Yesterday in Japan, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki met with Governor Hideaki Omura of Aichi prefecture and the two agreed on plans to move forward with “Ghibli Park.” Detailed plans have yet to be released but a timeline has been established with an opening date sometime in 2020.
Fans of Studio Ghibli films have long asked for a Ghibli Theme Park. One artist even created a detailed rendering of what a hypothetical Tokyo Ghibli Land might look like. Finally, it appears that actual plans have been put into motion. But don’t get your hopes up too much.
The plans are calling for Aichi Memorial Park, the former site of the Aichi expo, to be renovated into Ghibli Park. In the past, the location has hosted a Ghibli Exhibition in 2008 and a Ghibli Retrospective in 2015. And back in 2005 they even built a replica of the old farmhouse that appears in My Neighbor Totoro. This structure, it appears, will serve as the backbone for Ghibli Park.
Rather than a theme park that pulls together multiple different films (as more ambitious fans like myself have dreamed of) Ghibli Park will expand on the Totoro Farmhouse and transform 200 hectares of land (roughly 500 acres) into various recreations of locations that appear in My Neighbor Totoro. So rather than “Ghibli Park” it’s going to be more like Totoro Park. I’m not complaining, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.
And in keeping with Studio Ghibli’s conservationist stance, rather than developing forested land they will renovate existing facilities in the park to create an expansive Totoro universe.