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USJ draws record crowds despite fee hike

Halloween events drew record numbers of visitors to Universal Studios Japan in October.

OSAKA -- The Universal Studios Japan theme park had its best month ever in October in terms of visitor numbers, drawing around 1.76 million, despite an increase in its entrance fee in February, the company said Tuesday.

USJ, the operating company of the theme park, explained the number was the result of major investments in its new facilities and Halloween events at the popular Harry Potter area.

The previous record was around 1.75 million in October last year.

"We hope to increase the entrance fee again next year to continue our investment," said USJ executive Tsuyoshi Morioka at a news conference. That will mark the eighth year in a row that fees have been raised.

Morioka said, in fiscal 2016, the theme park hopes to beat the record of 13.9 million total visitors set the previous year.

The number of annual passes sold and non-Japanese visitors showed double-digit growth this October. Morioka added "weather conditions were unfavorable, but the record number is the result of the stronger appeal from the 15th anniversary events and large investments."

USJ said popular attractions include the newly opened roller coaster "The Flying Dinosaur," in which the company invested around 10 billion yen ($96.4 million).

(Nikkei)

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