After years of waiting it finally opened, the world’s first Ghibli Park, and we were first in line!
So here it is, everything you need to know about the new Ghibli Park, the home of Totoro, Mononoke, Chihiro, and Co.
What is Ghibli Park?
Ghibli Park is often called a theme park, but we really shouldn’t compare it to the popular Universal Studios or Disney Land.
You won’t find your favorite Ghibli movie characters such as the gray and cuddly Totoro or Sai from Princess Mononoke to greet you as is the case with Mickey Mouse, and Cinderella.
There are no rides such as roller coasters or Ferris wheels, or VR attractions.
At Ghibli Park, you step into the world of your favorite Ghibli movies, in a much more sustainable way than sets built out of plastic and, in the case of VR, thin air. The whole concept for this park is a symbiosis with the surrounding forest and natural beauty. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?
It is a park similar to no other, the first of its kind. Rather than treat you like a visitor, the park is designed to make you feel like you’re part of your favorite Ghibli movies.
The 5 Fascinating Areas of Ghibli Park Let You Be Part of Your Favorite Ghibli Movies
The park will have 5 areas in total, of which 3 opened on November 1st, 2022. The other 2 areas will open around 2023 and 2024 but dates have not been confirmed yet.
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse
This is the main draw of Ghibli Park. A reconstructed swimming pool facility holds countless wonders from different Ghibli movie worlds. It really is a warehouse, as Studio Ghibli has a gigantic amount of items, models, and other artifacts that so far have been stored away from the eyes of fans, only taken out for special exhibitions or events. All of these wonderful items found a new home at Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, which is 3 times bigger than Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum.
The highlight of this grand hall of wonders is the photography section, where you can take pictures made to look as if you were inside the movie. You can for example catch a train ride with No Face from Spirited Away.
Another wonderful area is the world of Arietty where everything is made to look as if you were one of the tiny borrowers. It is so much fun to recognize the everyday items and what the borrowers would use them for.
This indoor area is perfect also for rainy days and holds some small shops selling snacks, a big merchandise store, and play areas as well.
Hill of Youth
On the Hill of Youth, in the far north of the park, stands World Emporium, the antique shop from the movie Whisper of the Heart. Filled with lots of beautiful items, and a complete violin workshop in the basement.
But it is not the only attraction here. You will also find references to other movies such as The Cat Returns with a cute bus stop as well as a miniature house inhabited by characters from the popular movie.
Another structure in the area, the Elevator Tower serves as the entry point to the park. It is inspired by the imaginary scientific world from the classic film Laputa: Castle in the Sky but did not feature in the movie itself and was already part of the original World Expo Park, however, it has been renovated for the opening of Ghibli Park.
Dondoko Forest, is dubbed the “Totoro Area” as it is the location of Mei’s and Satsuki’s House. This house has been standing at Moricoro Park since 2005 when the World Expo took place here and is one of the reasons why Ghibli Park is being constructed here.
The house is filled with real items from Japan in the 1950s including real newspapers, and it is so much fun to discover all of the small details including a study desk with homework, a real working water pump in the kitchen, and an overstuffed study.
This area also houses a wooden Totoro-shaped statue, called ‘Dondoko-do’ a playground structure 5.2 meters tall with space for up to five small children to play in at a time.
Mononoke Village (opens in 2023)
As the name suggests Mononoke Village will be all about the popular Princess Mononoke movie. As the central piece, it will have the Tatara-ba, the Irontown from the Muromachi period (1336-1573), which will house different local arts and crafts workshops for children.
Valley of Witches (opens in March 2024)
The Valley of Witches houses Howls Moving Castle, but unfortunately, it won’t be moving anywhere this time. Kiki’s house from Kikis Delivery Service as well as a European-inspired townscape will also be part of this area which will serve as the main restaurant area of the park.
Try the Delicious Food and Buy Original Merchandise at Ghibli Park
Only the Grand Warehouse sells any kind of food or snacks. You can buy cake with red bean paste and a bottle of milk from a small stall close to the exit, as well as typical sweets and Ramune from a tiny store.
In general, it seems to be implied that families will bring their own food and drink to picnic inside the park as the number of food shops and restaurants won’t be able to serve all visitors.
Fans of Ghibli will find original and exclusive items for sale at the shops in the different areas as well. They are selected to be loved for a long time using local products from the region to support the community. A small souvenir shop can be found close to Dondoko-do selling Omamori charms but most merchandise is sold at the souvenir shop inside Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse.
Tickets and Opening Hours – Everything You Need to Know for Your Visit
The tickets for Ghibli Park go on sale on the 10th of each month for entry three months later via Boo-Woo, a Japanese online ticket service. This service is available in Japanese only and requires tickets to be printed at a Lawson or Mini Stop convenience store within 24 hours of purchase. While there are some combination tickets, generally tickets are purchased for each area separately, with a specified entry time.
If you are currently in Japan, you can buy your tickets here.
Only a very limited number of tickets can be purchased from abroad via the international ticket website. They also go on sale on the 10th of each month for entry 3 months later and they are currently only for the Ghibli Grand Warehouse. This means that visitors from abroad cannot currently enter the other two areas.
Weekdays: ¥2,000 (children ¥1,000)
Weekends and holidays: ¥2,500 (children ¥1,250)
Every day: ¥1,000 (children ¥500)
Every day: ¥1,000 (children ¥500)
Park hours are 10:00 to 17:00 on weekdays, and 9:00 to 17:00 on weekends, holidays, and long school holidays. The park will be closed Tuesdays, except for national holidays.
Ghibli Park (ジブリパーク)
Entry Fee: See the prices above
Opening hours: weekdays 10:00 – 17:00, weekends and school holidays 9:00 – 17:00, closed Tuesdays
Address: 1533-1 Ibaragabasama, Nagakute, Aichi
Access: From Nagoya Station take the Higashiyama Line to Fujigaoka Station, transfer to Linimo Line and get off at Ai-Chikyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station.
Website | Google Maps
More Ghibli-Related Fun in Nagoya and Aichi
When you are planning a visit to Ghibli Park, don’t forget that there is more to discover around Aichi.
How about visiting a Ghibli-inspired cafe called Osu no Mori Cafe Kodama in the Osu district of Nagoya, and later have a stroll around the shopping arcades looking for Ghibli items in one of the many Anime, Manga, and gaming shops around.
Or how about joining a Ghibli-inspired character Bento cooking experience? Your food will never look as cute as Totoro-shaped riceballs surrounded by a broccoli forest, ham, and sausage flowers.
For even more Ghibli merchandise you might want to check out the Donguri Republic at Sakae Oasis 21 or Nagoya Station.
If pop culture, in general, is your thing, check out this article about the best Anime and Manga stores in Nagoya, and this one that will introduce you to some real live Anime locations around Aichi.
And don’t miss the world’s largest cosplay event, the World Cosplay Summit held each year in summer in Nagoya. You could even attend as your favorite Ghibli character.
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