Studio Ghibli’s official amusement park to open in November 2022
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 2005 Aichi’s International Exhibition.
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 5 universes
In 2018, Aichi prefecture announced details on the park. It will spread on a 7,1 hectares area (of the 200 of the Universal Expo’s site) and open on November 1, 2022. Construction work started on July 28, 2020, with no foreseeable delay due to the Coronavirus 🦠. Ghibli Park will be divided into five areas:
The two last areas are expected to open a little bit later: at the end of March 2024 (construction works have started in 2021).
The estimated construction cost is ¥34 billion (~252.5 million dollars), of which ¥3 billion (~22.3 million dollars) were spent on design and mapping.
An official presentation video was released, but with very few hints regarding the actual park:
The zoning 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.
🎨 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 (~2.1 million dollars). 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 announcement of the park’s creation, 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.
💴 Admission fee and booking
In the same manner as for Ghibli Museum, advance booking is required, and tickets are not purchasable on site. Reservation will be possible from August 2022 for November’s opening. Buying tickets from overseas is likely to be very complicated or next to impossible unless a Japan-specialized travel agency is involved.
Each area has its own admission fee:
- Ghibli Grand Warehouse:
- On a weekday: ¥2,000 (~US$14.85)
- On the weekend and holidays: ¥2,500 (~US$18.57)
- Dondoko Forest: ¥1,000 (~US$7.43)
- Hill of Youth: ¥1,000 (~US$7.43)
Children’s admission fee (4 to 12 years old) is half the price. It is free for children up to 3 years old.
The park is open from 10 a.m. on a weekday and from 9 a.m. on the weekend. Closing hour is 5 p.m.
Ghibli Park is expecting to receive 1 million visitors in 2022 then 1,8 million per year once the five areas are completed. After completion of the park, a revenue of ¥48 billion (~356.5 million dollars) is expected annually.