More details of the Studio Ghibli theme park revealed, including an area inspired by My Neighbor Totoro
The studio has shared more teasers for the much-anticipated park, which is set to include huge replicas of Howl's Castle, the airship from Castle in the Sky and the settlement from Princess Mononoke.
- Ayla Angelos
- 7 June 2021
Studio Ghibli, the famed Japanese animation studio behind many iconic films including Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, has given details of its new theme park that’s currently under construction. First announced in 2018, the theme park is set to open in late 2022 – so there’s still a little time to wait for all fellow Studio Ghibli fans.
What we can tell you, however, is that the park will feature an area themed around My Neighbor Totoro, the 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by the studio for Tokuma Shoten. Bringing the illustrative style of the film (and many others) to the real world, the development will feature cinematic elements that appear on screen and place them into the context of a theme park, located near Nagoya in Central Japan. Alongside the Totoro area, there will be a 16-metre-tall Howl’s Castle, inspired by the 2004 film; a 6.3-metre-long recreation of the airship in Castle in the Sky; the Irontown settlement from Princess Mononoke; the valley from Kiki's Delivery Service; plus the witch’s home from Ghibli's latest release, Earwig and the Witch.
The park is being built on a 200-hectare site in Nagakute, where the World Expo was held and where there is already an existing replica of Satsuki and Mei’s house from Totoro, which will be incorporated into the theme park.
In total, the park will include a number of themed areas: The Ghibli no Daisōko (a Giant Ghibli Warehouse), the Seishun no Oka (Hill of Youth) and Dondoko Mori (the Dondoko Forest), set to open in late 2022. A year later will see the opening of the Mononoke no Sato area (Mononoke Village) and Majo no Tani area (Witch Valley). The Dondoko Mori area will also feature a shrine and path taken from My Neighbor Totoro. Work has been underway since 2019 and is set to continue for two or three years in total, with an estimated budget of 31 billion yen for construction, while an extra 3 billion yen has been added for the design and planning. It’s been projected that one million visitors will annually visit the first three areas as soon as they open; nearly two million will visit once the park is fully open the following year. The project is a collaboration between Aichi prefecture (the location of the site) and Studio Ghibli.
For those who can’t wait to have a peek, scroll down to see more of the concept illustrations created for the different areas of the park.
GalleryCopyright © Studio Ghibli 2021
Ghibli theme park, Dondoko Mori area (Copyright © Studio Ghibli 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.