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 moving along. And we mean that in more ways than one. The park has announced it is will feature a giant recreation of the eponymous building from Howl’s Moving Castle. And it has also revealed an opening date. The Studio Ghibli Park will open on November 1, and you can check out some first-look images now.
Hayao Miyazaki Theme Park Trailer
To celebrate, Hayao Miyazaki himself animated a short trailer for the 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.
Ghibli Theme Park Tickets
A full map of the park is now available for our enjoyment and for planning purposes if we’re lucky enough to attend. Per Crunchyroll, “Ghibli Park is set to open its doors on November 1 with advance ticket sales opening on August 10, winners announced on September 2, and general sales opening on September 10.”
November might sound like a lifetime away. But like a giant castle sweeping across the land, it will be here before you know it.
Originally published on February 3, 2021.