Super Nintendo World isn’t the only new theme park we have on our must-visit list once Japan reopens its borders. Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation film studio, will open its very own theme park on November 1, 2022—and tickets go on sale this August.
Not to be confused with the existing Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Ghibli Park will be located within Aichi Earth Expo Memorial Park, the former site of the 2005 World Expo about an hour east by train from Nagoya. Japan’s fourth largest city by population, Nagoya can be reached by bullet train in roughly 1.5 hours from Tokyo.
Ghibli Park will eventually have five areas themed around some of director and screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular movies. When it opens in November, three themed areas will be completed, including “Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse,” “Dondoko Forest,” and the “Youth Hill.” As seen in the rendering above, the “Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse” zone will be an indoor area with shops, exhibition spaces, and a dining section based on the 2001 film Spirited Away.
The “Dondoko Forest” part is based on the movie My Neighbor Totoro. A fully built replica of the house from the 1988 movie already exists on the site from the 2005 World Expo, and park developers are planning on using this existing landmark within the new Ghibli Park. The “Youth Hill” area will be partially based on Howl’s Moving Castle and also include replicas of buildings from the film Whisper of the Heart.
In 2023, the park plans to add a “Mononoke Village” area—with a replica of Irontown from the movie Princess Mononoke—and a “Valley of Witches” inspired by both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle. There are plans to build a four- to five-story replica of Howl’s castle—that unfortunately won’t move—according to Tokyo Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.
While there will be rides, don’t expect the massive roller coasters you’d find at other theme parks. The park doesn’t plan to remove any existing trees to build new attractions in order to reflect the natural elements found in many Studio Ghibli movies.
How to get tickets and how much they cost
Tickets to Ghibli Park are scheduled to go on sale in August 2022, through Ghibli Park’s website. Each area of the Ghibli Park will charge its own ticket fee separately, and must be booked in advance for specific dates and times. (Tickets are not required for kids under 3 years old, while children four years old through elementary school age qualify for discounted tickets.) Tickets will cost:
Weekdays: ¥2,000 (children ¥1,000)
Weekends and holidays: ¥2,500 (children ¥1,250)
Every day: ¥1,000 (children ¥500)
Every day: ¥1,000 (children ¥500)
To put those prices into context, at publication time, ¥500 is worth just under US$5, ¥1,000 is worth just under US$8, and ¥2,000 is worth is the equivalent of US$15.50.
Park hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on long school holidays. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the hours are also 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park will be closed Tuesdays, execpt for national holidays, and the November 1 opening day, which also happens to be a Tuesday.
While you wait for Ghibli Park to open this fall, you can rewatch your favorite Studio Ghibli movies on HBO Max with a monthly subscription.
This article was published in April 2021; it was updated with new information on May 17, 2022.