Since opening last November, fans all over the world have been swept into Miyazaki’s magical world at the Ghibli Park. The park, located in Aichi Earth Expo Memorial Park near Nagoya, is about a three-hour train ride from Tokyo.

Although there are no rides or attractions, the park brings the dreamy and fantastical atmosphere of its movies to life. The main idea of the park is a peaceful and captivating stroll. It’s a place for people to immerse themselves in the Ghibli world and marvel at the aesthetics. There’s also an abundance of cafés to settle down at and other facilities inside the park. Whether you grew up with the beloved animations or are in for a spark of magical realism, Ghibli Park will be right up your alley.

The park is built around the luscious nature of Aichi Prefecture, and the integration with the area was of vital importance to Hayao Miyazaki, who insisted no trees be cut during construction. Three of the five areas planned are set to open during the first phase of openings: Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest.

Ghibli park entrance

Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

Ascend Into The Ghibli World: Hill of Youth

Hill of Youth is a green hill based on various Ghibli movies, featuring a revamped footbridge that is now the entrance to an observation tower with 19th-century-inspired trinkets and other elements reminiscent of Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. You’ll also find a real-life version of the antique shop depicted in Whisper of the Heart, from which you can observe a dazzling view over the entire park, alongside the Cat Bureau from The Cat Returns.

Ghibli park warehouse

Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

Stroll Through Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse

Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse is a beautifully designed indoor area three times the size of the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. The warehouse is a mix of Japanese and Western design and contains exhibits and movie screenings, various shops and restaurants, play areas and Ghibli-inspired architectural pieces, such as a Laputa robot and a grand garden setting that will make you feel like the tiny Arrietty from the eponymous movie. Rain or shine, you can relish in an abundance of Ghibli immersion here.

Ghibli park forest

Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

Meet Totoro and Friends in Dondoko Forest

Dondoko Forest pays homage to the movie My Neighbour Totoro. It was inspired by Satsuki and Mei’s House, a recreation that already stood in the park since 2005 for the Aichi Expo. You can wander around this area leisurely, visit the house, and discover the wooden Totoro statue — which you can climb inside of.

Get Excited For More

The other two areas that are currently under construction will follow in phases two and three. It was recently announced that Mononoke’s Village will open on November 1, 2023, which will be a recreation of Tatara-ba, or Irontown from the movie Princess Mononoke, including life-size statues of Okkoto, the old boar god from the movie. There’s also been hinting at a pottery workshop. On March 16, 2024, Valley of Witches will open, an area depicting scenes from Kiki’s Delivery Service, featuring Kiki’s house and bakery where you can buy Kiki-inspired loaves of bread. It will also have a space dedicated to a 16-meter tall replica of Howl’s Moving Castle, complete with visitable rooms. 

Essential Info

Tickets are currently sold through a monthly lottery system for September via Boo Woo Ticket. You have to pick your preferred date, time and area, which you cannot change after the lottery application. From November, sales will be on a first come, first serve basis. 

Be aware that each area has its own ticket fee, but these aren’t heavy compared to the larger theme parks in Japan.