Header image courtesy of Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli fans, the wait is almost over—five years after the famed animation house made an initial announcement for its plans to build a theme park, the long-awaited Ghibli Park finally has an opening date.
Ghibli Park is scheduled to open on 1 November 2022, according to an announcement made on the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account. Located outside of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, the theme park is an expansion of an existing My Neighbour Totoro attraction that was built for the 2005 World Expo. Set within the Aichi Commemorative Park, the theme park will cover a site of 200 hectares and include five themed zones: Dondoko Forest, Mononoke Village, Hill of Youth, Valley of Witches, and Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, all based on popular Studio Ghibli films.
According to the official website, the first phase of Ghibli Park will see the opening of Dondoko Forest, Hill of Youth, and Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse in November, while the themed areas of Mononoke Village and Valley of Witches are said to follow sometime in the near future. Acclaimed animator and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki maintains a strong involvement in the project, which is led by his son Gorō.
A sneak preview of one of the attractions—the Kusakabe family’s house from My Neighbour Totoro—is featured in a trailer released by the Aichi Tourism Bureau, highlighting the famous landmarks of the region.
Although Ghibli Park will not have rides for thrill-seekers, visitors will get the opportunity to explore a life-size replica of the magical house featured in Howl’s Moving Castle, the mystical tunnel that marks the beginning of Spirited Away, the iron-smelting town from Princess Mononoke, the antique store from Whisper of the Heart, and more. Facilities like cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops, exhibition rooms, and a cinema round out the experience.
Officials said that they expect as many as 1.8 million visitors per year once Ghibli Park is fully opened. Details remain scarce on the ticketing and admissions front, but the official website for Ghibli Park was launched on 1 February to give fans a brief introduction. Stay tuned for further information as we update this article with more reveals.