If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you may long for years past when novels and movies in the series were still being released. But in Japan, J.K. Rowling’s blockbuster franchise is very much alive and kicking. In 2014, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Japan, and next year will see the launch of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter. If that isn’t enough, a recently opened Potter café in downtown Tokyo is sure to put a smile on the lips of every muggle.
Introducing Wizardry to Akasaka
The Akasaka district is known for its corporate offices, Shinto shrines and restaurants and pubs, some of which are in the British style. That being the case, the dazzling new Wizarding World Harry Potter Café has looked right at home since it opened in June 2022.
With its crimson paneling exterior and faux-leaded windows, the café looks like something plucked from the streets of London, but it’s on the ground floor of Akasaka Biz Tower, steps from Akasaka Station on the Chiyoda subway line. The atmosphere is a delightful blend of fun and magic.
The high-ceilinged interior is decorated with framed portraits of characters and architecture from the series; there are also empty frames, suggesting something is missing, or perhaps magically invisible. The centerpiece of the room, however, is a 3.5-meter-long reproduction of Harry’s magic wand hanging from the ceiling, perfect for fan selfies.
What’s on the Menu?
The main attraction at the café is its playful, surprising menu. It offers a unique mix of Instagrammable food and drinks that are both nods to British classics and the Hogwarts dining hall. It’s hearty fare for hungry aspiring wizards that Potter fans are sure to appreciate.
You’ll find pub favorites like stew, roast beef and soup, for instance Hogwarts Steak Pie, Owl Post Sunday Roast, and Dragon’s Smoke Roast Beef. Then there are the House varieties of classic British fare, for instance Hogwarts Cheese Toasties in Gryffindor (beef and onion), Slytheryn (salmon and spinach), Hufflepuff (bacon and caramelized onion), and Ravenclaw (chicken and mushroom) varieties. Side dishes and desserts include Platform 9¾ Beans, Simmering Cauldron Soup and Hedwig Cake, a whipped cream cake owl holding a chocolate letter while perched on a tiramisu tree that is a work of culinary art unto itself.
Wash it all down with a non-alcoholic cocktail named after charms in the series. There’s Expecto Patronum, a lychee-infused blue beverage that emits wisps of white smoke, the spicy, citrus-laden Stupefy and the veggie-mint Herbivicus. The takeout menu includes original scones and drinks in original bottles.
The café also offers a range of limited-edition Potter merch. There’s original tableware including plates emblazoned with the four Hogwarts house mottos, mugs, spoons, placemats, keychains and shopping bags, perfect for bringing your Hogwarts café experience home with you.
More Potter Magic
The Potter presence in Tokyo extends far beyond the café. The area around Akasaka Biz Tower has been turned into a sort of Harry Potter plaza to mark the Asian debut of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at the nearby TBS Akasaka ACT Theater. A staircase leading to the venue was adorned with dozens of portraits of witches and wizards from the franchise as well as a sculpture of the Time-Turner time travel device from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Meanwhile, two train stations in Tokyo are being transformed into railway links from the series. Parts of Seibu Ikebukuro Station will be reimagined as King’s Cross Station in London, home to the hidden Platform 9¾ where the Hogwarts Express carried students off to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Similarly, Seibu Toshimaen Station, the closest station for Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter in Nerima City, will get a makeover to resemble Hogsmeade Station, where the Express ends its journey.
While details of the studio tour are limited, it will be somewhat similar to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. The Tokyo version will offer visitors the chance to learn in-depth about how the Harry Potter films were made. It will not be a theme park with rides, but a walking tour of sets, costumes and props in a facility of about 30,000 square meters. The tour will be divided between the sound stage and backlot areas and will take about half a day to complete. It is scheduled to open on the site of the former Toshimaen amusement park in 2023.
Wizarding World Harry Potter Café can be accessed by Akasaka station (Chiyoda Line), leave the station via Exit 1, 3a or 3b, from where it’s a few minutes walk. Or it can be accessed by Akasaka Mitsuke Station (Marunouchi Line or Ginza Line), leave the station via Exit 11, from where it is a five minute walk.
- Harry Potter Cafe
- 東京都港区赤坂5-3-1 赤坂Bizタワー