The world’s first-ever Ghibli Park opened on the grounds of Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, located in Aichi Prefecture. Step into the world of Studio Ghibli and immerse yourself in Studio Ghibli’s fantastical creations!
Aichi Expo Commemorative Park: Home of the Ghibli Park
Located about one hour away from Nagoya Station by train, Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, also known as Moricoro Park, was the site of Expo 2005 under the theme of “Nature’s Wisdom.”
The location is now home to Ghibli Park, and the expansive grounds also include an indoor ice-skating rink and a cycling trail. In addition to the traditional Japanese garden found in a corner of the park, the stunning flowers planted throughout Moricoro Park make it a scenic location any time of year. There’s also an 88-meter-tall Ferris wheel that allows four-legged riders who are small enough to be held to ride, making it a great experience for animal lovers, too!
Moricoro Park has a wide-open lawn where families can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and be one with nature.
While the Ghibli Park doesn’t have rides or parades, it harmonizes with the existing features of Moricoro Park. Despite all the hype leading up to its grand opening, the Ghibli Park is exactly as the name sounds – a nature park with added touches of Studio Ghibli magic.
Travel back in time at Hill of Youth
Hill of Youth features two Ghibli films: “The Cat Returns” and “Whisper of the Heart.” The area has two houses: one human-sized home and a cat-sized office.
“Whisper of the Heart” fans will be stunned with how the World Emporium was beautifully expressed. The first floor features an antique shop similar to the one in the movie, and visitors can see the automaton clock that Seiji’s grandfather, Shiro Nishi, repaired. Faithful to the movie, Seiji’s violin workshop is located downstairs. The attention to detail in the workshop is so incredible that it feels like Mr. Nishi and his friends could walk down the stairs any moment, playing Country Road.
Enter the World Emporium and maybe you’ll bump into Seiji and Shizuku from “Whisper of the Heart.”
Enjoy nature at Dondoko Forest
Satsuki and Mei’s house at Dondoko Forest was originally built for Expo 2005 under the direction of Goro Miyazaki. The house was carefully crafted to match the one depicted in “My Neighbor Totoro,” and it feels like you might stumble across a soot sprite or two as you explore the family home. Adding to the charm of the area, around the corner and atop the hill, a Dondoko-do greets visitors with its big toothy smile.
Smile wide – Ghibli Park’s natural beauty and open skies are a great escape from the city.
Get lost in the world of Studio Ghibli at Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse is packed with whimsical wonders. The spacious location features a grand staircase made using a mosaic of blue tiles with the Giant Flying Ship floating above. As you traverse the area, you’ll stumble across a Robot Soldier from “Castle in the Sky” hidden in a corner of the warehouse, Yubaba’s office (Director’s Room) from “Spirited Away” and you can also explore The House Below and The Little People’s Garden from “Arrietty.”
The design of Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse is a piece of art all on its own.
One of the highlights of Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse is that visitors can enjoy limited time Studio Ghibli installments at the two exhibition spaces available.
Step into a scene from “The Wind Rises, ” “Princess Mononoke” or“ When Marnie was There” for the perfect photo at the Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes Exhibition. (Only available for a limited time.）
The Grand Warehouse is also home to Screening Room “Cinema Orion,” which plays Ghibli short films usually shown at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. There is also a children’s play area and gift shop for visitors looking to buy souvenirs for fellow Ghibli-loving friends.
Each area of the park mentioned above requires its own ticket which must be purchased in advance, and visitors must select a time window for when they plan to enter each facility. Tickets are available for purchase three-months in advance, and ticket sales for international fans are gradually being rolled out. For the latest information, please check the official Ghibli Park website.
Other sights to see in the Nagoya area
Once you’re in Nagoya, we recommend a visit to Nagoya Castle – one of Nagoya’s most prominent symbols. Visitors can tour the picturesque grounds and browse the historical exhibitions inside the castle.
Another recommended location in Nagoya is Osu Kannon Temple, which was relocated from Gifu to Aichi in 1612, almost 300 years after it was built. While the temple is usually quiet and peaceful, it hosts a flea market on the 18th and 28th of every month, bustling with vendors selling antiques, trinkets, souvenirs and more.
Last but not least, if you haven’t had enough anime and entertainment-centric fun during your stay in Nagoya and the timing is right, look for a chance to check out World Cosplay Summit! During this event, cosplayers from around the world gather in Nagoya and host ceremonies, parades and cosplay championships. Many participants are happy to pose for photos, but make sure to ask before you snap!
About the author
Author: Melanie Sweeney
Profile: Born and raised in the United States, Melanie moved to Japan in 2014 and has stayed ever since. You can often find her exploring the city, enjoying afternoon tea with friends or investigating the latest cultural event nearby.