Studio Ghibli theme park


Back in 2017, Studio Ghibli, the studio that gave us classics such as My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001), announced that they were going to open a Studio Ghibli theme park in Japan. The Studio Ghibli theme park is set to open in Fall 2022, and new information about the park was recently revealed.


What to expect at the Studio Ghibli theme park


studio ghibli theme park - theme park
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

Not to be confused with the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, the Studio Ghibli theme park is an upcoming attraction located on the premises of the old 2005 World Expo at Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute City, Nagoya. The theme park is approximately three hours away from Tokyo by train. 

The studio announced that the theme park, while termed as such, will not have high-speed rides such as roller coasters. Rather, it will be home to the dreamy and fantastical elements fans know and love from Ghibli films.  

The theme park will consist of five different themed areas – Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse, Dondoko Forest, Witch Valley, and Mononoke’s Village – based on Studio Ghibli’s iconic movies. Witch Valley and Mononoke’s Village will only be ready in Fall 2023, while the rest will be open in Fall 2022. 

All the attractions are built to incorporate the existing natural greenery of the area as founder Hayao Miyazaki vowed that the park would be built without chopping down any trees. 


Hill of Youth


studio ghibli theme park - hill of youth
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

The Hill of Youth is the closest attraction to the park’s northern entrance and serves as a gateway to this magical place. The main gate is partly inspired by Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), and will feature a striking yellow observation tower.  

studio ghibli theme park - cat returns
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

The Hill of Youth also features another familiar landmark – the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart (1995). The surrounding greenery creates the same vibes as found in the movie itself. 


Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse


studio ghibli theme park - giant warehouse
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse serves as the indoor section of the Studio Ghibli theme park, providing a respite in inclement weather. 

studio ghibli theme park - giant warehouse
Image credit: Studio Ghibli 

This indoor attraction will hold a children’s playground, an exhibition room with a 170-seater cinema, retail shops, and restaurants. The beautiful sky garden from the movie Laputa: Castle in the Sky will be recreated as an attraction for Ghibli’s Large Warehouse, along with a giant six-metre-long reproduction of the movie’s airship that will hang from the ceiling.

studio ghibli theme park - cats
Image credit: Studio Ghibli 

Ghibli’s Large Warehouse will also house a playroom inspired by My Neighbour Totoro. The playroom will feature a life-sized Catbus that children – and maybe even some adults – can explore. 


Dondoko’s Forest


studio ghibli theme park - dondoko
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

Dondoko’s Forest is based on My Neighbour Totoro, and will feature Satsuki and Mei’s house nestled right in the middle of lush greenery. Visitors can enter the house to see all the elements of the beloved movie brought to life.

studio ghibli theme park - dondoko
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

As the attraction is surrounded by abundant, peaceful greenery, visitors can relax, enjoy their time, and even envision themselves as a nature-loving Studio Ghibli character. 


Valley of Witches


studio ghibli theme park - valley of witches
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

The Valley of Witches will feature a European-esque town with restaurants, parks, and rest areas, as well as Kiki’s house from Kiki’s Delivery Service. Here, visitors will find the bakery where Kiki lives and works, and they can even buy bread resembling those from the movie.

studio ghibli theme park - howl's moving castle
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

This area is also inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle, with a real-life rendition of the castle standing at a whopping 16 metres tall. Visitors can explore all the nooks and crannies of this wondrous castle, and even satiate their curiosity by peeking into the magician’s bedroom – something that even characters in the film couldn’t do!.  

Unlike the previous three attractions, however, this particular area won’t be ready until Fall 2023.


Mononoke’s Village


This section of the theme park includes a realistic rendition of Irontown, also known as Tatara-bara, from the movie Princess Mononoke. Tatara refers to the traditional furnace used by the Japanese to smelt steel and iron, whereas mononoke refers to a supernatural monster or spirit. 

studio ghibli theme park - Mononoke's village
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

Other mythical creatures, such as the boar god Lord Okkoto and the almighty god of destruction Tatarigami, can also be found in this area.  


Long-awaited Studio Ghibli theme park to open in Fall 2022


Although visitors will have to pay admission fees to enter the Studio Ghibli theme park, the non-Ghibli parts of Aichi Commemorative Park will remain free to enter as it is a public space. The fees to Studio Ghibli’s theme park have yet to be revealed, but nothing – not even money – will stop us fans from entering this magical world!

Find out more via the official Studio Ghibli theme park website.

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Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): Studio Ghibli, Studio Ghibli and Studio Ghibli

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