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    Ghibli Theme Park Previews Howl’s Castle

    The Ghibli Theme Park held a press conference on Wednesday and revealed more photos of the park and new details about its construction. The photos include parts of the park inspired by both Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle.

    A preview of Howl’s Castle, which is 16 meters (approx.52.5 feet) tall is included. There is also a picture of the area based on the Irontown settlement from Princess Mononoke, as well as a picture of Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbor Totoro.

    Courtesy of Ghibli Theme Park

    Studio Ghibli also revealed concept illustrations for various areas of the park, as well as the intended layout of the park in 2018.

    The Ghibli no Daisōko (Giant Ghibli Storehouse), the Seishun no Oka (Hill of Youth), and the Dondoko Mori (Dondoko Forest) areas of the Ghibli theme park are expected to open in Fall 2022. Fun fact: The Dondoko Mori Area will feature a recreation of the shrine and path from My Neighbor Totoro.

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    About one year later, in Fall 2023,  the Mononoke no Sato Area (Mononoke Village) inspired by Princess Mononoke, and the Majo no Tani Area (Witch Valley) inspired by Kiki’s Delivery Service is slated to open as well.

    The staff for the Ghibli Theme Park projects that the first three areas of the park that will be open in Fall 2022 will attract 1 million visitors in a year. Then in Fall 2023, when the park is fully open, the staff expects that 1.8 million people will visit a year.

    The Aichi Prefecture, where the Ghibli Theme Park is located, budgeted 31 billion yen (approx. US$280 million) for construction. The Prefecture also budgeted another 3 billion yen (approx. US$30 million) for designing and planning.

    Additionally, the staff for the Ghibli Theme Park plans to add 1,500 more parking spaces and apply measures to control traffic and accommodate the flow of visitors to the park.

    Concept art for Giant Ghibli Storehouse. Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

    The Aichi Prefecture and Studio Ghibli are working together to open the theme park in a 200-hectare area in Aichi’s Expo Park, the site of the 2005 World’s Fair.

    The park already has a replica of “Satsuki and Mei’s House,” so it makes sense to build a whole Studio Ghibli film park around it. Interestingly, this replica house was the site of a Studio Ghibli exhibition in both 2008 and 2015.

    Concept art for Giant Ghibli Storehouse (2). Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

    The Aichi Prefecture agreed to establish the park in May 2017, and the confirmation documents were finalized in March 2020. The planners for the Ghibli Theme Park revealed the basic design plans in April 2018 and then in 2019, the work on the park officially began. Studio Ghibli and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper established the Ghibli Park, Inc. company that will be responsible for the management and operation of the theme park.

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    The prefecture plans to make the park an attraction that appeals to both foreign and domestic tourists. Studio Ghibli and the prefecture are funding the operating company that will be in charge of the park.

    Map for Ghibli Theme park. Courtesy of Studio Ghibli.

    While the park is being developed, the company said that construction will not cause damage to the park through felling trees or other methods. This means that the park gets to exist with nature while satisfying our need to revel in the magic of Studio Ghibli movies.

    Are you guys excited to see how the park comes out? Do you plan on visiting Japan when the park officially opens? Is this announcement more fuel for you guys to want to move to Japan? Let me know in the comments!

    Sources: Cinema Today, Aichi governor Hideaki Ōmura’s official Twitter account, Anime News Network

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