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Japanese anime hit factory Studio Ghibli is to open a theme park in 2022 in cooperation with the local Aichi Prefecture government and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper company.
Plans for the “Ghibli Park,” which will occupy 494 acres (200 hectares) in Nagakute City, Aichi, were first announced around this time in 2017, when the local government said it was looking for other commercial partners.
At a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki, Aichi governor Hideaki Omura and Chunichi CEO Uichiro Oshima laid out the basic plans for the park.
The site is located within the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, and in keeping with director Hayao Miyazaki’s strong environmental beliefs, is to be built in harmony with existing nature and without cutting down a single tree. The park will not feature roller coasters or other ride-type attractions.
Studio Ghibli worked with the Expo on re-creating the house of the Satsuki and Mei characters from My Neighbor Totoro for the event.
According to the three companies, three areas — Youth Hill, partly based on Howl’s Moving Castle; Dondoko Forest, based on My Neighbor Totoro; and a Great Ghibli Warehouse — are set to open in fall 2022. A Mononoke Village, based on Princess Mononoke, and a Valley of the Witch area, themed on both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, are set to open a year later.
Suzuki was asked about admission prices and targets for visitor numbers, but said they were both under consideration by the three partner companies.
The studio is being represented for the planning of Ghibli Park by the co-founder’s son Goro Miyazaki. Although both Goro and his father are working on new features, Miyazaki senior is apparently unable to fully delegate to anyone.
“He [Hayao Miyazaki] is the kind of extremely interfering old geezer who just can’t leave people alone to get on with their work,” joked Suzuki at the press conference. “He can’t help worrying about Ghibli Park.”
Suzuki went on to say that Studio Ghibli, the continued existence of which was in question after Miyazaki’s last retirement announcement in 2013, had various projects in the pipeline.
“Not only films, we’d like to try a stage play and other things; we’ll make an announcement soon,” said Suzuki.
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