On May 31, 2017, Studio Ghibli officially announced working on a project of opening an official Ghibli theme park in the beginning of 2020. The chosen site to recreate My Neighbor Totoro’s atmosphere is Morikoro Park, in Nagoya’s suburb. The place already displays Mei and Satsuki’s house, built for Aichi’s International Exhibition in 2005.
It is the first step for a park dedicated to immersion into Studio Ghibli’s universe, especially in famous filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s works. There will be not roller coasters but rather recreations of the studio’s movies settings.
A park divided into five universes
In 2018, Aichi prefecture announced details on the park. It will spread on a 200 hectares area and open in autumn 2022. Construction work is expected to start in 2020. Ghibli Park will be divided into five areas:
|ジブリの大倉庫エリア||Ghibli Dai Soko Area||Ghibli Large Warehouse Area||4,200m²||An area with a playground for children, a 170 seats theater, cafés and shops, a part of which were partly inspired from Spirited Away.|
|どんどこ森エリア||Dondoko Mori Area||Dondoko Forest Area||20,000m²||Area including the house of My Neighbor Totoro, already built, inspired from countryside landscapes of Showa era (1926-1989)|
|青春の丘エリア||Seishun no Oka Area||Hill of Youth Area||7,500m²||Area inspired from Whisper of the Heart, with a tower remodeled in a 19th century steampunk style and a reconstitution of Chikyuya boutique and the office of The Cat Returns, as well as attractions from Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl's Moving Castle.|
|もののけの里エリア||Mononoke no Sato Area||Mononoke’s Village Area||5,400m²||Area with the reconstitution of Tatara forge and Emishi Village, and a space for resting.|
|魔女の谷エリア||Majo no Tani Area||Valley of Witches Area||27,000m²||Area inspired from Howl's Moving Castle (which will be recreated) and Kiki's Delivery Service (reconstruction of Okino residence and its garden).|
The two last areas are expected to open a little bit later, at the end of 2023 (construction works are expected to start in 2021).
These choices reflect the will to accommodate children in the best way possible, as families are the main target of this amusement park. Therefore, there is NO attraction based on:
- Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (whose copyrights are not owned by Ghibli as a matter of fact);
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind;
- Grave of the Fireflies;
- Pom Poko;
- Porco Rosso;
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea;
- The Secret World of Arrietty;
- The Tale of The Princess Kaguya;
- From Up on Poppy Hill;
- The Wind Rises.
Moreover, movies directed by Isao Takahata (1935-2018) are not featured in the park.
Ghibli amusement park expects receiving 1 million visitors in 2022 then 1,8 million per year once the five areas are completed.
Hayao Miyazaki in charge of the design
At the end of 2018, it was announced that the design of the park will be created by Studio Ghibli and the park itself will be built by the firm Nihon Sekkei for an estimated amount of ¥284,439,600 (~US$ 2,635,212.80). It is a sure fact that Hayao Miyazaki will have a say in the overall look of the park.
On May 31, 2019, two years after the creation of the park announcement, Aichi prefecture’s governor Hideaki Omura published on his Twitter account Ghibli Park’s official logo (front picture). It represents the name "Ghibli Park" ジブリパーク in katakana drawn by:
- Hayao Miyazaki (filmmaker and co-founder of the studio) for the first word ジブリ Ghibli; and,
- Toshio Suzuki (producer and president of the studio at the time) for the last characters パーク Park.
The katakana's design reminds of nature and forest undergrowth, with a reference to the cute soot gremlins, the susuwatari.
On a side note, the park’s communication is totally made by Aichi prefecture, and not by Studio Ghibli, whose official website barely mentions the project.
Cross-sections and sketches of the five areas were disclosed (see our photo gallery). Those last elements confirm Miyazaki’s implication in designing the general ambiance of the park. Colorful constructions in eclectic architectural styles are surrounded by nature and the nearby forest. A design true to Studio Ghibli’s universe that will please fans without a doubt.
We are impatient to hear further information!
From Nagoya JR Station:
- ~ 30 minutes by metro, Higashiyama Line, terminus Fujigaoka then transfer to:
- ~ 15 minutes train, Linimo Line bound for Yakusa, stop at Aichikyuhaku-kinen-koen then ~ 20 minutes walk to Mei and Satsuki's House (¥670 / ~US$ 6.20)
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