It was way back in 2015 when we first learned that Studio Ghibli had plans for its very own theme park. That was basically a lifetime ago. Fortunately, we won’t actually have to wait that long to visit. The amusement destination that will celebrate the beloved animation studio is now open. Among other things, it features a giant recreation of the eponymous building from Howl’s Moving Castle. In addition, people who don’t live in Japan will soon be able to visit the Studio Ghibli Park, international ticket sales are just around the corner. You can check out some first-look images below.
Ghibli Theme Park Tickets
Previously, Studio Ghibli Theme Park tickets were only available to those living in Japan. But according to its official website, the park has officially announced it will begin to sell international tickets. International tickets to the theme park will release on January 10 at 2:00 p.m. JST (9 pm PST). The current dates available for international reservations are March 15 to April 30, 2023.
A full map of the park is now available for our enjoyment and for planning purposes if we’re lucky enough to attend.
Hayao Miyazaki Theme Park Trailer
To celebrate the opening of the Ghibli world, Hayao Miyazaki himself animated a short trailer for the theme park. According to Crunchyroll, “The Ghibli Park trailer asks people to “take their time coming” and features an array of fan-favorite Ghibli characters as they ride in the Cat Train (a play on My Neighbor Totoro‘s Cat Bus) to get to the park. We are totally charmed.
Ghibli Park Features
The home of Studio Ghibli’s upcoming amusement park, Aichi Prefecture, recently shared a big update (which we first heard about at Kotaku). A giant replica of Howl’s titular moving castle from the 2004 film will be built inside the “Witch Valley” portion of the park. “Witch Valley,” which has begun construction, will be one of five distinct areas. The section will also draw from another Studio Ghibli hit, Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Howl’s Moving Castle Giant Recreation
Howl’s signature castle won’t actually be able to motor across land like the animated version. However, the concept art for the building is reason enough alone to want to head to Japan to see it in person. And although the park’s version won’t be a full-sized recreation, it will still be plenty tall. When finished it will stand four to five stories high. Guests will be able to “see the eye-catching cannons moving.” As well as “Howl’s bedroom inside the building.” Visitors will also be able to walk the castle’s gardens and dine at accompanying restaurants. Recently, we got a new glimpse at the Ghibli theme park feature.
Other Parts of the Theme Park
Aichi Prefecture also announced the fifth new section of the park, the “Princess Mononoke” area. (Guess what movie that’s based on!) It has also begun construction.
Along with “Witch Valley,” the “Princess Mononoke” area will join the three previously announced sections. That includes “Youth Hill,” which will feature attractions based on The Cat Returns and Whisper of the Heart. “Ghibli Warehouse” will be adorned with other Studio Ghibli elements. And the the “Dondokomori” area will celebrate My Neighbor Totoro. Those three sections will open in 2022. Guests will be able to visit “Witch Valley” and “Princess Mononoke” the following year. There will also be a tremendous amount of natural spaces, which highlight the spirit of the films.
For now, the park has opened its Dondoko Forest, Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, and Hill of Youth areas. The Mononoke Forest will open in late 2023, and the Valley of Witches section will open in March 2024.
We can’t wait to take a closer look someday.
Originally published on February 3, 2021.