(CNN) — Fans of “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and other films from the legendary Studio Ghibli, will have a new destination to add to their travel bucket list later this year.
Ghibli Park, opening November 1 in Japan, will be a fever dream of a theme park for anyone who has ever watched the studio’s beautiful and often surreal animated films and wanted to step into the worlds they build.
The Ghibli canon is heavy on themes of nature, friendship, strong female characters, flying machines, destiny and bravery. Their aesthetic is naturalism meets steampunk, sprinkled with its own proprietary formula of magical realism.
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse will house artifacts and exhibits from various films by the studio.
Until recently, news of the mythical Ghibli Park trickled instead of flowed, teased out in small, speculative doses in Japanese publications. It was unclear what impact the pandemic was having on the start date and what visitors would find when it opens.
Here’s what we know
When it opens in November, three of the five planned areas will be ready. The main one is Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, an indoor facility that will house artifacts and exhibits from films including the Robot Soldier from “Castle in the Sky,” the Catbus from “Totoro,” and another recreation out of the “The Secret World of Arrietty.”
At right, a rendering of the Park’s recreation of the antique shop from “Whisper of the Heart.”
A second area, “Hill of Youth,” features the antique shop from “Whisper of the Heart” and another recreation from “The Cat Returns.” And the third is Dondoko Forest with a full recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from “My Neighbor Totoro” and a Totoro-themed playground.
One of the two areas that will open later (“after 2023,” the park’s press office said) is Mononoke Village, referencing “Princess Mononoke” and her adventure among large forest animal gods. An artist rendering shows kids playing on the Demon God.
The other is the Valley of Witches, which will include some parts from the trippy “Howl’s Moving Castle,” and the more sweet “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” about an earnest and hardworking young witch. The artist drawing shows a teacup ride decorated with Kiki’s cat Jiji.
If you go to Ghibli Park, don’t expect a Catbus roller coaster, Kiki’s broomstick “Avatar”-style adventure or a Ponyo Under the Sea ride. “Take a stroll, feel the wind, and discover the wonders,” the park’s site offers as an alternative.
Think immersion and prompts for imagination rather than pyrotechnics and stomach-turning thrills.
The Valley of Witches area that will include recreatons from “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”
How to visit
You must buy separate tickets for each attraction you want to visit.
The most expensive of the three is Ghibli’s Large Warehouse. Tickets cost ¥2,000 ($15) for adults and ¥1,000 ($7.50) for children on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, that price is ¥2,500 ($19) for adults and ¥1,250 ($9) for kids.
Mononoke Village will invoke a world with large forest animal gods.
The park will be open from 10 am – 5 pm on weekdays (except for major school holidays) and from 9 am to 5 pm on public holidays and weekends. It is closed on Tuesdays unless Tuesday is a holiday.
Currently, the Ghibli Park website and ticketing page are only in Japanese.
While you wait
This article has been updated.
Top photo: A recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from “My Neighbor Totoro.” ⓒ Studio Ghibli
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