Fans of Studio Ghibli movies have a reason to celebrate and a new destination to add to their bucket lists. The highly-anticipated Ghibli Park is now open!
Ever since the announcement in 2020, fans have been eagerly waiting to see what the park would have in store. On November 1, the park finally opened its gate to people to transport them straight into their favourite Ghibli movie. It’s situated in Aichi prefecture and is a part of the Earth Expo Memorial Park.
The Japanese animation studio is known for its high-quality artistic movies across genres that are rooted in simple emotions and comfort. Like the movies, the theme park is not built on thrilling rides and huge spectacles. It invites you to take a stroll, feel the wind, and discover the wonders.
“People think of it as a theme park, but I’ve always wanted it to be a park. I think that parks are first and foremost for the local people, so I want them to be loved by the people of Aichi more than anyone else. Even if people can’t come right away, I would be happy if they could take a peek at the entrance and visit the exhibition,” said Koji Hoshino, chairman and president of Studio Ghibli Co., during an event a few days prior to the park’s official opening.
Spanning 17.5 acres, the park is divided into five areas, based on some of the most iconic Ghibli movies, like My Neighbor Tortoro and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
Out of these five areas, only three are open to the public now and the other two will start accepting visitors in 2023.
The first area is Ghibli’s Large Warehouse which resembles a large indoor town filled with streets, exhibits, and famous scenes from movies, like Castle In The Sky, and Tortoro.
A cinema plays exclusive shorts by the animation studio that are only available at the park and the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. It also has kids’ playrooms, gift shops, and cafes.
The second area provides a vantage point that allows a panoramic view of the park. It’s the Hill of Youth where visitors can find the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart and its spinoff The Cat Returns.
The third area is the Dondoko Forest, from Tortoro, and it features the iconic house from the film and a themed playground.
The two areas that are yet to open will be based on movies like Princess Mononoke, Valley of the Witches, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
For now, tickets must be booked in advance for each individual areas, in case you were planning to drop what you were doing to rush to Japan for an experience you will never forget.