Something For The Young And Old

Getting immersed in a Ghibli film is one thing. To be immersed in everything Ghibli inside Ghibli Park in Aichi, Japan, is another thing. On a recent trip to Kyoto in February of 2024, I made it a point to pay the park a visit. Ghibli Park is at the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park (Moricoro Park). The exposition park has been repurposed as Ghibli Park which continues to expand. It is truly a place for a Ghibli fan -- both young and old. (Read more)

Jeremy Jo

5/11/20242 min read

Studio Ghibli wall
Studio Ghibli wall

It is worth noting, first of all, that visiting Ghibli Park takes a bit of planning. The planning part starts with securing an admission ticket. I had to buy my ticket months in advance, and time it accordingly when I planned to be close enough to Aichi. The tickets sell out quickly. Ghibli, or the ticket seller, releases tickets on typically on the 10th day of the month for admission dates about two months in the future. One cannot simply go to the park, and expect to buy a ticket for entry on the same day. For example, for July dates, tickets went on sale on 10 May at 14:00 Japan time. I bought my ticket on 9 November 2023 for entry on 1 February 2024. (Side note: the seller, Lawson Ticket, I think is the same Lawson that has several convenience stores throughout Japan, selling tasty corndogs.)

When I went, I arrived well before the Ghibli Park exhibits opened. The park grounds were open, however, that I got to explore many areas. But to get inside Satsuki's and Mei's house ("My Neighbour Totoro), for instance, I couldn't get inside until my scheduled time of 11:00 . I could still see the house from a distance. nonetheless.

Past the massive Ferris Wheel, and at the Ghibli Park entrance, the Hill of Youth Tower welcomes park guests. Exploring the grounds, I came across a sign to Satsuki's and Mei's house, and I even discovered one the hidden gems in the park -- Mei's hat and corn on a park bench. (Click image to see in full scale.)

Once the park officially opened, though, before going inside Satsuki's and Mei's house, I went up Dondoko Forest inside a tiny funicular. At the top of the hill, a giant smiling Totoro! On the other side, at the bottom of the hill was the girls' house. Exploring the inside was fun, seeing many familiar things from the film.

Studio Ghibli's splash screen on a wall inside the Ghibli's Grand Warehouse

From the acorns, to the bus stop, to the garden, to all the other details like the girls' rain boots and umbrellas, Mei's hat, and to the bath tub and the girls' father's office, they were all in there for all to explore. It was fun opening closet doors, dresser drawers and cupboards. (Click image to see in full scale.)

At the time of my visit, attractions from other Ghibli Films were still being added. I would have to return another time to see those. However, the main attraction is Ghibli's Grand Warehouse where there is plenty to see. My favourite would have to be the area where many scenes from the various films were on display for visitors to pose with some of the main characters. The walls of various film covers and posters for every Ghibli film were a sight to see, as well.

It was great to see people of all ages enjoying the many displays throughout the park. Fans from around the world were there, immersed in the fantastic Ghibli universe and merchandise. For a Ghibli Films fan, this is a "must-see" -- definitely. (Even the train station had Ghibli images on its columns.)

Just a few of the many things to see inside the Ghibli's Grand Warehouse. (Click image to see in full scale.)