News Column

Entertainment Legoland to open first Japanese park in 2017

July 1, 2014

Jennifer Rankin

Legoland will open its first park in Japan, as the kingdom of tiny bricks spreads around the globe. A pounds 185m theme park will open its doors in 2017 in Nagoya, mostly replicating the Lego pirates, Vikings and miniature cities that enthral children and exhaust parents in six other Legolands in five countries.

While Legoland Japan raises the possibility of Lego bullet trains or Lego sakura cherry blossom trees, a company spokesperson said no decisions had been taken on specific details for the Japanese market.

The first Legoland opened in 1968 in Billund, the small Danish town where a master carpenter fashioned the first Lego brick in the 1930s. A second park, in Windsor, opened in 1994, but the pace of expansion is picking up. Merlin Entertainments, the London-listed company that bought Legoland in 2005, sees potential for 20 parks.

As well as the parks in the UK and Denmark, Legoland is in the US, Germany and Malaysia, while Legoland Dubai is due to open in 2016.

"We remain committed to our target of opening a new [Legoland] park every two to three years," said Merlin's chief executive, Nick Varney.

Merlin, which also owns Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon, will spend pounds 53m over three years on the Nagoya park, while local partner Kirkbi Invest will raise the rest.

The Japanese theme park market is thought to be Asia's most valuable, estimated to be worth pounds 4bn, and Merlin is keen to catch up with Disney, which has been in the country for more than two decades. Jennifer Rankin

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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