Home Cartoon budget A Studio Ghibli theme park opens in Japan in November

A Studio Ghibli theme park opens in Japan in November


For many, the mere mention of Studio Ghibli is enough to conjure up a world of fantasy and intrigue.

The animation studio famous for some of the finest works in Japanese anime ⁠— My Neighbor Totoro, Taken away as if by magic and Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle, to name a few⁠—has long welcomed visitors to the modest Ghibli Museum tucked away in the quiet outskirts of Tokyo. This year, however, visitors are invited deeper into the woods, as the studio’s new Park Ghibli officially opens in the sprawling Aichi Memorial Park (also dubbed Moricoro Park). The brand new theme park is located in Nagoya, a city accessible from Tokyo by shinkansen (high-speed train) in less than two hours.

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A display of Yubaba, an animated character from the Studio Ghibli copyrighted film Spirited Away, is seen in the Great Ghibli Warehouse area in Ghibli Park © Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Visitors accustomed to typical large theme parks will find Park Ghibli more low-key. Although the park is by no means small, there are no rides or large attractions. Instead, the lush gardens offer visitors ample space to explore and soak up the surroundings while strolling the park’s winding, tree-lined paths.

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Three themed areas ⁠—Great Warehouse Ghibli, Dondoko Forest, and Hill of Youth ⁠—will be open to park visitors on November 1, with more areas scheduled to open in 2023. The largest of the three areas, the Grand Ghibli Warehouse, is where fans can see short films previously shown only at Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum, as well as exclusive exhibits. It also wouldn’t be Studio Ghibli if the environment didn’t transport you to a different world and the Grand Warehouse is several worlds rolled into one, all ready to be discovered. Next, enter the cozy World Emporium of Whisper of the Heart at the Hill of Youth, followed by a relaxing walk through the park to Dondoko Forest, where the world of Totoro awaits.

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A member of the media takes a photo of an exhibit at Grand Ghibli Warehouse during a media tour of the new Ghibli Park in Nagakute
One of Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse immersive exhibits © Studio Ghibli/Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Separate timed entry tickets are required for admission to each area, with varying prices. Entrance to Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse will cost you ¥2,000 ($13.50) on weekdays and ¥2,500 ($16.80) on weekends, while tickets to the other two areas are ¥1,000 each. ($6.70). Children three years and older get in at half price. Tickets for November have already sold out, and the ticket lottery for entry from December is now open and available for purchase at Lawson convenience stores (Japanese language website only).

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To eat

Grab a healthy onigiri rice ball with organic vegetables, along with a nice cup of coffee at Soyogo Coffee, located right next to the park entrance, to start your trip off right. For a hearty meal after a day of sightseeing, try the signature lobster broth tsukemen (dipping noodles) or seafood-based soy sauce ramen at Menya Hanzo near Fujigaoka Station. Want quiches, cakes and other pastries worthy of a Ghibli movie? Homely Cafe SAISON is the place to go – be sure to check out their adorable seasonal cookies. Osu Mori no Cafe Kodama can be a bit overwhelming, though Ghibli fans will find its storybook-like setting and beloved Studio Ghibli characters dotted throughout the establishment well worth the trip; reservation required for dinner between 11am and 1pm.

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A bowl of hitsumabushi is a Japanese Nagoya rice dish decorated with grilled Unagi eel on top.  The eel is served in smaller pieces that allow it to be eaten simply with plain rice, or with accompanying condiments and an original soup broth or hot tea.
Hitsumabushi is a Japanese Nagoya rice dish decorated with grilled

A trip to Nagoya wouldn’t be complete without a hitsumabushi meal (crispy, grilled unagi, or eel, consumed in three different ways). Hitsumabushi Bincho is a popular spot, although there are plenty of other options dotted around Nagoya city.

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Cafes and teahouses other than those located in the park are rare, but Fujigaoka’s nearby transport hub offers plenty of options for relaxing. Whatever the time, it’s always a cool and sophisticated evening at Jazz Tearoom Aoneko, a dark and cozy underground café with walls lined with records and delicious pastries. Get a caffeine fix and even discover your new favorite blend at Freak Coffee Roasters, a modern cafe serving specialty coffee varieties. Tohenboku Cafe sits close to Park Ghibli and doubles as a beautiful art gallery where patrons can sip coffee.

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Nagoya is easily accessible from Tokyo, Gifu, Kyoto and more by bullet train. There’s plenty of accommodation around Nagoya Station to suit all budgets: from glitzy 5-star fare to a hostel room, the heart of Aichi Prefecture has options to accommodate any traveler. . Access from Nagoya city to Park Ghibli is only 45 minutes away by public transport. Studio Ghibli fans or families looking to spend more than an afternoon at the park can opt for accommodation near the less central Fujigaoka station, where a 13-minute ride on the Linimo monorail takes guests directly to the closest station to the park.