In 2017, news broke of an exciting new Ghibli theme park coming to Japan, based upon the ever-popular Studio Ghibli films. Now, it has been revealed that this highly anticipated anime park will officially open in Fall 2022.

Since 1984, Studio Ghibli films have served as an introduction to the world of anime for fans worldwide, garnering their very own cult following.

The park will be located in Aichi Expo Commemorative Park in Nagakute City, Aichi prefecture, the former site of the 2005 World EXPO. EXPO Park has been an attraction for Ghibli fans for quite some time now, as it features a full-scale replica of the home of Mei and Satsuki Kusakabe’s home from the film “My Neighbor Totoro.”

The location covers over 494 acres and will continue in five themed areas.

While there will be rides, massive rollercoasters will be avoided in favour of nature trails that will feel as if they were taken right from the movies. The park will celebrate the natural beauty that inspired their lush animation.

As enthusiasts may know, construction recently began on the Ghibli theme park earlier this year. However, construction stopped for two weeks in April and May due to COVID-19. Despite this minor interruption, construction has managed to stay on track for the park, staying true to its scheduled 2022 debut.

Ghibli Theme Park Areas – Currently Under Construction

Youth Hill

“The Hill of Youth” is loosely based on “Whisper of the Heart.” Located at the park’s north entrance, you’ll find a yellow gate and an observation tower, complete with nineteenth-century objects from Howl’s Moving Castle.

This section also features European-style brick buildings and buildings reminiscent of the Seiseki-Sakuragoaka Tokyo neighbourhood antique shop from Whisper of the Heart.

Great Ghibli Warehouse

Also called Ghibli’s Large Warehouse or Big Ghibli Warehouse, the Warehouse will be situated on the former site of a large swimming pool. It is an indoor attraction that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, regardless of the weather.

The Warehouse will feature a children’s playground, an exhibition room, a cinema, shops, restaurants, and a literal warehouse in which revolving exhibits will be stored. The concept art of the Warehouse has been described as “eclectic,” incorporating Japanese and Western architectural design elements.

Dondoko Forest

Based on My Neighbor Totoro, this area resembles the Show period (1926 to 1989). The area will expand on the existing structures, blending into the surrounding countryside.

Ghibli Theme Park Areas – Awaiting Construction

Mononoke’s Village

Mononoke Village, based on the film Princess Mononoke, will transport visitors back to the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573) in which the film is set. It recreates Tatara-ba, or Irontown, named for a traditional Japanese metal smelting furnace.

The area will be inhabited by figures of the spider-like tatari gami, the god of destruction; the boar god, Lord Okkoto; and other mystical creatures.

Witch Valley*

Also called the Valley of Witches, this colourful area will feature attractions themed after Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, including the castle itself and Kiki’s home.

*Development is expected to start on these areas in 2021.

President of Studio Ghibli, Kiyofumi Nakajima, has confirmed that an official groundbreaking ceremony will commence on July 28th, to celebrate the park’s construction.

Study Up!

If you are unfamiliar with Studio Ghibli, we strongly suggest you check it out. Currently, you can stream the entire extensive catalogue (listed below) on HBO Max.

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
  • Castle in the Sky (1986)
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
  • Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Porco Rosso (1992)
  • Pom Poko (1994)
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995)
  • Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
  • Spirited Away (2001)
  • The Cat Returns (2002)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006)
  • Ponyo (2008)
  • Arrietty (2010)
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
  • The Wind Rises (2013)
  • The Tale of the Prencess Kaguya (2013)
  • When Marnie Was There (2014)
  • How Do You Live? (Coming in 2020)

Do you think a Ghibli theme park sounds like a good addition to Japan’s amusement park lineup? Which area are you most looking forward to visiting? Given the success of the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo, we trust this park will be a massive success.