All About Japan

Studio Ghibli Set to Open New Theme Park

| Theme Parks , Ghibli

Fans of Studio Ghibli and all of their films, from Princess Mononoke to Ponyo, have been flocking to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo since it opened in 2001. But they now have something else to look forward to, as it was just announced that Aichi Prefecture’s EXPO Park will be transformed into Ghibli Park by 2020. On May 31, Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and Aichi prefectural governor Hideaki Oomura held a conference where they agreed on a summary of plans.

The park—located in Nagakute City, just east of the prefecture’s capital, Nagoya—was the site of the 2005 World EXPO. It sprawls over 200 hectares of land, and is rich with natural greenery and gardens. The park was initially opened in 1970 as the Aichi Youth Park (Aichi Seishounen Koen) and was reopened for the World EXPO as the Ai-Chikyuhaku Kinen Koen, a play on words using “love” (ai) and “earth” (chikyu) to include “Aichi” in the name of the park. While a lot of the facilities added for the World EXPO have been removed, there still remains a water park and swimming pool, ice skating rink and a giant Ferris wheel.

Probably most notably, the site is also home to the famous life-sized recreation of Satsuki and Mei’s house from the well-loved film My Neighbor Totoro, making it an appropriate location for the new park. While some renovations and maintenance will be done, the trees and natural plant life will not be lumbered or destroyed in the process.

2020 is looking like a great year to come visit Japan!

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