• Shona McCarthy

Ghibliland: A Studio Ghibli Theme Park

(My Neighbor Totoro, Copyright Studio Ghibli, 1998.)

Had things gone to plan, the world's first Studio Ghibli Theme Park would have opened this year, but with the opening date moved to Autumn 2022, I love Ghibli movies and I'd been hoping for a long time that such a theme park would exist, so I decided to look into the latest updates I could find.

What we know so far is that the park will be very different from most theme parks. The Studio Ghibli Theme Park designers don't want to take the nature away and put in a lot of roller coasters. They plan on retaining as much of the original trees and shrubs from the area as possible, making the park feel much like the forests of the Ghibli movies.

The park is set to open with three main areas, but have five by 2023. So it may pay to delay your visit. Or you could visit the park at it's different phases to see how the experience compares! Most of the sections sort of correlate with many of the most popular Ghibli movies. So, I decided to link off to them on Neflix. After all, no amount of photographs can replace the films!

-~= Areas To Open First =~-

Youth Hill - Set to be modelled after Howl's Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart.

Dondoko Forest - Made to look like the little town in My Neighbor Totoro.

The Great Ghibli Warehouse - An elaborate shopping town in Ghibli style.

-~= Areas to Open in 2023 =~- The Valley of the Witch - Designed after Kiki's Delivery Service and the castle from Howl's Moving Castle.

Mononoke Village - Based on Irontown from Princess Mononoke.

However, if you can't wait till 2022, there are various Ghibli related locations you can visit in Japan! I think I may attempt to form a blog post about this in future. In fact, I got to visit a Ghibli themed cafe during my last visit to Southern Kyoto!

I was a little sad to see that nothing seemed to be specifically based on Spirited Away. I'm holding out hope that this is because they will later construct a real life replica of the Bathhouse, possibly with accommodation for the park's visitors and real, usable onsen. That would be truly a dream come true for me, and I would definitely visit to see it.

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