Ghibli Park, the official Studio Ghibli theme park opening in Aichi Prefecture, is certainly coming in with a lot of hype. And now, they have released four new concept artworks for two of the theme park’s five areas. The first one will be for the Great Ghibli Warehouse, and it teases the restaurant alley from Spirited Away. It also teases a 170-seat theater (the yellow building) and a permanent exhibit (the blue building).

The next images preview Youth Hill, which takes inspiration from The Cat Returns, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. In fact, one of its main attractions is the Cat’s Office from The Cat Returns, as well as a tower inspired by both Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle.

According to the prefecture’s announcement, the theme park itself will be having five different areas. These areas include:

  • Youth Hill: Will feature themes and architecture from Howl’s Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart.
  • Great Ghibli Warehouse: Will include  an indoor heated pool, a video room, a children’s playground, and exhibition spaces.
  • Mononoke Village: As the name suggests, Princess Mononoke inspires this area, and it will include statues of several creatures from the Hayao Miyazaki movie. This includes Tatari-gami and Okkoto-nushi.
  • The Valley of the Witch: Will include areas inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
  • Dondoko Forest: Will have My Neighbor Totoro-inspired nature themes, as well as the replica of Satsuki and Mei’s House.

So yeah, like entertainment theme parks like Disney Land and Universal Studios, it’s also divided into different areas.

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: Asahi Shimbun


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