HIT Entertainment has teamed up with Pleasurecast, the attractions division of Bandai Namco Group, to open the first indoor Thomas & Friends-themed amusement facility in Japan.
Opening on September 17, Thomas Town Shinmisato covers a 772 square-metre site within the new Lala Port Shin Misato shopping mall, less than an hour from the centre of Tokyo. It is the second Thomas attraction in Japan, after Thomas Land at Fuji-Q Highland, which opened back in 1998.
Thomas Town Shinmisato features five themed zones and a central English Market Place that is expected to serve as a meeting place and arena for themed events, stage shows and carnivals.
Featured throughout the facilty will be attractions including a Thomas & Friends dark ride, Cranky the crane play structure, education and craft area, a café, museum and of course a Thomas shop offering extensive merchandise, Guests will be able to use special Thomas & Friends currency to pay for the rides and attractions.
Pleasurecast has partnered with London-based designers RMA Ltd to help theme and project manage Thomas Town. RMA also worked with HIT and Drayton Manor to realise Thomas Land in the UK. Up to 500,000 visitors are predicted during the first year of operation in Shinmisato.
The mall is a fitting location for Thomas & Friends as it built on the site of the former Musashino shunting yard – birthplace of the Japanese railway industry.
“We are very excited about the opening of Thomas Town,” comments HIT Entertainment’s general manager for Asia, Frank Foley. “It adds a new dimension to our offering in the country.”