Harry Potter: The Exhibition

  • Published 2013.6.26
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The travelling Harry Potter exhibition has finally arrived on Japanese shores after pit stops at cities such as New York and Singapore. Hosted by the Mori Arts Center, the mile-long queues every day since its opening on June 22 prove that there's still money to be milked out of this franchise. Over 200 authentic props and costumes are on display in this exhibition of HP film sets, making this the perfect exhibition for the fan who's always wanted to go to Hogwarts.

Appropriately, your journey begins with the Sorting Hat, where a lucky few will be sorted into one of the four houses (though whether anyone ever gets Slytherin is debatable).

Wander past the train and the moving portraits, and into the Gryffindor common room, where you can read all the notices on the bulletin board. (The beds in the boys dormitory are surprisingly small.)

Look at all the textbooks for subjects you'll never study – Divination, Potions, a History of Magic.

Roll your eyes at Gilderoy Lockhart's self-portraits.

Have a seat in Hagrid's Hut, where everything really is larger than life and the Monster Book of Monsters has eyes.

They really pay attention to the details here, engaging all your senses – for instance, the Herbology corner actually smells of soil, while the Forbidden Forest smells vaguely musty. Even the quill that Harry uses in Umbridge's detention is on display, as well as the parchment on which "I must not tell lies" is written many times over in blood.

Adding to the fun are the interactive parts of the exhibition. There's a Quidditch corner where you can throw Quaffles into the hoops, and every time you make the shot, it makes a 'ding' sound – just like the in the movies.

You can also uproot some squalling mandrakes in the Herbology classroom.

The displays end with the Great Hall, where Ron's wonderfully tasteless suit for the Ball is displayed in its full glory – in addition to, of course, everyone else's stylish gowns and suits.

The aptly-named Flourish and Blotts gift shop deserves a special mention. The Harry Potter franchise, ever the money spinner, knows what fans love: on sale are the usual T-shirts and House scarves, as well as eyeglasses (for the Potter cosplayer in you), wands (!!) and even copies of the Marauder's Map. A Time Turner necklace can also be had for the princely sum of 9000 yen. Your wallet might be a little lighter afterwards, but at least you'll carry a pretty genuine-looking reminder of the wizarding world with you.

Visitors must enter in two-hour blocks, with a limited number of tickets per day. Since it's summer (plus it's Harry Potter), we recommend reserving your tickets well in advance, via Lawson, in order to avoid being disappointed on the day of your visit.

Photographs by Adrienne & Florentyna Leow.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Mori Arts Center Gallery, 52F Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

June 22 – Sept 16, 2013

10am~10pm (Last entry: 9pm). Daily.

Adults: 2500 (2300) yen; university students: 2000 (1800) yen; high/junior high school students 1500 (1300) yen; 4 year olds ~ primary school students: 1000 (800) yen