In 2022, Studio Ghibli will open its very first official theme park in Aichi Prefecture. And now, the Aichi Prefectural Government has announced even more details. In a press conference, Governor Hideaki Oomura said that in 2022, three areas will be opening. They are  Seishun no Oka Area (Hill of Youth), Ghibli no Oosouko Area (Giant Ghibli Storehouse), and Dondoko Mori Area (Dondoko Forest).

The theme park will also feature two other areas, though they will open in 2023. They are the Mononoke no Sato Area (Mononoke Village) and Majo no Tani Area (Witch Valley) areas.

Seishun no Oka Area (Hill of Youth) takes a 19th century science fantasy style theme. It will also feature a replica of the shop from Whisper of the Heart.

Meanwhile, the Giant Ghibli Storehouse will combine Japanese and Western styles, and will have that unique Ghibli feel. It will feature various shops, cafes, and other facilities. These include a new video room and a display room.

As for the Dondoko Forest, it will have more of a My Neighbor Totoro feel. It will even have that existing replica of Mei and Satsuki’s house.

And then there’s the Princess Mononoke-inspired Mononoke Village, which takes inspiration from both Emishi Village and Irontown/Tataraba. It will include a resting space for visitors, as well as a replica of the Irontown Forge.

And finally, there’s the Northern Europe-inspired Witch Valley. Its themes will include Kiki’s Delivery Service, as well as Howl’s Moving Castle. The area itself will inclide the Okino residence and garden from Kiki’s Delivery Service, as well as replicas of Howl’s Moving Castle and the Wasteland. It will also have a restaurant area, as well as a rest area.

Originally, both Ghibli and Aichi Prefecture planned to open the theme park on 2020. But now, they revealed that they’re gonna be pushing its opening a bit further, on 2022. They will be opening this “Ghibli Park” within a 200-hectare area called Expo Park. It will be recreating Totoro’s forest home, as well as adding a recreation of the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart inside the park.

For its construction, Ghibli doesn’t want to cut down trees, or damage the environment of the Expo Park through the many methods of construction. This means that they want to create an environmentally-friendly park, as expected of the nature-loving Hayao Miyazaki. “Studio Ghibli’s films have love toward living creatures and Earth, which fits the concept of the expo,” Oomura said. “I would like to pass down this idea to future generations.”

Found in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, Expo Park was the site of the 2005 World Expo. It already contains a replica of Satsuki and Mei’s House from My Neighbor Totoro, which Ghibli unveiled back in 2005 for that event. The studio actually held exhibitions in that house as well.

The park is actually a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and the Aichi Prefecture government. Both parties will be funding the operations for the park, as they aim to attract both local Japanese and foreign tourists alike.

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source: Animation Business Journal


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