the big screen. I then re-read and re-watched them all many times over the years, so it is absolutely no surprise that when I heard the Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo was open, I booked our tickets and headed along to check it out as soon as possible just like we did when Harry Potters Wizarding World opened at Universal Studios in Osaka.

Let’s start with an overview of the Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo and some of our highlights from the day. We’ll drop some tips along the way and then cover other common questions at the end. If you have a specific question, please skip directly to that section using the index.

This is an official Warner Brothers Studio Tour, which includes studio sets, props, costumes, and information directly from the cinematic production of the films. It is not a theme park. There are some interactive activities, but no rides, and no characters are walking around in costume. There are plenty of visitors in robes, though, and that is OK here, even encouraged.

Getting to the Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo

The large footprint of the venue and park means that the Harry Potter Studio Tour is not located centrally in the city, but it is easily accessed by train to Toshimaen Station. There are actually two Toshimaen stations, one on the Seibu Line (an above-ground train) and another for the subway. Which one you arrive on will depend on where you are starting, but they are next to each other, and it really doesn’t matter either way.

If you take the Seibu Line from Ikebukuro, your Harry Potter journey starts before you even get on the train. You will notice that the Ikebukuro station platform is decorated as Kings Cross and the Toshimaen Station as Hogsmeade. It is a fun touch if you can build it into your plan for the day, but it isn’t worth detouring if you can take the subway directly from where you are staying.

It’s a very short walk from the station to the park gates, which are open from 8:30 a.m. The first tour starts at 9 a.m. The surrounding park has some great statues of the basilisk and other characters, and walking through the big trees sets the scene for what is to come.

A basilisk in the park outside the Harry Potter Studio Tokyo
Queue at the entrance of Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo

The Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo experience

We booked our tickets for the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour online with Klook as soon as we confirmed our Tokyo dates and flights. Ticket sales are open for the current month and three months ahead. It seems a long time in advance, but getting on to it as early as possible is the best way to get the date and time that you want.

We decided on the 10am tour. We planned to arrive about an hour before our tour started but knew we had a 40 minute train trip to get there so didn’t want to have to start out from the hotel too early. That would then make lunch at the half way point at a reasonable time. It worked out pretty well.

Remember to arrive earlier than the time on your ticket. At the ticket time, you will start the tour, which is done in a group for everyone with that same ticket time. The first couple of tour sections are structured, but after that, you continue at your own pace, and the initial crowd spaces out.

The Entrance Foyer

When you arrive at the studio, you’ll walk through the park to the main building. There will probably be a queue, but ours moved very fast. They check your ticket, and you go through a security check, where they may look inside your bag. Normal bags and small backpacks can stay with you throughout the day, but larger bags and luggage must be checked into the cloakroom. We didn’t need to store anything, but it seemed an easy and streamlined process.

You are now in the entrance foyer. From here, you have a large open central space with seating, the queue where you enter the tour, the gift shop, the Great Hall, aka the Food Hall restaurant and Frog Cafe, bathrooms and the cloakroom to hand in or collect items. You will start and end your tour in this space.

The food hall and Frog Cafe all decked out in house colours
The Food Hall is where you can get a full meal, or try the Frog Cafe for a surprisingly decent coffee and themed cakes
The gift shop at Warner Brothers Studio Tour Tokyo
The gift shop is accessible either before or after your tour. You can deck yourself out with a wand and wizarding robes or take home your own box of chocolate frogs.

Setting the Stage

We don’t want to give big spoilers here, so we’ll keep to the information necessary to understand the flow of the day and the facilities available so everyone can make any necessary plans for their circumstances.

You’ll line up at the door ahead of your ticket time, and they’ll check the time on your ticket. In the first section, you walk through the castle hallways, with posters from the movies and wizarding photos moving and talking all around you. Once everyone is assembled in the larger room, an audiovisual presentation sets the stage for the tour before you move through to the theatre and take a seat for the introduction. This is likely the only point you will sit down before the halfway point.

While waiting here, they have QR codes to scan to get set up for the interactive activities inside. Don’t worry if you miss it; you can do it while in line for the first activity.

Waiting to enter the Great Hall

The first hall

The Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo is divided into roughly two halves, although we spent a bit longer in the first half.

While you can get a digital guide to wear around your neck to give you additional information in English and several other languages, it really isn’t required for English speakers. Where the audio is in Japanese, there are English subtitles, and the information boards provide good English information. We have used digital guides in the past at various attractions and found them more of a hindrance than a help, so we skipped them this time.

The moving staircase at the Making of Harry Potter in Tokyo

The Hogwarts moving marble staircases zoomed overhead to show how they actually worked. Although we saw many different flights of stairs move in the movie, only one of the staircases on set actually moved. The rest was done with a miniature model staircase and green screen filming to place the actors into the scaled scene.

Filming the crowd for Quiddich tower grandstand

While the studio does not offer rides, it does have quite a few interactive exhibits that help explain how various cinematic effects work. One activity is participating as part of the crowd in the grandstands, cheering on your Hogwarts team during a quidditch match.

Dumbledores office at the Making of Harry Potter
Dumbledores Office
Hogwarts library at The Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo
Hogwarts Library

Seeing the sets up close was also fascinating. The level of detail in what they curated, created and included to get the exact feel they were after was amazing. Another favourite in here was the potions classroom with all the steaming cauldrons and the tiny potions bottles filled with all sorts of dried leaves, liquids and plastic insects.

As you weave towards the end of the first half, you come to the Forbidden Forest. This section is incredibly well done with the flying car, Arigog, Hagrid and Buckbeak.

The Interlude

You exit the Forbidden Forest at Hagrids Hut, which is the natural break for lunch or refreshments. The Backlot is is the partially outdoor section and the only section where you have any idea what the weather is doing. We got a bit of rain, but we still managed to see everything and sit down to lunch.

There is indoor and undercover outdoor seating here, and the restaurant is called The Backlot Cafe. The meals are typically British, think fish, chips and mushy peas, pies and chips, etc., but there were also some lighter snack options. We were happy to stop and sit down with a meal and the food quality was reasonably good for what is effectively a theme park. We notice this quite consistently in Japan vs. at home in Australia.

Fish, chips and mush peas from the Backlot Cafe at The Making of Harry Potter

You’ll also find the ButterBeer bar. For us, it is an essential part of any Harry Potter experience. It is only sold here in the souvenir plastic tankard, so it is a bit more expensive and not very environmentally friendly, as I suspect most of them still end up in the bin. It is definitely worth trying, though, and they are well set up with a station to wash out the cup when you are done and give you a plastic bag to put it in to carry home. The drink is like a butterscotch creaming soda, very sweet but quite distinctively butterbeer.

You walk behind Hagrids hut to see the detailed set inside, sit on Hagrids flying bike and sidecar, go inside the Night Bus, the house at 4 Privet Drive, play on the life size wizards chess board and take your photo on the Hogwards wooden corridor bridge. This seems like a small area compared to the overall site but there is quite a bit to do and interact. For most you are entering smaller spaces so you will likely have to queue up for each one although we understand the day we went tickets were sold out for most sessions but the queues were never that long. If you want to eat lunch too and get a Butterbeer you’ll spend a surprising amount of time in this section.

The second hall

In the second half of the indoor section there are more interactive photo opportunties, take home of video of you apparating through the flue network, get a photo of you about to board the Hogwarts Express and try the green screen experience for a photo of you flying over the streets of London on a broom.

The Hogwarts express
Get a photo of about to board the Hogwarts Express and walk through the carriages and see key scenes from the train
Flying a broom over London courtesy of the green screen

This section was also for those interested in the ‘how’ of the cinematic process. There is a lot of detail on how some of the elaborate sets are built, especially the Ministry of Magic. The the Flue Network and the Ministry offices give an insight into the creative process and the level of imagination, art, architecture, engineering, and trade skill that have to come together for each set.

Ministry of Magic at Harry Potter Studio Tour in Tokyo
The fountain and offices inside the Ministry of Magic

One of the fun interactive experiences in this section is using flue powder to travel through the fireplace network; it is super fun and takes a video of you doing it linked to the QR code scan so that you can download it later. Clearly we can’t follow direction very well, so it is hystirical but not quite the seamless social media snippet they probably imagined. Sorry guys. We probably should have checked it before we moved on,the queue was quite short so could easily have done it again to get it right.

Diagon Alley set at Warner Brothers Studio Tour Tokyo

The final sections include a walk through of the Diagon Alley set including Gringotts the Wizards Bank, Ollivanders wand shop and Flourish and Blotts. There are display cases along the walls with props used in the movies, you might imagine that any old bit of paper will do as a prop but no matter how small or briefly in frame each item that makes it on set is meticulously created to be on point.

Do I need to book in advance?

We highly recommend booking online as soon as you know your travel plans or when ticket sales open for your preferred date. The popular times book up fast, and whole days book out well ahead of time. If you want to do the tour while in Tokyo, you do need to book ahead.

View available dates and book your Harry Potter Studio Tour in Tokyo

The good news is that it is almost entirely an indoor venue, so some wet weather isn’t a problem. Buying the tickets online doesn’t cost more, and if you use a legitimate ticket partner like Klook, you can book confidently.

How long should I plan to stay?

They suggest allowing at least 4 hours for the tour, but if you plan to stop for lunch, queue to take part in some of the interactive sessions, and read the many information boards, I would allow around 5 hours. It depends on the individual, but 4 hours should be considered the minimum based on our experience.

Only the very beginning is time-gated. Your ticket entry time gets you into the first hall, where everyone gathers to watch an interactive presentation that gives some information about the attractions and sets a few expectations. You are standing for this section, and then that full group moves to the theatre and sits to watch the introduction.

Afterwards, you enter the great hall with the house and teachers’ uniforms. Again, you will be moved on from this room before the next cinema session finishes, but from there, it is entirely freeform, and you control the speed at which you go through the different sections.

If you can make it work, I’d recommend a morning tour. It starts to get a lot busier by 11 a.m., starting earlier gives you more flexibility if you find you are going through a bit more slowly than you expected.

Is the Tokyo tour the same as the one in London?

Both venues are under the Warner Brothers umbrella. The one in London opened first, and the one in Tokyo opened in 2023. They both highlight the filmmaking process, costumes, and props. The sets and merchandise for sale are substantially similar, although there are a few exclusive items. It is probably not expected that you would go to both locations unless you are a super fan, but there are plenty who will.

Is the Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo worth it?

If you are a Harry Potter fan or have just enjoyed the movies, I think the studio tour is more than worth it. It will be a really memorable part of your trip. Likewise, if you have an interest in behind-the-scenes cinematography, set design, costumes, and sound, then this tour gives a fantastic insight into what goes into making a blockbuster movie like the Harry Potter series.

If you are travelling with a Harry Potter fan but you aren’t really one yourself, then I think it is still worth it. Watching their sheer joy and wonder at being immersed in Hogwarts and every little detail is priceless, plus they will love you forever for going with them.

We really enjoyed the tour. We felt it was good value for what was pretty close to a full days entertainment, it covered a diverse range of interests and there was a lot to see and do.

You might even consider going back to Ikebukuro on the Seibu line for a look around and dinner so you get to see both stations, it has got a good selection or shops (including my favourite Pokemon Store) and lots of really good places to eat. It is easy to get back to most parts of Tokyo from Ikebukuro in the evening either on the Yamanote Line (JR) or the subway system.

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