NAGAKUTE, Aichi -- Part of the Studio Ghibli Inc. theme park based on its internationally popular anime films will open on Nov. 1 in this central Japan city, the Aichi Prefectural Government announced Jan. 27.
Construction of the 7.1-hectare Studio Ghibli theme park has been underway at Expo Memorial Park in Nagakute since fiscal 2020. At the Jan. 27 press event, the prefectural government said three of the park's five areas will open on Nov. 1, and the media saw two parts of the park depicting worlds from the famous studio's films for the first time.
The project's total cost of about 34 billion yen (roughly $290 million) is covered by the Aichi Prefectural Government.
The three areas opening Nov. 1 include the Seishun no Oka (hill of youth) main gate, based on the movie "Whisper of the Heart," Ghibli no Daisoko (Ghibli's grand warehouse) -- an exhibition space for materials related to the studio -- and a cafe called Dondoko Mori (Dondoko forest) that mainly recreates sisters Satsuki and Mei's house in "My Neighbor Totoro." The two other areas are planned to open a year later. Admission prices are yet to be determined.
Among the facilities shown mid-construction in Ghibli's grand warehouse were a large stairway to the second floor, a gallery with a vibrant exterior of oranges, greens and other colors, and a children's playground. The world of "My Neighbor Totoro" will reportedly be depicted in the playground using a giant plushie Catbus and other equipment.
Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said at the press conference he feels good about the park, adding, "Please look forward to the opening."
(Japanese original by Shiho Sakai, Nagoya News Center)