Explorers! Get ready to enter a whole new animated world; Studio Ghibli is joining the theme park game.
Initially announced in 2017, Japan’s much-celebrated animation company, Studio Ghibli’s new theme park, will open in 2022. The 200-hectare site of the 2005 World Expo will be transformed into “Ghibli Park,” an immersive world based on the hit films of Studio Ghibli.
The Studio Ghibli Park is different from the Ghibli Museum, which is in Mitaka, Tokyo.
Studio Ghibli Park will be located in Aichi Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture – about an hour east by train from Nagoya. Interestingly, the location is the former site of the 2005 World Expo, which featured a recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbour Totoro. The traditional country house has been incorporated into the new theme park.
What to expect at Studio Ghibli Theme Park
Before construction, Hayao Miyazaki vowed to build the park without cutting down any trees, with buildings constructed in existing clearings, preserving and enhancing the natural areas. This will result in a beautiful, environmentally friendly theme park, drawing on the strong themes of environmentalism present throughout much of Ghibli’s animated features.
While there will be rides at Studio Ghibli Park, don’t expect roller coasters and other standard theme park fares.
The park will instead bring guests into the fantasy world of Ghibli through lush gardens, highly themed buildings, dining, and other more intimate experiences.
Studio Ghibli Park will contain five distinct areas based on the much-loved Ghibli films. The park will open with Youth Hill, Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse, and Dondoko Forest. Witch Valley and Mononoke’s Village will follow in 2023.
The park’s entrance area, Youth Hill, will feature an elevator observation tower featuring steampunk design elements invoking Howl’s Moving Castle, granting guests a great view of the whole park. The area will also feature a replica of the antique shop Chikyuu-ya, from the 1995 film Whisper of the Heart.
Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse
This large heated indoor area will primarily function as an event and exhibition space featuring Ghibli exhibits, a children’s playground, a recreation of the small town area in Spirited Away, plus a 170 seat theatre.
Witch Valley (2023)
Inspired by the wastelands of Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service, guests will be able to visit Kiki’s home from Kiki’s Delivery Service, plus the castle from Howl’s Moving Castle, which will stand five stories tall. Inside the castle, guests will be able to visit Howl’s bedroom.
Princess Mononoke Village (2023)
Princess Mononoke Village will transport guests to the Muromachi period (1336-1573) in which the film is set. Based on the movie’s Irontown (Tataraba) village, the area will feature giant statues of the Tatarigami spirit monster plus other creatures from the treasured film.
Guests are invited to step into the world of My Neighbour Totoro with its lush nature and rural landscape. The area features a recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbour Totoro, which was initially built in 2005 for the 2005 World Expo. Studio Ghibli has released several beautiful photos of the house, highlighting the detail that guests expect throughout the park.
Do you plan to visit the Studio Ghibli Theme Park when it opens? Let us know! Also, don’t forget to check out where to find Studio Ghibli merchandise when you’re shopping in Japan.
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