The filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is a big proponent of nature. Conservationism and a reverence for the natural world are recurring themes in his movies like Nausicaa, Totoro and Princess Mononoke. Now Miyazaki has announced plans to pass on his love for nature to children in the form of a tangible nature park. The project is being called “The Forest Where the Wind Returns.”
Miyazaki is funding the park with 300 million yen (roughly $2.5 mm USD) of his own money. To put things in perspective, the Ghibli Museum, Miyazaki’s first and highly successful attempt at a real-life theme park, cost 5 billion yen (roughly $40 mm USD). So anyone expecting something like the hypothetical Ghibli Land should calm down.
But with that said, the park sounds lovely. It will be built on roughly 10,000 square meters of land in the Zendo Forest Park on Kume Island (in Okinawa). There will be no man-made play equipment and instead the park will utilize the trees, boulders and land to create a park where children and their five senses can interact with nature. According to the town of Kume’s local newspaper (PDF), the facility will include a 2-story building with a library and sleeping quarters that can accommodate 30 children from the local town but also from Fukushima.
Miyazaki will donate the structure and park to the town of Kume and is sourcing all the talent and materials locally in order to ensure that it is sustained for many years to come. Miyazaki has teamed up with local design firm Kume Creation, who have release an initial rendering of what the park will look like. Construction is slated to begin shortly and the team is aiming to open the park in 2 years.