Let’s Go to Aichi Prefecture, Which Has Ghibli Park!

The central stairs of Grand Warehouse. Take a closer look at the colorful mosaic tiles, and you will find some Ghibli characters.

ATT.JAPAN × JapanUp! magazine

In November 2022, Ghibli Park opened within the grounds of Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, which is called “Moricoro Park,” in Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture! We introduce this high-profile park, which represents the world of Studio Ghibli, as well as attractive aspects of Aichi Prefecture, where the park is located.

Introducing some of the highlights of the three areas opened in Phase one!

Hours: Weekdays: 10:00–17:00, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays: 9:00–17:00
Closed: Tuesdays (or the following weekday if it falls on a national holiday), New Year holidays and designated days including maintenance days
Access: Ai-Chikyuhaku Kinen Koen Sta. (Linimo)

1. Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse

This is the main area of the park. The huge facility, which used to be a heated indoor pool, is filled with exhibits each expressing the world of Ghibli. With three special exhibitions, a screening room, a café, and a shop selling Ghibli items, you may enjoy a whole day just staying here.

▲“Exhibition: Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes is a hands-on exhibition, which recreates some of the famous scenes of Ghibli films. Become your favorite characters and take photos!

Make sure to greet the “fake director”!

In the Fake Director’s Room, you will find Yubaba, one of the main characters from “Spirited Away.” You may have a sobering experience once you look inside the room just like the one in the film.

Let’s go see Totoro and Cat Bus

“Cat Bus Room” is a playground for kids, where the world of “My Neighbor Totoro” is recreated. Adults can take a look from outside this cutest of spaces.

2. Dondoko Forest

“Satsuki and Mei’s House” in “My Neighbor Totoro” was recreated just like the one from the film. This building was originally built as one of the pavilions for Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan. You can feel the nostalgic atmosphere of a private house of Japan in the mid-20th century.

3. Hill of Youth

You can go inside “World Emporium,” an antique shop appearing in “Whisper of the Heart.” Inside the building, you can see careful detailed recreations of the interior of the shop and the violin workshop in the film.

More new areas coming soon!

“Mononoke Village,” which is based on the image of the landscape appearing in “Princess Mononoke,” is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2023, and “Valley of Witches,” which recreates the atmosphere of the worlds of “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” is scheduled to open in March, 2024!

Advanced reservations specific to date and time of entry are required

For admission to Ghibli Park, you need to make an advanced reservation specific to date and time of entry for each area. On the 10th of each month, monthly tickets for three months later will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. For details: ghibli-park.jp/

Moricoro Park for everyone to enjoy

Moricoro Park has spots here and there in which you can feel the atmosphere of Ghibli Park even outside the park. Elevator Tower in Hill of Youth is available for everyone. As the main gate of Ghibli Park, this tower was renovated to incorporate the elements of the science fantasy from the end of the 19th century. Each of the benches at various locations within the park has artwork with the design based on an item a Ghibli character left behind in its film. There are a total of 15 benches, so try finding all of them!

Let’s Look for the Landscapes Where You Can Feel the Wind of Ghibli

Visiting places of monozukuri in Aichi Prefecture

From traditional industries to cutting-edge technologies, Aichi Prefecture has been leading monozukuri (literally means making or producing things) in Japan for a long time. By following its track, you may be able to see some of the attractive aspects of Aichi Prefecture, such as sophisticated artisanship, passion for monozukuri, and symbiosis between nature and human behavior, which is common to the origin of Studio Ghibli.

❶Toyota Automobile Museum

The representative industrial group of Aichi Prefecture is undeniably Toyota, the worldwide manufacturer of automobiles. Toyota Automobile Museum introduces the history of automobiles from the birth to development through the display of not only Toyota cars but also other popular cars of the world. They include some rare cars, making it a great place for car lovers. This museum is located two stations away from the nearest station of Ghibli Park, so you can visit both at the same time.

Hours: 9:30–17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if it falls on a national holiday), New Year holidays
Access: 5-min walk from Geidai-dori Sta. (Linimo)

❷IMASEN Inuyama Karakuri Museum

Dashi floats are seen at festivals all over Japan. Especially in Aichi Prefecture, there are many floats that carry karakuri mechanical dolls. The elaborate mechanical technology of karakuri can be said to be the root of the industrial technology Aichi Prefecture is proud of. At IMASEN Inuyama Karakuri Museum, you can see close-up the display regarding the culture of karakuri as well as demonstration and explanation of karakuri dolls. Every Friday and Saturday, you may be able to see a karakuri doll creator actually creating a doll.

Hours: 9:00–17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Closed: December 29–31
Access: 15-min walk from Inuyama Sta. (Meitetsu)

❸Inuyama Matsuri

This annual festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday of April (April 1 and 2 in 2023). All 13 floats have different karakuri dolls. In the town at the base of Inuyama Castle, a national treasure, you can enjoy the combination of beautiful cherry blossoms and the festival during the day, and a gorgeous view of floats in a parade with 365 lanterns lit all at once in the evening.

Both have been registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage!

❹Kamezaki Shiohi Matsuri

This festival is held on May 3 and 4 every year in Handa City. Five big floats are pulled down into the beach, a dynamic spectacle that will have a powerful impression on anyone who sees it. Pay attention not only to karakuri dolls dancing on the floats but also to the delicate decorative carvings on the floats.

❺Streetscape of Arimatsu

The Arimatsu district of Midori ward, Nagoya City is a tie-dyeing town that has been selected as one of the “Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings in Japan” and “Japan Heritage.” It prospered with the “Arimatsu Narumi Shibori” tie-dyeing technique, which was invented in the 17th century for making souvenirs for people traveling on the Tokaido Road. Tie-dyeing is a technique to create beautiful patterns of dyeing by tying off parts of fabric in order to prevent any color going into that part. Arimatsu Narumi Shibori is characterized by having a variety of over 100 techniques. It continues to be handed down generationally and is still evolving.

Access: 5-min walk from Arimatsu Sta. (Meitetsu)

❻Yakimono Sampomichi

Aichi Prefecture has high-quality potter’s clay. Tokoname City, where Chubu Centrair International Airport is located, is a producer of Tokoname-yaki ware, which is characterized by a unique brownish-red color and texture. The town has museums and galleries related to pottery, unique cafes, and nice spots for taking photos here and there. If you take a walk on a walking course called Yakimono Sampomichi, you can enjoy the view of brickwork chimneys, kilns, an old factory site with black walls, and a slope with buried scrap pottery.

Access: 5-min walk from Tokoname Sta. (Meitetsu)

The Ghibli films depict symbiosis with nature. Aichi Prefecture has a number of spots in nature where you can feel the atmosphere of Ghibli.

❼Yotsuya Senmaida

These terraced rice fields were developed about 400 years ago in the mountain village spreading on a slope. The view of people working in the fields stirring with a breeze is just like a scene from an old tale.

❽Koijigahama Beach

This white-sand beach stretches forth from the tip of Atsumi Peninsula. Because of the romantic view and name which literally means “beach of the love path,” this place is popular as a “sacred spot” for lovers.

❾Sakushima Island

Sakushima Island is located in the middle of Mikawa Bay between the Chita and Atsumi peninsulas. There are outdoor art works here and there across the island and great food, such as fresh seafood. It is a healing spot in a relaxing atmosphere.

May 2023 (vol.187)

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