An artist's impression of Ghibli Park
Photo: Studio GhibliAn artist's impression of Ghibli Park

Ghibli Park will have a free area inspired by ‘The Cat Returns’

The new playground attraction will open in summer 2023 and you won’t need a ticket to visit

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
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Only a few more months until the world’s first Ghibli Park opens to the public. Located within the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park near Nagoya, this highly anticipated attraction will have three of its five areas ready by November 1, namely Ghibli’s Large Warehouse, Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest. All the themed areas within the park are designed after the famed anime studio’s most popular films, and each of them requires a separate entry ticket

Ghibli Park
Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

You’ll be pleased to know that Ghibli Park recently announced an additional attraction near Mononoke’s Village, inspired by ‘The Cat Returns’ (2002). This playground area will feature slides, a maze and a ‘tarzan rope’ zip line.

Scheduled to open in summer 2023, this new Ghibli Park area is set within a public space in the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. Hence, it will be free to enter. No tickets required. How good is this!

Ghibli Park
Photo: ©Studio GhibliKiki's family home

However, we also have some bad news. Along with Mononoke’s Village, the Valley of Witches was originally scheduled to open in autumn 2023, but according to the Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese only) the date has been pushed back until March 2024.

Ghibli Park
Photo: ©Studio GhibliThe Bakery in ‘Kiki's Delivery Service’

The Valley of Witches is modelled after the settings in ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (2004) and ‘Kiki's Delivery Service’ (1989). It’ll feature recreations of Kiki’s home and bakery as well as the hat shop from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’.

The buildings here will be European in style, and built using techniques and wooden materials from the regions where the movies are set in. European countries usually use broad-leaved trees such as oak and chestnut to build wooden houses, but these materials are not always available in the Japanese market. For this project, the trees are sourced from forests around Japan and they need to be dried naturally, which is a lengthy process.

Ghibli Park
Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

Moreover, Ghibli Park also revealed that there will be another building inside the Valley of Witches, called the ‘Witch’s House’.

Ghibli Park
Photo: ©Studio Ghibli

It will resemble the home of Bella Yaga from Studio Ghibli’s first computer-animated film ‘Earwig and the Witch’ (2020).

For more details and photos of the world’s first Ghibli Park, read our explainer here.

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