All About the Ghibli Park Opening Its Doors This November
With less than two months to go, Ghibli Park is rapidly approaching its long-awaited opening on November 1. The park, located in Aichi Earth Expo Memorial Park near Nagoya City, is about a three-hour train ride from Tokyo.
Although there are no rides or attractions, the park brings the dreamy and fantastical atmosphere of its movies to life. The main idea of the park is a peaceful and captivating stroll. It’s a place for people to immerse themselves in the Ghibli world and marvel at the aesthetics. There’s also an abundance of cafés to settle down at and other facilities inside the park. Whether you grew up with the beloved animations or are in for a spark of magical realism, Ghibli Park will be right up your alley.
The park is built around the luscious nature of Aichi Prefecture, and the integration with the area was of vital importance to Hayao Miyazaki, who says no trees be cut during construction. Three of the five areas planned are set to open during the first phase of openings: Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest.
Ascend Into The Ghibli World: Hill of Youth
Hill of Youth is a green hill based on various Ghibli movies, featuring a revamped footbridge that is now the entrance to an observation tower with 19th-century-inspired trinkets and other elements reminiscent of Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. You’ll also find a real-life version of the antique shop depicted in Whisper of the Heartfrom which you can observe a dazzling view over the entire park, alongside the Cat Bureau from The Cat Returns.
Stroll Through Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse is a beautifully designed indoor area three times the size of the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. The warehouse is a mix of Japanese and Western design and contains exhibits and movie screenings, various shops and restaurants, play areas and Ghibli-inspired architectural pieces, such as a Laputa robot and a grand garden setting that will make you feel like the tiny Arrietty from the eponymous movie. Rain or shine, you can relish in an abundance of Ghibli immersion here.
Meet Totoro and Friends in Dondoko Forest
Dondoko Forest pays homage to the movie My Neighbor Totoro. It was inspired by Satsuki and Mei’s House, a recreation that has already stood in the park since 2005 for the Aichi Expo. You can wander around this area leisurely, visit the house, and discover the wooden Totoro statue — which you can climb inside of.
Get Excited For More
The other two areas that are currently under construction will follow in phases two and three. You can look forward to Mononoke’s Village in 2023, which will be a recreation of Tatara-ba, or Irontown from the movie Princess Mononoke, including life-size statues of Okkoto, the old boar god from the movie. There’s also been hinting at a pottery workshop. In 2024, Valley of Witches will open, an area depicting scenes from Kiki’s Delivery Service, featuring Kiki’s house and bakery where you can buy Kiki-inspired loaves of bread. It will also have a space dedicated to a 16-meter tall replica of Howl’s Moving Castlecomplete with visitable rooms.
Tickets are currently sold through a monthly lottery system for September via Boo Woo Ticket. You have to pick your preferred date, time and area, which you cannot change after the lottery application. From November, sales will be on a first come, first serve basis.
Be aware that each area has its own ticket fee, but these aren’t heavy compared to the larger theme parks in Japan.
Bonus: Ghibli Movies You Should Rewatch Before Going
- Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
- My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
- Whisper of the Heart (1995)
- Princess Mononoke (1997)
- Spirited Away (2001)
- The Cat Returns (2002)
- Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
- The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
- Kiki’s Delivery Service (2017)
Want to know what’s new in Tokyo? Check out our list of what opened in September.