Ghibli Park and Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse: A Comprehensive Guide

by Best-Japanese Team
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Ghibli Park NoFace Kaonashi

In the heart of central Japan, there lies a realm that blurs the boundaries of animation and reality. For decades, Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki have been the architect of dreams, crafting animated masterpieces that have not only captivated audiences of all ages but also served as a gateway into the enchanting world of Japanese animation.

Founded on the outskirts of Nagoya City, Ghibli Park emerges as a testament to the studio’s legacy, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the magic that has defined Studio Ghibli for over three decades. Unlike conventional amusement parks with roller-coaster rides and costumed characters parading around, as you step through the entrance of Ghibli Park, prepare to embark on a journey into a living, breathing sanctuary where the essence of Studio Ghibli’s timeless tales comes to life.

Picture large life-sized exhibitions and meticulously recreated scenes from the most famous Ghibli movies, drawing you in to wander through landscapes that once only existed on the animated screen. This is a place where you can delve into the world of your favourite characters and where each exhibit allows you to become a part of the narrative.

Even while there are no rides or parades, as you may expect with so many eager Ghibli fans, Ghibli Park tickets sell out fast, so remember to book early! Read on for more details of how to get to Ghibli Park, how to secure tickets, and what to see when you visit the main attraction – the Grand Warehouse. We’ve also included a list of 23 Ghibli movies both in English and in Japanese, in case you’d like to familiarise yourself with some of the films before your visit.

Ghibli Park Neko Bus

Where is Ghibli Park?

Ghibli Park is located just outside of Nagoya, the fourth largest city in Japan. A historically significant castle town and now one of Japan’s most important economic centres, Nagoya lies between the cities of Kyoto and Osaka to its west and Tokyo to its east. Keeping in line with Ghibli movie themes, which often explore the consequences of human intrusion on the natural world, Ghibli Park was built in the already existing Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, so there was no damage to the surrounding environment in its creation.

Are all areas of the park open?

Ghibli Park Elevator Tower
The Elevator Tower

As of December 2023, four out of the five enchanting areas of the theme park have already opened their doors to visitors. These include: The Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Dondoko Forest, and Mononoke Village. However, the highly anticipated Valley of Witches, is set to be unveiled on March 16th, 2024, with breathtaking replica buildings from iconic movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, as well as Earwig and the Witch.

How to get tickets for Ghibli Park

Ghibli Grand Warehouse Ticketmaster

Given the immense popularity of the theme park and to avoid overcrowding, you need to make advance reservations as you can not purchase tickets on the day at Ghibli Park. For international visitors, there are now three ticket options available for visits before March 16th 2024:

  • Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse and Mononoke Village Package
  • Hill of Youth
  • Dondoko Forest

Prices for the Hill of Youth and Dondoko Forest areas are set at 1000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children aged 4-12 on all days. Meanwhile, prices for Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse and Mononoke Village Package range from 2500 yen for adults on weekdays to 3000 yen on weekends, while they slightly increase tickets from 1250 yen on weekdays for children aged 4 – 12 to 1500 yen on weekends. For all areas, little ones under the age of 3 can enter absolutely free.

Tickets go on sale 3 months in advance on the 10th of every month, and are sold on a first-come first-serve basis. While they do sell out quickly, if you plan ahead of your trip, you can still secure tickets if you book two months ahead of time, especially in non-peak season. You can find booking details and conditions of entry on the Ghibli Park website ticket page.

Another way to get last minute tickets is to book a Ghibli Park package with Sunrise Tours run by JTB Travel. This package is until February 12th 2024 and will include a one night stay at Vessel Hotel Campana in Nagoya with breakfast. There is a minimum requirement that 2 people book the tour, but the cost is pretty reasonable (about 35,000 yen for 2 people).

After March 16th 2024, there will be 2 new ticket options for overseas visitors as follows:

1. Ghibli Park O-Sanpo Day Pass (Ghibli Park Stroll Day Ticket)

  • Access to all 5 areas of Ghibli Park including the Grand Warehouse
  • Can’t enter the buildings of (the World Emporium) in the Hill of Youth area, (Satsuki and Mei’s House) in Dondoko Forest, (The Okino Residence, Howl’s Castle, The House of Witches) in the Valley of Witches

Adults: 3500 yen on weekdays 4000 yen on weekends
Children (4-12): 1750 yen on weekdays 2000 yen on weekends

2. Ghibli Park O-Sanpo Day Pass Premium (Ghibli Park Stroll Day Premium Ticket)

  • An all-access pass
  • Complete access to all 5 areas of Ghibli Park; the Grand Warehouse, the Hill of Youth, Dondoko Forest, Mononoke Village and the Valley of Witches including all the buildings as well as shops, cafes and restaurants in Ghibli Park

Adults: 7300 yen on weekdays 7800 yen on weekends
Children (4-12): 3650 yen on weekdays 3900 yen on weekends

*As before, admission is free for children aged 3 and under.

*The new tickets for Ghibli Park visits from March 16th 2024 will go on sale from January 10th 2024 at 2 pm Japan Time. (Tickets go on sale 2 months in advance on the 10th of every month at 2 pm Japan Time.)

*New Ghibli Park Tickets are available to purchase online from LAWSON TICKET.

Further details here on Ghibli Park’s website.

Until now, we’ve focused on overseas visitors, but if you are living in Japan, you can get tickets through Boo-Woo Ticket, by Loppi at LAWSON or MINISTOP.

Things to see at the Grand Warehouse

Ghibli Grand Warehouse Pom Poko

The Grand Warehouse is the main area of Ghibli Park. It’s a large indoor space that can be enjoyed regardless of the season or weather. We certainly had this verified on our visit when there were heavy rain showers outside, yet we happily explored all areas within its walls. With three exhibition rooms, a playroom based on My Neighbour Totoro, a couple of eateries, an onsite cinema, old-style arcade and souvenir shop, this single building has plenty to offer.

Even though it was a weekend, it only took 5 minutes of waiting at the Grand Warehouse entrance before we had our passes checked and entered a small reception area. From there, a lift takes you down to the ground level floor, with the first thing that greets you as soon as those doors open being the Philosophy Club room scene of From Up on Poppy Hill. It’s not a large display, and not interactive but does set the scene for you inside the building.

Ghibli Park NoFace Kaonashi

In a corner to the right, you’ll see an information desk where the staff can provide maps in English and give directions. The building is pretty large as it was previously a public swimming pool, so it does help to consult a map as you go around. Once you are inside the Grand Warehouse, you will also notice that there are some queues of around 5 minutes outside key attractions.

The big exception was the 45 minute long queue for the Grand Warehouse Central Exhibition, “Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes”, although it made sense being the main attraction, and personally found it much worth the wait. Something to mention here is that some friends went to Ghibli Park on a weekday, and the wait for the Central Exhibition took over an hour. So be prepared for this queue no matter which day you visit.

The big draw of the Central Exhibition, “Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes”, is where you get the opportunity to step into various Ghibli movie scenes. You can pose alongside life-sized characters and recreate iconic moments, such as sitting beside Kaonashi on the train (Spirited Away), engaging in a fight with Crimson Pig (Porco Rosso), catching Sheeta as she drifts down (Castle in the Sky), and participating in the Pom Poko team’s strategy meeting (Pom Poko). This experience is particularly enjoyable for fans familiar with the films who are eager to reenact their favorite moments.

Ghibli Grand Warehouse Porco Rosso

Other scenes you’ll come across include Marnie standing on the beach from When Marnie Was There, Ponyo running over the fish in the sea from Ponyo, and Jiro Horikoshi’s dream scene of Caproni watching the airplane fly away from The Wind Rises.

When Marnie was there Grand Warehouse

After exploring every scene on the two floors of the Central Exhibit, it’s time to enjoy the other attractions of the Grand Warehouse. When it comes to capturing stunning photos, literally the biggest has to be the giant robot soldier from Castle in the Sky. It’s only less than 5 minutes to get a photo together with the friendly giant, and it’s not far from the Director’s Room.

Robot Soldiers Castle in the Sky

It might be hard to guess what’s inside the Director’s Room from the name, but this is a small circular structure that contains a scene from Spirited Away – Yubaba’s office. There’s a window to the left which you can peer through, but it’s better to wait in a short queue to get the view from the front, where you can crouch down and see the jumping green heads and Yubaba sat at her desk with the flying papers floating around.

Spirited Away Yubaba Office Grand Warehouse

Another popular attraction to check out is The House Below and The Little People’s Garden. In the garden on the ground level floor, you can walk among dandelions and flowers from the perspective of the characters of Arrietty.

Little Garden Arietty

Stepping inside The House Below, you’ll find many of the rooms you see in the movie The Secret World of Arrietty, including this one below. For those who are not aware, the movie is based on The Borrowers, a novel written by Mary Norton, which is why it may seem familiar for those who’ve read the book or seen the film adaptation.

Arrietty Ghibli Park

Depending on whether you have little ones of your own with you, you may want to head to Cat Bus Room where children can play by the giant Cat Bus and also Children’s Town where they can play in a retro Tokyo atmosphere with streets and vehicles. This is one of the few areas in the Grand Warehouse where photography is not allowed but as you can imagine, it’s a lot of fun for small kids.

Another area where photography is not permitted is the Exhibition room. What’s inside? Well, currently it’s an exhibition of “Delicious! Animating Memorable Meals Expanded Edition”. It’s one for the Ghibli fandom, who will be delighted to see replica meals from several films. Visitors are treated to captivating displays of how food plays a vital role in Ghibli movies. It’s not just about the gorgeous dishes themselves, but also the enchanting scenes where they are lovingly prepared such as the reproduction of the From Up on Poppy Hill kitchen. We would say that the no photography concept is spot-on here, as otherwise it would likely be an endless line of enthusiasts taking close up photos.

Delicious Animating Memorable Meals Exhibition

You may remember earlier on that we spoke of the onsite cinema – the screening room Cinema Orion is located at the top of the central stairs opposite Children’s Town. The cinema seats 170 people and shows short Ghibli movies of around 15 minutes in length. The films are often in Japanese, but this doesn’t prevent you from enjoying them. If you want to pre-read, each currently screening film does have a synopsis on the Ghibli Park website.

Central Stairs

A final exhibition, “Everything Ghibli!”, is the special Exhibit Room where a collection of Ghibli movie posters await, along with the My Neighbour Totoro rooms. In one room you can perch at the bar next to a massive Totoro, and in the other room is the life-size Cat Bus, where you can enjoy sitting on the comfortable and soft bus seats. It’s also one last opportunity to strike a pose through the front window of the Cat bus!

Totoro Bar

Depending on if you’ve got some time left, there’s the Open Warehouse containing Ghibli production artifacts and sculptures from their previous exhibitions in Japan and abroad. Upon entering, you’ll encounter numerous boxes alongside Howl’s Moving Castle model, Baron’s statue, Ponyo and Fish objects, etc. If you’re running out of time at Grand Warehouse, you might want to skip the Open Warehouse area and Cinema Orion or go through these areas quickly.

Where to get Ghibli goods and souvenirs

Adventurous Flying Squadron is a souvenir shop by the Siberi An milk stand in Grand Warehouse that stocks items from all Studio Ghibli productions along with unique and original Ghibli Park items. You’ll find a wide range of cute and interesting Ghibli goods not only stuffed animals, postcards and key chains but also Ghibli food magnets, notebooks, interior goods as well as sweets. Some items may be considered expensive, but at the same time these are items you’ll treasure for a lifetime! 

Where to eat

Minami Machi

When it comes to places to eat, surprisingly there isn’t a restaurant inside the Grand Warehouse. Minami Machi as shown in the photo above looks like it may have one, but instead this quaint shopping street offers books at Neppu Bookstore, scale model kits at Open Sky Models, and candies at Penny Candy Shop Cat Princess. However, on the other side of the building, you will find Siberi An – a milk stand counter where you can get local milk in a well-designed glass bottle and you can also get sweet bean cakes similar to those you see in scenes from The Wind Rises.

The actual restaurant for the Grand Warehouse is the Transcontinental Flight Cafe located in a separate building within the outdoor area of the Grand Warehouse. Occasionally, you see some negative reviews from visitors about the menu choice at the cafe, where you can choose from a range of sandwiches, pizza slices and gelato. It’s understandable that some may be expecting more imaginative dishes or perhaps a menu clearly showing how each dish comes from a certain movie. On the other hand, we would say why not save space and explore all the fantastic cafes and restaurants that Nagoya has to offer!

Other areas of the park

Ghibli Park Bench Goggles

As you stroll through the park, you’ll discover charming Ghibli movie memorabilia such as this bag with goggles adorning the park benches. And of course, there’s all the other areas of the park to be explored. For instance, the Hill of Youth where you can encounter the World Emporium from Whisper of the Heart and the Cat Bureau from The Cat Returns, not to mention the captivating Elevator Tower showcased in the photo above.

Additionally, there’s the enchantment of Dondoko Forest, where a life-sized replica of Satsuki and Mei’s House from My Neighbour Totoro awaits. And let’s not forget about Mononoke Village, inspired by the awe-inspiring village landscape in Princess Mononoke. This newly constructed area features the Tatara-ba center, where you can try your hand at crafting Gohei-mochi rice cakes.

How to get to Ghibli Park

Ghibli Park Neko Bus

While we wish everyone to take the Cat Bus to Ghibli Park, this form of transport is currently unavailable at the time of writing this article! However, exciting news awaits as visitors will be able to ride on an all-electric Cat Bus manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp for moving between attractions within the Ghibli Park area, starting from mid-March 2024.

Shinkansen Interior
Seating in the Shinkansen bullet train. Photo Credit: Central Japan Railway Company

Getting to Ghibli Park from Nagoya is fairly easy and quick. From Tokyo, you’ll need to take the Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya which takes 1 hour 40 minutes on the Nozomi train.

At Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Subway Line to Fujigaoka, and from there take the Linimo monorail train to Ai-Chikyuhaku Kinen Koen Station. From Nagoya Station to the park entrance, you’re looking at travel time of around 50 minutes depending on your train connection at Fujigaoka.

Where to stay near Ghibli Park

Our biggest recommendation is to stay a night in Nagoya before visiting Ghibli Park! This will allow you a chance to see the sights of Nagoya and enjoy all the incredible food that the city is famous for. When it comes to places to stay, here is our list of the best Hotels in Nagoya where we look at a range of 4 and 5 star hotels as well as some more unique places to stay.

Ghibli Park Opening Times

Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park

Ghibli Park welcomes visitors and Ghibli fans from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays (except for Tuesdays unless the Tuesday is a public holiday, and when that happens the following day – Wednesday is closed). On public holidays, weekends and during public-school breaks, the park opens its gates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please note the Park will be closed over the new year holiday period from December 29th 2023 to January 3rd 2024 and for maintenance between February 13th and March 15th, 2024.

For further details, please check the Ghibli Park Calendar.

Tips for Ghibli Park

Ghibli Park Ponyo

1) The main tip is to take care when booking a ticket. You’ll need to reserve in advance and make sure you arrive within your time slot. Please check the day before visiting and the day of visiting that your ticket is valid.

2) Before March 16th 2024, the assigned entry times for the Grand Warehouse are 12 pm and 2 pm, and as it takes about 3 hours to see all or most parts of the Grand Warehouse, if you’re getting a ticket with the 2 pm entry slot for the Grand Warehouse, it’ll be better to visit Mononoke Village first as you need to enter Mononoke Village before 4 pm.

After March 16th 2024, when you get inside the Grand Warehouse, there are going to be new visitors coming in every hour. So try to not arrive too close to the hour as otherwise you’ll be heading in with all the other visitors.

3) When you get inside the Grand Warehouse, the first point of call for everyone will be the Central Exhibition, Becoming Characters in Memorable Ghibli Scenes, we’d recommend going there first so you can get the long wait out of the way at the start.

4) Remember to take things to keep you busy when you are waiting in line. You may want to make sure your phone battery is charged and you have a portable charger. There are no convenience stores inside the Grand Warehouse, so best to buy anything you need before you go.

5) One good point about Ghibli Park compared to other theme parks is that there are no park entrance gates and lines for initial ticket checking, so you can walk from the train station to the Grand Warehouse in under 10 minutes.

6) If you have specific Ghibli items in mind that you’d like to purchase, you might want to visit the souvenir shop, Adventurous Flying Squadron, early enough to get them as popular products can sell out if you leave it until the last minute.

“Castle in the Sky” – Trailer with English Subtitles

A list of Studio Ghibli movies to watch before visiting Ghibli Park!

Here’s the complete list of 23 Studio Ghibli movies both in English and in Japanese.

1) Castle in the Sky (1986) 天空の城ラピュタ
2) My Neighbor Totoro (1988) となりのトトロ
3) Grave of the Fireflies (1988) 火垂るの墓 
4) Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) 魔女の宅急便 
5) Only Yesterday (1991) おもひでぽろぽろ 
6) Porco Rosso (1992) 紅の豚 
7) Pom Poko (1994) 平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ 
8) Whisper of the Heart (1995) 耳をすませば 
9) Princess Mononoke (1997) もののけ姫 
10) My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999) ホーホケキョ となりの山田くん 
11) Spirited Away (2001) 千と千尋の神隠し 
12) The Cat Returns (2002) 猫の恩返し 
13) Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) ハウルの動く城 
14) Tales from Earthsea (2006) ゲド戦記 
15) Ponyo (2008) 崖の上のポニョ 
16) Arrietty (2010) | UK: The Borrower Arrietty / US: The Secret World of Arrietty 借りぐらしのアリエッティ 
17) From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) コクリコ坂から 
18) The Wind Rises (2013) 風立ちぬ 
19) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) かぐや姫の物語 
20) When Marnie Was There (2014) 思い出のマーニー 
21) The Red Turtle (2016) レッドタートル ある島の物語 
22) Earwig and the Witch (2020)  アーヤと魔女 
23) The Boy and the Heron (2023) 君たちはどう生きるか

Other things to do nearby Ghibli Park

Finally, we would like to provide you with some idea of things you can do either before or after visiting Ghibli Park. As long time residents of Nagoya, it is one of our favourite places in Japan! Here is a list of 35 things to do in Nagoya. Whether you’re into art, history or modern Japanese culture, there’s plenty to do. If you’re a foodie, you also really enjoy Nagoya – there are so many regional dishes it’s going to be hard to cover them all in one visit, and we’re talking both sweet and savoury food.

It would be great to hear how your experience of Ghibli Park was or if you have any questions before going, please feel free to ask us in the comments section below. If you’re just about to travel to Ghibli Park, we hope that this article was helpful for you.

Note: All the information and details are correct at the time of publishing. We would recommend checking Ghibli Park or other relevant website for the latest information.

Extra Tip: In Japan, the floor of a building at ground level is called the 1st floor, while the 2nd floor in Japan would be the 1st floor in the U.K. If you’re not used to this, it can be confusing to begin with, but all you have to remember is that the 1st floor in Japan is the ground floor in the U.K. and most of Europe.

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