Fresh off the announcement that Nintendo is creating a theme park addition to Universal Studios Japan, another Japanese institution has announce plans for a park of their own. This one will be very different though.
Studio Ghibli is building Ghibli Park in central Japan, where visitors will be delighted with recreations from Miyazaki’s fantastic worlds.
Details are still scarce, but we do know that the park will sit on the same patch of land where the 2005 World’s Fair sat. The property is already home to a near-perfect recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbor Totoro, making this the obvious location for new development.
The 200 hectare property is nestled in a heavily forested area near Nagoya, Japan. A few Miyazaki films are set in woody areas like this, but some of my favorite Ghibli movies overlook the ocean, so I can’t help but think that a seaside landscape wouldn’t be more appropriate. C’est la vie, I’m still going!
If they build the park in the same spirit of the Totoro recreation, this place won’t be anything like traditional theme parks. There will likely be fewer rides and more movie-perfect scenery. It’ll be a place of relaxing sights and pleasing experiences pulled straight from Ghibli films. Expect the park grounds to have flowers in bloom, seasonal decor, and trees from the surrounding forest incorporated into the setting.
Their emphasis is on the “park” portion of theme park, as you’d expect from Miyazaki.
To catch a glimpse into the future park, look no further than the existing Totoro house. Every detail was built to match the movie. Interestingly, the creators made a point to make everything interact-able to guests. There are no “Do Not Touch” signs in sight – feel free to play!
Illustrator Martin Hsu visited and had this to say about the level of freedom you have in playing with things,
This includes opening up all drawers, boxes, lids, doors, windows, hidden doors, clothes, shoes…you get the idea.
Sounds like the creators went for a visceral experience, which seems like a refreshing change.
The full Ghibli Park experience is scheduled to open in 2020, the same year as the Super Nintendo World theme park and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Everyone should start planning a trip to Japan in a few years to hit up all 3 in one epic vacation!
Anyone else thinking 2020 is their year to visit Japan?