Prepare to be Spirited Away!
Hayao Miyazaki’s roster of animated features has touched the hearts of millions around the globe with its immersive storytelling, memorable characters, and stunning animation.
The Japanese studio has become a household name in the animation industry with the success of its films like Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
Fans have been wondering for years about the possibility of a theme park similar to Disneyland and Universal Studios, which recreate classic films and characters through thrilling rides and attractions.
If you love these Japanese anime classics, you’ll be overjoyed to know that Studio Ghibli has announced that a theme park is on the way that will bring to life some of your favorite Ghibli movies! The park is slated for a 2022 opening in Japan and we have all the magical details so far here:
The 200-hectare theme park will be situated in Aichi Prefecture, Nagakute City, which is close to Nagoya.
The park will be built within the compound of Aichi Commemorative Park, where the replica of Totoro’s house is currently located. It was built for the 2005 World Expo and has been a popular tourist attraction ever since.
You don’t need to fly on Kiki’s broomstick to get there. Find flights from the Philippines to Japan on Traveloka!
It’s been about three years since the studio announced that a Ghibli Park will be built in Aichi Prefecture and bits of information, blueprints, and maps have circulated online ever since.
Recently, more blueprints and some design sketches were released, revealing that the park will be divided into five areas themed after some of the studio’s classic films.
This will serve as the park’s entrance and will feature the antique shop and town setting of Whispers of the Heart, which is modeled after Seiseki Sakuragaoka in Western Tokyo. You’ll also be able to see the cat office come to life as seen in the movie, The Cat Returns.
This indoor area will have a 170-seater mini-theater and a food court that pays tribute to the iconic, ghostly restaurant district from Spirited Away. The area will also have an exhibition building, a playground, and souvenir shops.
Named after the film it features, this area will take you back to the rural landscape from the Muromachi period where Princess Mononoke was set.
The walled-city of Irontown will also come to life in this section of the park and will feature the unforgettable spirit gods and characters from the film.
There’s no news if Howl’s metal castle monstrosity will be moving but this part of the park is definitely going to be magical as it takes inspiration from Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
The area depicts structures that are reminiscent of European city architecture and features a life-size replica of Howl’s castle and Kiki’s family home.
Fans of the adorable character Totoro will enjoy strolling through the quaint forest trail, which also features Mei and Satsuki’s already existing home as presented in the 2005 Expo.
If everything goes according to schedule, Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse and Dondoko Forest will be the first to open in 2022, followed by Mononoke’s Village and Valley of Witches, which is projected to open in autumn of 2023.
We can’t help but feel excited by these magical tidbits about the park plans but there’s still a long way to go before it’s finally completed. As you wait for 2022, here are some must-visit attractions in Japan for every Ghibli fan.
Opened in 2001, this has become one of the most popular and visited museums in Tokyo. The museum features special exhibitions, souvenirs, and exclusive never-before-seen short films.
Tickets are only available on pre-sale and cannot be bought on site. Make sure to reserve your tickets at least a month before your preferred date. Go to their website to know more about ticket reservations. Want to make your visit extra special? Book a tour on Traveloka here.
Location: 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo
Operation hours: 10 AM to 6 PM (closed every Tuesday. Check here for date exceptions).
An art display created by Hayao Miyazaki himself, this giant Ghibli cuckoo clock is located in front of Nippon TV Headquarters and is a sight to behold! Although it was never confirmed to be inspired by the movie, it looks a lot like a clock you would see in Howl’s Moving Castle, no?
Location: Nippon Television Headquarters, 1-6-1 Higashi-Shinbashi, Tokyo
Operation hours: 12 PM to 8 PM (an extra show is added on weekends at 10 AM)
Sayama Hills earned the title “Totoro Forest” for it has been a source of inspiration for the film. The most popular spot in the area is the Kurosuke House, which has a giant Totoro statue, as well as some scenes from the film on display.
This greenery bordered by stunning lakes is a great hiking spot. There’s even a trail map that shows you some Totoro spots around the forest if you just want to walk around or, as old Sophie Hatter would suggest, stare at the scenery.
Location: 351 Zakoiri, Kamiyamaguchi, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama-ken
Operation hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
This district served as an inspiration for the setting of the film, From Up On Poppy Hill. Here you’ll find the flower shop featured in the film, as well as the butcher’s shop where the main characters ate croquettes.
This residential district has a European feel to it with architecture that takes from Western designs and is a great area to explore.
Location: Yamate, Yokohama
It’s rumored that the museum and its surrounding area became one of the main inspirations for the setting of Spirited Away. Studio Ghibli’s headquarters is close by and it’s said that Hayao Miyazaki had visited frequently during the creation of the film.
Ghibli fans who visit the place can get a chance to step into the world of the film while also being inspired by the Japanese and Western buildings on display. There’s even an old tram—with the interior looking a lot like the train Chihiro and No-Face rode to Zeniba in the film.
Location: 3-7-1 Sakuracho, Koganei-shi, Tokyo (inside Koganei Park)
Operation hours: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (closed on Mondays. If Monday is a national holiday, it is closed on the following day.)
Anticipate the magical and extraordinary world of Studio Ghibli coming to life by booking your flights in advance. Find cheap flights to Japan and great deals on full-service carriers such as Cathay Pacific and more when you book via Traveloka.
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