Last year in autumn, Studio Ghibli unveiled its long-awaited theme park in Aichi, featuring exhibits, character shops and real-life replicas inspired by scenes from beloved Hayao Miyazaki movies like 'My Neighbor Totoro'.
Although the park initially soft-launched with three completed sections while two more remained under construction, it recently unveiled its second phase on November 1 with the opening of Mononoke Village, themed after the 1997 fantasy epic 'Princess Mononoke.'
Here in the Mononoke Village, you’ll find a replica of the Demon Spirit, a watchtower from Emishi Village, and a statue of the giant boar god Lord Okkoto. The Demon Spirit and Watchtower are just for show, but the boar god statue doubles as a slide for kids aged 12 and under (sorry, grown-ups).
For something everyone of all ages can enjoy, head to the Tatara-ba hut, which has a grass-thatched roof like the ones seen in the film. Here, you can experience making a local speciality called Gohei mochi (rice cakes). This snack has a long history in the region and was traditionally eaten by the people in the mountains of Aichi.
Each area of Ghibli Park requires a separate ticket for entry, which must be booked in advance. Admission tickets to the Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest each cost ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children on weekends and weekdays. Entry to the Mononoke Village is combined with a ticket for the Ghibli Warehouse, which is priced at ¥2,500 for adults and ¥1,250 for children on weekdays (¥3,000 and ¥1,500 on weekends and holidays).
Looking ahead, Ghibli Park will expand with the Valley of Witches, set to open on March 16 2024. It promises a Western fairytale atmosphere, inspired by 'Howl’s Moving Castle', 'Kiki's Delivery Service', and 'Earwig and the Witch'. There will be elaborate replicas of iconic settings such as Kiki’s home and bakery, and a towering 16-metre model of Howl’s castle. Stay tuned for further details on this enchanting addition.
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