The long-awaited day is finally here! Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Park has thrown open its door for its grand opening.
So far three areas are open to the public: Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest. Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son, was there for the event. He promised to “do his utmost” for the park until its other sections—”Valley of Witches” and “Mononoke Village”—are able to launch.
The park’s tickets have sold out for the rest of the month, though some people express concerns because Ghibli Park, unlike other amusement parks, does not have any rides. It will be competing against other Japanese parks with rides, like Universal Studios Japan, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
“Parks without rides face a high hurdle of making visitors want to come back,” remarked Meiji University lecturer Megumi Nakajima, who has an expertise in theme parks. “There are around 5 million people living within an hour’s drive of the park. If the park has rotating special exhibits or seasonal events, repeat visitors from the local area will grow and increase the park’s profit.”
While Ghibli Park may not have rides, it does offer the ability to “go inside” Ghibli films, like actually walking through Satsuki and Mei’s House from My Neighbor Totoro, seeing Yubaba in her office from Spirited Away or visiting a violin maker’s workshop from Whisper of the Heart. Because of Hayao Miyazaki’s love of nature, there is quite a bit of the natural world involved with the park.
University student Natsuki Miyauchi, who was one of the first people to get into the opened park, was partly cosplaying as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. “It’s like a dream come true to experience a world that I’ve known since I was a child,” she gushed.
Source: The Mainichi
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.