Studio Ghibli Releases Tantalizing Concept Art for Its New Theme Park, Opening in Japan in 2022

When you watch an ani­mat­ed film, you vis­it a world. That holds true, to an extent, for live-action movies as well, but much more so for those cin­e­mat­ic expe­ri­ences whose audio­vi­su­al details all come, of neces­si­ty, craft­ed from scratch. Walt Dis­ney under­stood that bet­ter than any­one else in the motion-pic­ture indus­try, and none could argue that he did­n’t cap­i­tal­ize on it. When they found­ed Stu­dio Ghi­b­li, Hayao Miyaza­ki and the late Isao Taka­ha­ta — in the fine 20th-cen­tu­ry Japan­ese tra­di­tion of bor­row­ing West­ern ideas and then refin­ing them near­ly beyond recog­ni­tion — took Dis­ney’s delib­er­ate world-build­ing a step fur­ther, painstak­ing­ly craft­ing a look and feel for their pro­duc­tions that amounts to a sep­a­rate real­i­ty: rich, coher­ent, and, for the mil­lions of die-hard Ghi­b­li fans all around the world, immense­ly appeal­ing.

In a few years, those fans will get the chance to enter Ghi­b­li’s world in a much more con­crete sense. Dis­ney’s insight that his audi­ence would beat a path to an amuse­ment park based on his stu­dio’s movies led to Dis­ney­land, Dis­ney World, and their glob­al suc­ces­sors, two of which, Tokyo Dis­ney­land and Tokyo Dis­ney Sea, now rank among the five most vis­it­ed theme parks in the world.

The area of the Japan­ese cap­i­tal already offers an acclaimed Ghi­b­li expe­ri­ence in the form of the Ghi­b­li Muse­um, but in just a few years the city of Nagakute, a sub­urb of Nagoya, will see the open­ing of Ghi­b­li’s own ver­sion of Dis­ney­land, a theme park filled with attrac­tions based on the stu­dios beloved films.

Sched­uled to open in 2022 on the same plot of land used for the 2005 World’s Fair (where the house from My Neigh­bor Totoro was then built and still stands today), Ghi­b­li’s theme park will greet vis­i­tors with a main gate rem­i­nis­cent, writes Kotaku’s Bri­an Ashcraft, of “19th-cen­tu­ry struc­tures out of Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle as well as a recre­ation of Whis­per of the Heart’s antique shop.”

It also includes “the Big Ghi­b­li Ware­house, which is filled with all sorts of Ghi­b­li themed play areas as well as exhi­bi­tion areas and small cin­e­mas,” a Princess Mononoke vil­lage, a com­bined area for Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle and Kik­i’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice called Witch Val­ley, and the Totoro-themed Don­doko For­est. Will Stu­dio Ghi­b­li’s theme park rise into the ranks of the world’s most vis­it­ed? Nobody who has yet vis­it­ed their world, in any of its man­i­fes­ta­tions thus far, would put it past them.

Stu­dio Ghi­b­li has released some basic con­cept for the new theme park. You can get a few glimpses of what they have in mind on this page.


Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the Films of Hayao Miyaza­ki Work Their Ani­mat­ed Mag­ic, Explained in 4 Video Essays

What Made Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Ani­ma­tor Isao Taka­ha­ta (RIP) a Mas­ter: Two Video Essays

Watch Hayao Miyazaki’s Beloved Char­ac­ters Enter the Real World

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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