Ghibli Park to Start Construction in July for Fall 2022 Opening

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Theme park anticipates no delays due to COVID-19

Construction contractor Kajima Corporation is under a provisional contract to construct the first three areas of the planned Ghibli Park for 10,657,900,000 yen (about US$98,323,700), with construction beginning in July. Those areas of the theme park are slated to open in fall 2022, and the developers anticipate no delays related to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Nagoya TV began streaming a news report with concept designs and aerial video of the construction sites.

The organizers of "The Great Ghibli Exhibit ~Two More Years Until the Ghibli Park's Opening~" exhibit of display items destined for Ghibli Park announced in April that the exhibit has been postponed to an unannounced date due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. The exhibit was scheduled to take place at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art from June 25 to September 16. Tickets are being refunded from April 10 to June 30.

The exhibit will be the last preview of the theme park's contents before they move into the park's Ghibli no Daisōko Area (Giant Ghibli Storehouse) in two years. "The Great Ghibli Exhibit ~Two More Years Until the Ghibli Park's Opening~" will bring back the materials shown in the earlier Great Ghibli Exhibits.

The Ghibli no Daisōko, Seishun no Oka (Hill of Youth), and Dondoko Mori (Dondoko Forest) areas of the Ghibli theme park are slated to open in fall 2022, followed by the Mononoke no Sato Area (Mononoke Village, inspired by Princess Mononoke) and Majo no Tani Area (Witch Valley, inspired by Kiki's Delivery Service) about one year later. The Dondoko Mori Area will feature a recreation of the shrine and path from My Neighbor Totoro.

The staff projects that 1 million people annually will visit the first three areas to open, and then 1.8 million people annually will visit once the park is fully open a year later. To accommodate the flow of visitors, the surrounding area and roads are adding 1,500 more parking spaces and measures to control traffic.

Work on the designs began last year, and construction will last for about two or three years. Aichi prefecture has budgeted 31 billion yen (about US$280 million) for construction, in addition to 3 billion yen (about US$30 million) for the design and planning process.

Aichi prefecture agreed in May 2017 to establish the park, and confirmation documents were finalized this past March. The project's planners then revealed the basic design plans in April 2018. The park was initially planned to open in 2020. Studio Ghibli and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper jointly established the Ghibli Park, Inc. company that will be responsible for the management and operation of the park.

Aichi prefecture and Studio Ghibli are collaborating to open the park in a 200-hectare area in Nagakute, Aichi's Expo Park, also known as Moricoro Park, the site of the 2005 World's Fair. The park already has "Satsuki and Mei's House," a replica of main characters' house from the My Neighbor Totoro anime film. The house was the site of a Studio Ghibli exhibition in both 2008 and 2015.

The prefecture is aiming to make the park an attraction for both foreign and domestic tourists. Both Studio Ghibli and the prefecture are funding the operating company that will be in charge of the park.

While the park is being developed, the construction will not cause damage to the park through felling trees or other methods.

Studio Ghibli also maintains The Ghibli Museum, located in Mitaka in west Tokyo. The Ghibli Museum has interactive exhibits and replicas of iconic Ghibli creations, and it offers a rotating screening of different Ghibli-animated shorts. The museum has remained closed since February 25 due to concerns related to COVID-19.

Sources: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nagoya TV's news YouTube channel

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