When you think of Japanese animation, the feature films from Studio Ghibli come to mind – specifically, Hayao Miyazaki’s. His works such as My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, and Spirited Away are beloved and celebrated worldwide, inspiring animators and film directors alike. So when he announced his supposed retirement from feature films, his son Goro Miyazaki wanted to “make something so [his films] wouldn’t be forgotten.”
This gave way to building a park that’s themed on the different worlds that Miyazaki has built, the Ghibli Park. The park isn’t just any type of theme park though. It is built around the existing space, making the environment add to the overall experience for visitors.
Miyazaki’s films carry multiple themes, including those that tackle environmental issues like Princess Mononoke. With that in mind, it makes sense that Ghibli Park also respects that sentiment with the aim that its visitors experience the park’s atmosphere.
Experience the environment of Ghibli films
Unlike the typical theme park, Ghibli Park was built to minimize any changes in the original landscape of the area. Instead of leveling the ground for rides and other big attractions, the park is built around the environment of the area’s original layout.
As an example, before the park’s construction, the area it is occupying is part of the Aichi Expo Commemorative Park. This used to include an indoor pool and skating rink. The building of the Ghibli Park repurposes these spaces and now houses the Grand Warehouse section. This section includes a cinema for the screening of the studio’s short films, iconic stills from Miyazaki’s films, and even a Cat Bus room that’s similar to the one found in their museum in Mitaka. Aside from that, according to The Washington Post, the creators of the park also made sure that the materials were sourced locally in light of sustainability.
Toyota Tsusho also supports that, as a partner to Ghibli Park. In a press release, Toyota Tsusho states, “Toyota Tsusho is promoting businesses that help realize a sustainable society from a long-term perspective based on its corporate philosophy of ‘living and prospering together with people, society, and the planet, and to be a value-generating corporation that contributes to the creation of prosperous societies,’ with ‘contribution to the transition into a decarbonized society’ and ‘contribution to the development of a recycling-based society’ as the Key Sustainability Issues. Toyota Tsusho agrees with the concept of Ghibli Park, which aims to coexist with nature, and will support the park as an official partner so that many people will be able to visit and enjoy the park.”
The most important aspect of Ghibli Park is the atmosphere it tries to recreate from the studio’s feature films. The park has the Dondoko Forest which recreates the rural home from My Neighbor Totoro. Soon, it will have Mononoke’s Village which aims to recreate the village from Princess Mononoke. Both films are set in lush environments, one that is incorporated seamlessly into the park due to the area’s greenery.
Right now, Ghibli Park is open. However, it is slated to be completed in 2024. If you’re a fan and want to experience it yourself, the park is located in the Aichi prefecture. The tickets range from JPY 1,000 to 2,500.
YouTube: Take a sneak peek inside Japan’s upcoming Studio Ghibli theme park
Photo credit: The feature image was part of a press release by Toyota Tsusho, published for media usage.
Sources: Thu Huong-Ha (The Japan Times) / Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Julia Mio Inuma, and Shiho Fukada (The Washington Post) / Tabea Greuner (TimeOut) / Toyota Tsusho press release