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Studio Ghibli, a colossus of Japanese animation unveils its new theme park

Studio Ghibli, a colossus of Japanese animation unveils its new theme park

Studio Ghibli, a colossus of Japanese animation unveils its new theme park
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By Sanhita Baruah  Nov 15, 2022 2:15:31 PM IST (Updated)

Studio Ghibli is well known for its meticulous attention to detail in its films. Numerous nods to the movies can be seen around the park, which is sure to please fans

One is taken aback upon arriving at Ghibli Park, which is situated around an hour's train ride away from Nagoya and roughly 300 kilometres from Tokyo. Catbus, a bus-shaped cat that appeared in the 1988 Studio Ghibli film ‘My Neighbor Totoro,’ is seated on a pillar just inside the north gate.

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Amidst the majestic trees of Moricoro Park, where Ghibli Park is located, is a wonderful public place perfect for a family outing. It's in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, the city that hosted the World Expo back in 2005.
While the rest of the approximately 200 ha that constitutes Moricoro Park have been fallow since then, the nearly 17 acres devoted to the Ghibli Park initiative have seen renewed activity.
Hill of Youth, Ghibli's Grand Emporium, Dondoko Forest, Mononoke's Village, as well as the Valley of Witches are the five sections of the theme park, each of which is themed after one of the studio's most well-known films. The first three locations are already accessible to the general public, while the other two will open the following year.
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A long-term strategy
Because of the fundamental importance that environment and ecology play in Studio Ghibli films, the park's unconventional architecture stands in stark contrast to other large theme parks like Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios.
While planning the area, it was kept in mind that “no trees should be taken down or alterations made to the ecosystem.”
The area lacks any kind of entertainment options. The space is like a hybrid environment, between a parkland and a museum. The park's mission was to conserve Ghibli's achievements for coming generations.
Costing 34 billion yen to construct (less than half the price of Super Nintendo World, the newest addition to Universal Studios park in Osaka), the attraction allows guests to experience the world of Hayao Miyazaki and the other Studio Ghibli filmmakers through life-sized recreations of the most iconic scenes from the films.
The method is an effort to reproduce the realism of Ghibli's masterpieces, such as the Oscar-winning 'Spirited Away’ and the box office smashes ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ (1988) and ‘Princess Mononoke’ (1997).
The main structure of the park is called the Ghibli Grand Warehouse, and you'll find a fictional town that combines aspects of Japanese and Western architecture from Hayao Miyazaki's films.
Key scenes from 13 Ghibli masterpieces are recreated with life-size reproductions; for example, visitors may sit next to the no-face lonely ghost from ‘Spirited Away’ or sneak into Arrietty's garden from ‘The Secret World of Arrietty.’ Down a few little ‘streets,’ viewers can see how the enchantment of Studio Ghibli's films is created, especially in the film's pivotal dinner sequences.
An all-encompassing journey
Studio Ghibli is well known for its meticulous attention to detail in its films. Numerous nods to the movies can be seen around the park, which is sure to please fans. The susuwatari, also known as ‘soot sprites,’ from ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ and ‘Spirited Away,’ and the Kodama, or ‘forest spirits,’ from ‘Princess Mononoke,’ are two examples of such characters who appear on walls and dangle from branches, respectively.
An in-house theatre shows short films produced by the company, giving newcomers a chance to learn about the fantastical world of Studio Ghibli.
Don't miss the scene in ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ when Satsuki and Mei's complete home has been lovingly recreated in the forest segment of the film.
The ‘Hill of Youth’ has a faithfully reconstructed antique store from the films ‘The Cat Returns’ and ‘Whisper of the Heart,’ replete with authentic period furnishings.
Booking tickets in advance is required for entry to the park. Each day may only accommodate 5,000 guests. As of now, all tickets are sold until the conclusion of 2022, and international Internet bookings are not scheduled to be available until early 2023.
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