Try not to get spirited away

Whenever Studio Ghibli films are mentioned, frames overflowing with watercolours that capture the delicate movements of nature and well-loved characters of its anime franchises come to mind. And a couple of years from now, you'll be able to slip inside the spellbinding anime worlds created and experience Studio Ghibli's productions in person, with just the price of an admission ticket.

A Studio Ghibli theme park is well underway, with the latest news pointing at a 2022 opening date. Located in Japan's Nagakute city in Aichi prefecture, on the grounds where the World Expo was once held, the 500-acre theme park is everything a Studio Ghibli fan can want. 

Five themed areas have been announced so far. The adventure starts at Youth Hill, where guests can board a steampunk elevator, inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle, up to a vantage point overseeing the entire park. Then there's the Ghibli Large Warehouse Area, featuring buildings with a blend of Japanese and Western-styled architecture, and where a variety of exhibitions, games and even a cinema will be located. 

Possibly one of the most recognisable Japanese anime films of all time, My Neighbour Totoro, naturally gets a dedicated land of its own. The Dondoko Forest Area replicates the magical forest where protagonists Mei and Satsuki reside, complete with guided trails through the rural landscape. Princess Mononoke, another major hit, warrants its own themed land with Mononoke's Village, inspired by the Irontown settlement in the film. Lastly, there's Witches’ Valley, a nod to the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service, and will be filled with restaurants and rest stops set to a backdrop of a fictional European town.

It should be mentioned that the park will not be erected at the expense of a single tree currently rooted to the grounds used. Rather, the development will be in-line with studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s pro-environmental stance and be built in harmony with nature. So expect plenty of walking trails and immersive environments rather than speeding roller coasters and crazy rides.

Now all that’s left to do is wait for the Catbus to come pick us up.

The Studio Ghibli theme park is slated to open in 2022, in Nagakute city, Aichi prefecture.