Art/Design

A look inside Studio Ghibli’s long-awaited theme park

Get ready to feel spirited away.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Mar 6, 2022

Studio Ghibli’s first theme park, simply titled “Ghibli Park,” will open its doors in 2022, finally bringing a long-awaited dream to life. The park, which is located in Nagakute, Aichi, Japan, is inspired by Studio Ghibli’s works, which include Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and others. The park’s official website went live in early February, as it gets closer to its grand debut.

 

Here’s everything you need to know about Ghibli Park.

 

When does it open? 

Ghibli Park will open to the public on November 1, 2022, but just a portion of the park will actually be accessible to the public. Only Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest will be open by November, with Valley of Witches and Mononoke Village following in 2023.

 

Where is Ghibli Park? 

Ghibli Park is located within Aichi Expo Memorial Park, Aichi’s largest park, which spans 200 acres. The area already has a replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, a film about two sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who befriend local spirits after moving to a countryside home with their father, while their mother recovers from illness.

 

How was it built?

No trees were taken down to make place for Ghibli Park, but instead, the park’s attractions were built around them. This is in keeping with Aichi Park‘s environmental theme, as well as the message of many Ghibli films, which depict humans and nature coexisting together.

 

Within the park, a complimentary bus transports visitors to various areas.

 

Will there be rides in Ghibli Park? 

Ghibli Park does not have any major attractions or rides. Instead, the official website invites people to “take a stroll, feel the wind, and discover the wonders.”

 

What is actually inside Ghibli Park?

Ghibli Park is divided into 5 sections, each of which is inspired by a different Ghibli film. Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, which pays homage to Spirited Away, features mementos and exhibitions from previous Ghibli films, such as the Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky, and the Cat Bus from My Neighbor Totoro.

 

Dining options, stores, an exhibition room, a video exhibition room, a children’s playground, and a warehouse will also be available. The idea is to develop something that can be visited year-round, regardless of the weather. The main elevator building features steampunk architectural elements, similar to those seen in Howl’s Moving Castle, and provides patrons with a panoramic view of the entire property.

 

Valley of Witches is named after characters from the movie Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service, and it includes the reproductions of two of the films’ settings.

 

Finally, Mononoke Village will feature Princess Mononoke’s landscape graphics, as well as its own spindly demon and boar-god statues.

 

The Studio Ghibli theme park was originally scheduled to open in 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics were still scheduled for that summer, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch had been postponed.

 

In case you missed it, Studio Ghibli’s historic Spirited Away movie to be turned into a stage play.

 

Photo via Studio Ghibli