Visit a Weird, Whimsical, and Wonderful World at Ghibli Park

ByBert Wishart
Sep 27, 2023

Visit a Weird, Whimsical, and Wonderful World at Ghibli Park

Can you feel it in the air? The magic, the supernatural, the sense of wonder, and childish glee. No, it’s not the upcoming Halloween celebrations; it’s something more extraordinary than that and much more embedded in Japanese culture. No, that sense of enchantment and wonder you can feel all around Aichi is the knowledge that Studio Ghibli is in town.

With international smash hit animated movies like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Ponyo, Studio Ghibli is one of Japan’s most instantly recognizable cultural icons. The worlds created in its movies are at once fantastical and recognizable, and now, you, too, can inhabit them. Ghibli Park in Nagakute’s Moricoro Park (also known as Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park) is a tourist attraction in which the whimsical world of Ghibli, created by the legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, comes to life.

Spanning the park’s lush, sprawling landscape, Ghibli Park is a testament to the studio’s dedication to the wonder of their films, and visitors are transported into a realm where the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur as iconic Ghibli landscapes and characters appear before your very eyes.

Ghibli Park is divided into five distinct zones (or it will be when the Valley of Witches section opens in March 2024), each dedicated to different Studio Ghibli classics. Stroll through the lush forest of My Neighbor Totoro and look around Mei and Satsuki’s house, or explore the vibrant alleys of Spirited Away‘s Bathhouse district and look in at Yubaba’s office.

From November 2023, visitors can also enter Mononoke Village, inspired by the Japanese mountain village landscape in Princess Mononoke, which has a hands-on learning center, Tatara-ba. Here, you can try making the local specialty, Gohei-mochi (traditional Aichi rice cakes).

Ghibli Park also boasts a Ghibli-themed museum, offering insights into the creative process behind these iconic films, three times larger than the Tokyo museum. From storyboards and concept art to interactive exhibits, guests can better understand how these captivating worlds were brought to life. A screening cinema shows a different original Ghibli animated short every month. And what’s more, unlike the museum in Tokyo, here you are allowed to take photographs of the artifacts.

If there is a criticism of Ghibli Park, it is that there are no attractions in terms of rides and amusements outside of play areas for young children. However, this is more than an average theme park; it is a place where people of all ages can recapture the sense of wonder and nostalgia that Studio Ghibli has woven into their films. Ghibli Park is a testament to the enduring magic of storytelling and the timeless appeal of Studio Ghibli’s enchanting creations. For fans and newcomers alike, it’s a place where dreams take flight and the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary. And it’s right here on your doorstep.

Ghibli Park Details

Where: Aichi, Nagakute, Ibaragabasama, 1533-1, Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park (Moricoro Park) (map)


About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.

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