For a lot of Japanese animation fans, November 2022 was a month of celebration as the long-anticipated Ghibli Park finally opened. It promised a chance for fans to transport themselves to a fictional world even bigger than the Mitaka museum.
Ghibli’s theme park opened with three completed sections with an expansion added in the fall of 2023 and one more set for March of 2024. The park’s designers were focused on a magical atmosphere, so there are no plans to include rides outside of a few basic attractions. Instead, guests can enjoy special exhibits, activities, exclusive short films, and more.
Find out all there is to know about the park and how you can enjoy it yourself in the article below.
Studio Ghibli Theme Park Location
Ghibli’s theme park (Ghibli Park) is located in Aichi Prefecture at the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. The Ghibli portion only takes up a small section, while the rest of the park consists of open walking paths, baseball fields, tennis courts, and even an ice skating rink.
To enter the Ghibli area, you have to walk along a pedestrian bridge before taking a giant fantasy-inspired elevator down to the ground floor. From there, you can walk to the main attractions.
Studio Ghibli Theme Park Rides
Let’s rip the band-aid off of this question. No, Ghibli Park will not have major rides. Organizers have stated that the intention behind the park is not to cater to adrenaline seekers. Rather, it’s supposed to be a thoughtfully-constructed dreamland for fans of the animation studio to get lost in, similar to the Harry Potter theme park in Tokyo.
If you were hoping for something closer to Disneyland, you’ll have to keep waiting. However, there are a few small attractions including the Carousel (similar to any carousel ride but with a Ghibli theme) and the Flying Machine (a sort of midair carousel in Ghibli vehicles), both in the Valley of the Witches.
Ghibli Park Layout
While there aren’t many rides in Ghibli Park, there are plenty of areas to explore and exhibits to see that will keep you entertained.
At the moment, there are five sections open to visitors.
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse
The main attraction. The big shebang. Ghibli Park’s website describes the Grand Warehouse as “An indoor facility that stores all of the studio’s secrets, from large to small artifacts and exhibits from past Studio Ghibli movies.”
There’s a 170-seat theater that plays all ten of the original short films that debuted at the Mitaka museum. On top of that, you can stop for lunch at a café selling sweets, drinks, and sandwiches before checking out a merchandise shop packed with limited edition items.
Most important of all, there are special exhibitions. Here are the current ones:
- “Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes.” There, you can enter the realistic sets of characters like Yababa and No Face from Spirited Away, the robots from Castle in the Sky, Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, and more.
- “Delicious! Animating Memorable Meals Expanded Edition.” If you want to feel insanely hungry by seeing how the delicious food in Ghibli was created, this is your chance.
- “Ghibli’s Collections.” A large collection of Ghibli memorabilia, from books to posters, and more.
The Hill of Youth
The next stage of Studio Ghibli’s amusement park is the Hill of Youth, an area that takes inspiration mostly from Howl’s Moving Castle. You can also see the “World Emporium” antique shop from Whisper of the Heart and hunt down little nods to The Cat Returns.
The final third of the original park construction was based on My Neighbor Totoro. It’s geared toward kids, but adults can also get a blast of nostalgia by walking through the forest. In it, you’ll find Satsuki and Mei’s house as well as a giant Totoro that kids can climb into.
Remember Ashitaka’s village at the start of Princess Mononoke? Mononoke Village is based on that, with lush, green fields and a model of the fort from the movie spread throughout. This part of the park opened in the fall of 2023 and includes a charcoal grilled mochi experience (a local Aichi prefecture delicacy) for an extra fee of ¥1,200.
Valley of Witches
The second area of the park’s expansion is currently set to open in March of 2024. As the name suggests, it’s a Kiki’s Delivery Service-themed area, but it’ll also have nods to Howl’s Moving Castle, too. Both films are influenced by European aesthetics, so the Valley of Witches should feel like walking through a slice of Europa – with a Ghibli twist.
As with everything else in the amusement park, they’re striving for authenticity. In this case, that means sourcing oak and chestnut lumber from various locations around Japan. That’s the main reason for the delays in opening.
If you’ve ever managed to get Ghibli museum tickets at any point, you’ll know how much of a hassle the animation giant makes things. The theme Park isn’t much different.
Tickets can only be purchased online or through Loppi machines at Lawson or Ministop convenience stores three months in advance on the 10th of each month. When booking, you’ll have to choose from two packages that grant different levels of access (there’s a third, lighter option for domestic shoppers) and multiple entry times from 9 AM to 3 PM. Note that tickets cannot be purchased on site.
If you want the best shot at booking your spot, take a look at our post detailing how to get studio Ghibli theme park tickets.
Ghibli Park Cost
If you manage to be one of the lucky ones who gets a ticket for Ghibli Park, you can look forward to paying one of the following fees:
|Ghibli Park Pass Type
|Adult Price (weekday/weekend and holiday)
|Age 4-12 Price (weekday/weekend and holiday)
|Age 0-3 Price
|Light Sanpo (domestic purchase only)
A ¥110 ticketing fee will also apply, but once you’ve paid that you’ve gained access to everything your ticket applies to. For the Grand Warehouse, that includes the short films and exhibits.
How to Get to Ghibli Park
Ready to make your way over? Here are the deets on getting to Ghibli Park:
- Bus: The Meitetsu Bus for Aichi Expo Memorial Park Station from Nagoya station takes about 40 minutes.
- Train: Take the Rinimo line to Ai-Chikyuhaku-Kinen-Kouen station.
- Car: There are parking lots available in the park, though they may fill up quickly.
Ghibli Park may not be quite what some were expecting when they first heard that the famed animation studio was creating a theme park. However, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of fun to be had inside.
From charming Totoro-themed forests to scenes from your favorite Ghibli movies, there’s no shortage of things to do. And it’s set to get even better with the Valley of Witches expansion.
Just do your best to get tickets, because they sell like hot cakes!
Aichi Commemorative Park image by Nyakaman. CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1060761
Satsuki and Mei’s house image by Petr Vodička, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60533064