Studio Ghibli Will Soon Spirit You Away To Its First Theme Park

There's no experience more magical than that of watching a Studio Ghibli film. But what about actually experiencing one? Studio Ghibli is bringing to life the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and its other renowned anime directors in the form of its long-awaited theme park, which is now officially in development thanks to the help of local partners in Japan. The unnamed Studio Ghibli theme park is scheduled to open in 2022.

The Studio Ghibli theme park is officially a go, according to Variety, which reports that the acclaimed animation studio has joined forces with local partners to build its first theme park.

The government of Aichi Prefecture and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper has teamed up with Studio Ghibli to develop the park within the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, a venue not far from Nagoya in central Japan, which was actually the site for a replica of "Satsuki and Mei's House" from My Neighbor Totoro, a test run of sorts for a Ghibli-themed land.

Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, Aichi governor Hideaki Omura, and Chunichi CEO Uichiro Oshima announced the details at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, confirming the planned opening date is set for Fall 2022, with additional attractions opening a year later. The theme park will consist of five themed areas based on Ghibli films like Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, and of course, the film that started the ideaMy Neighbor Totoro. Miyazaki isn't involved in the development of the theme park, but is apparently "really worried about the Ghibli park," Suzuki joked. "He can't leave anything up to other people. He's a meddlesome old man." However, the park is in good hands, with Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki (who directed the Ghibli film Tales from Earthsea) taking on the day-to-day park project duties.

The Studio Ghibli theme park has been long awaited by fans across the globe, with rumors about a park circulating for years. Until now, the closest thing us Ghibli fans had to a theme park was the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, whose small venue made it virtually impossible to visit. But the rich, enchanting worlds of Ghibli's films are perfectly suited to form a theme park — albeit an unconventional one that will reportedly cut down no trees and have no "rides" planned in the traditional sense. That's a vision that suits Miyazaki's environmentally friendly messages that resonate throughout his films, and his love for the mysterious beauty of nature. The only thing I ask is that we get a real, ride-able Catbus.

Concept art for the theme park emerged in 2018, but now that the development is officially underway, we can book our plane tickets for Japan 2022. Plenty of time to get your No Face cosplay ready.