Studio Ghibli has brought joy and awe with its portrayals of the magical realm, and the renowned animation studio will soon bring that same wonder over to the real world in a different form.
The Ghibli Park, which was first announced in 2017, is set to celebrate the studio’s legacy by featuring five themed zones that are based on its popular works, such as My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.
The theme park, in line with its original schedule for a 2022 release, has now announced that it will be opening on Nov 1, with construction currently underway for two attractions: A giant replica of Howl’s signature castle from Howl’s Moving Castle in Witch Valley, and the Princess Mononoke area.
This gives a lowdown of all five distinct sections: Youth Hill, Ghibli Warehouse, Dondokomori, Witch Valley, and Mononoke Village. The first three will open their doors first, while the latter two are only accepting visitors from the following year.
Spanning 7.9 acres, Witch Valley is set to become the largest area of the amusement destination by far. While the castle won’t be a full-sized recreation of its animated counterpart, it’s still plenty tall at four or five stories high. Once finished, guests can expect to witness the cannons in motion, visit Howl’s bedchambers inside the building, and take a walk in the garden.
The Hatter’s Hat Shop is the second Howl’s Moving Castle-related influence here, while Kiki’s Delivery Service is represented by the childhood house of Kiki and the Guchokipanya bakery. For those looking to fill their stomachs, Ghibli Park’s restaurant can be found on the premises as well.
Mononoke Village, meanwhile, offers a glimpse of the world of Princess Mononoke. The 1.98-acre space is a recreation of the locations in the film, such as Emishi Village, where male lead Ashitaka first meets with protagonist San, and Irontown, the outcast settlement led by Lady Eboshi. Visitors can also look forward to a traditional charcoal burner’s hut in the sector, alongside an educational experience element in the ironworks area.
Elsewhere in the park, Youth Hill will feature attractions based on The Cat Returns and Whisper of the Heart. Ghibli Warehouse comes adorned with other Studio Ghibli elements, whereas the Dondokomori area pays tribute to the world of My Neighbour Totoro.
Ghibli Park may still be a work-in-progress, but it seems to be on the right track to becoming the dream attraction that fans have been hoping for years. November sounds a little far, but you know they say, good things come to those who wait.
This article was first published in Geek Culture.