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Studio Ghibli's Magical Theme Park Will Now Open in 2022

The park will spirit visitors away into the Ghibli universe, featuring attractions from 'My Neighbour Totoro', 'Kiki's Delivery Service' and 'Howl's Moving Castle'.
By Sarah Ward
April 26, 2018
By Sarah Ward
April 26, 2018

Not content with crafting some of the most gorgeous films to ever grace cinema screens, Studio Ghibli has revealed further details about its latest piece of enchanting magic — the animation house's first theme park. Originally announced last year with a 2020 opening date, the space is now set to launch in 2022. And while that means pushing back your travel plans an extra two years, it's going to be more than worth the wait.

Initially described as a My Neighbour Totoro-focused park, the new Ghibli site will actually spirit visitors away to a whole realm dedicated to its considerable catalogue of movies. As well as Totoro-themed attractions — such as a replica of Satsuki and Mei's house, which already exists at the 200-hectare Expo Park site in Nagoya's Aichi Prefecture — the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart and Kiki's home from Kiki's Delivery Service will also form part of the space. Further, a village area will pay tribute to Princess Mononoke, and a section called the Big Ghibli Warehouse will feature play areas, exhibitions and cinemas. Meanwhile, Howl's Moving Castle will show up in several forms: in a building dedicated to the imaginary scientific elements from with the studio's films, and in the main gate structure.

Expect more nods to Ghibli's various features to follow, recreating other aspects from its three-decade-old body of work. If the end result is even half as wondrous as the studio's museum in Mitaka, a city on the western outskirts Tokyo, then fans are in for a treat. There, you can climb up to the building's rooftop garden to see one of the robots from Laputa: Castle in the Sky; watch exclusive shorts, including a sequel to My Neighbour Totoro; and touch a life-sized cat bus, which kids under 12 can climb and play on. Indeed, the museum is such a tourist attraction, you have to buy tickets over a month in advance — and experiencing the rush of folks in the merchandise-packed gift shop will make you feel like a susuwatari (Totoro's gorgeous little balls of floating soot).

Incorporated into the existing parklands, the theme park will be heavy on greenery and the natural surroundings, which matches the environmental messaging that plays a prominent part in Ghibli's movies. The site will also encourage "enjoying walking", according to the draft concept outline, while aiming to offer "a one-of-a-kind park loved by more people". We don't think either will be difficult.

Via Japan Times. Images: Aichi Prefecture.

Published on April 26, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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