Merlin Entertainment PLC CEO Nick Varney and Mayor of Nagoya Takashi Kawamura break ground as construction officially starts for LEGOLAND® Japan Print

At a special ground breaking event today Merlin Entertainments plc (Merlin) CEO Nick Varney, together with Takashi Kawamura, Mayor of Nagoya, officially marked the start of construction on the first LEGOLAND Park in Japan with the arrival on site of 20,000 brightly coloured LEGO bricks.

Mr Varney and Mr Kawamura were joined at the event by a group of local kindergarten children from Nagoya keen to know more about the exciting new development, who joined in the fun enthusiastically 'digging ' amongst the bricks! Mr Varney also presented Mr Kawamura with a Shachihoko, a symbol of the City, created in LEGO, to mark the partnership between Merlin and the City of Nagoya.
Located in Kinjofuto, Nagoya, LEGOLAND Japan will be Merlin's second LEGOLAND Park in Asia and will play an important role in the group's continued growth in the region. It will provide a full-day, year round theme park experience geared towards families with children between the ages of two and 12. Its design will mirror the successful concept of the six existing LEGOLAND Parks around the world including a mix of LEGOLAND's most popular rides and attractions together with many features unique to the location, like Miniland for example which will include some of Japan and Nagoya's most popular and iconic buildings and landmarks. LEGOLAND Japan will open in Q2 of 2017.

Commenting Mr Varney said: "We are delighted to be bringing LEGOLAND to Japan and particularly here to Nagoya where we have received so much support from the City and from Mayor Kawamura and his colleagues. We look forward to working closely with them as the project progresses, and have no doubt that through their continued efforts this region and the City of Nagoya will become a major family leisure destination both for Japanese and international visitors. LEGOLAND Japan will certainly we believe play a key role in driving that strategy, adding a new and exciting dimension to the entertainment which is on offer."

Merlin currently operates six LEGOLAND parks in five countries with a seventh due to open in Dubai in 2016. Merlin sees the development of new LEGOLAND parks as one of the key growth drivers of the business. Merlin also owns and operates LEGOLAND Discovery Centres - smaller, indoor experiences, also based on the LEGO brick. These are usually located in high quality shopping mall which offer a mix of leisure, retail and eating out options like the successful attraction already open in Tokyo, and second LEGOLAND Discovery Centre due to open in Osaka on April, 23.