For Japanese people, Studio Ghibli is an integral part of our childhoods. The comparison isn’t quite the same, but it is similar to Walt Disney movies in Western culture. Instead of Mickey Mouse, the Lion King or Finding Nemo, it is My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away or Ponyo in Japan. In November 2022, the brand-new Ghibli Park was built in the Aichi Prefecture just outside of Nagoya city. During our recent Winter Trip to Japan, we managed to get tickets to a few of the attractions. Was it worth it? Here’s our honest Studio Ghibli Park review for those wondering if it is worth adding to their Japan trip itineraries.

What is the Studio Ghibli?

As we mentioned, Studio Ghibli is kind of like the Walt Disney of Japan. It is a Japanese animation studio that has produced some of the world’s most beloved animated films. Most will be familiar with Totoro or Spirited Away, but the company has produced over 24 full-length animated movies. Many of these were animated and created by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki who is considered to be royalty in Japan. Most recently, Studio Ghibli won the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Animated for the Boy and the Heron.

Here is a list of Studio Ghibli Movies and the year that they were released:

Film TitleYear Released
Castle in the Sky1986
My Neighbour Totoro1988
Grave of the Fireflies1988
Kiki’s Delivery Service1989
Only Yesterday1991
Porco Rosso1992
Ocean Waves1993
Pom Poko1994
Whisper of the Heart1995
Princess Mononoke1997
My Neighbours the Yamadas1999
Spirited Away2001
The Cat Returns2002
Howl’s Moving Castle2004
Tales from Earthsea2006
From Up on Poppy Hill2011
The Wind Rises2013
The Tales of Princess Kaguya2013
When Marnie Was There2014
The Red Turtle2016
Earwig and the Witch2020
The Boy and the Heron2023

Looking for some Studio Ghibli movies that your kids would love? Start with the classics like My Neighbour Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service or Ponyo. These are our kids’ favourites. Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky are good for kids who are a little older.

Studio Ghibli films can all be found on Netflix except in Japan and the United States. In the US, Studio Ghibli films can be streamed from HBO Max.

What is the Studio Ghibli Park?

First of all, let’s not confuse Studio Ghibli Park with the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka Tokyo. This is a brand-new attraction that was created in November 2022 with plans for expansion in the coming years. It was first announced in 2017 and is built into the Expo Commemorative Park in the Aichi Prefecture.

The park itself is built across several different locations within the area. It can get confusing and you do need separate tickets for each different attraction. On our trip, we went to the Ghibli Grand Warehouse, the Dondoko Forest, and the Mononoke Village. We did not attend the Hill of Youth. The next planned attraction is the Valley of the Witch which is set to open in March 2024. It is based on Kiki’s Delivery Service and will have a replica of Kiki’s house, the bakery, and several restaurants for guests to dine at.

The Studio Ghibli Park isn’t like most theme parks in Japan. There are no rides or games to play but rather experiences and memories from many of their famous films. It is a park to immerse yourself in the world of Ghibli while enjoying the calmness of the surrounding forests. Don’t worry parents, there are gift shops and stands and plenty of photo opportunities to make memories of your special trip!

How to Access the Studio Ghibli Park?

The access is fairly limited if you are a tourist. Locals can drive and you can certainly take a taxi but the easiest way is to take the train from Nagoya station. If you aren’t staying in Nagoya, you can take a Shinkansen to Nagoya with the Japan Rail Pass. The Shinkansen takes about an hour and a half from Tokyo Station and about an hour from Shin-Osaka Station.

What is the Japan Rail Pass? Read our article on it here: Japan Rail Pass 2024

Once you arrive at Nagoya Station you will need to find the Higashiyama Subway line. Take this train towards Fujigaoka Station and get off at Fujigaoka Station.

Follow the signs to the Linimo Line train and take the platform heading in the direction of Yakusa Station. Take the Linimo Line train to Ai-Chikuyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station. It is a five-minute walk from the station to the gates of the Expo Commemorative Park.

How To Get Tickets to Studio Ghibli Park?

Something many visitors to Japan do not realize is that many attractions need advanced tickets. Many places do not allow you to buy tickets at the entrance and Studio Ghibli Park is no different.

While these tickets are not as difficult to obtain as say a reservation at the Pokemon Cafe, it can be a challenge for international visitors.

Tickets for Studio Ghibli Park are released for future dates about two months ahead of the actual date. So if you want to reserve tickets for your trip in March, you’ll need to look for them to go on sale in January. If the dates are sold out, there isn’t much you can do about it, unfortunately.

All tickets for Studio Ghibli Park must be purchased through the website. This site uses Lawson Ticket and you will need to create an account for it. Also, a warning, depending on where you are some credit cards do get rejected by Japanese websites. Don’t ask us why, but it hasn’t been uncommon for our Canadian cards to be turned down when trying to buy tickets.

The nice thing about Studio Ghibli Park’s site is they have a dedicated page for international customers. If you have any questions, you can call them during the hours when the park is open. They offer service in English, Mandarin, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. Tickets or reservations cannot be made over the phone. The number to contact Studio Ghibli Park for international customers is +81 50 3626 2455.

Successful Reservations at Studio Ghibli Park

We have heard that tickets can be difficult to obtain for Studio Ghibli Park. Luckily, we were prepared. For our trip in December, we bought them when they went on sale in September. It’s not quite as stressful as getting a reservation at the Pokemon Cafe but it did take some patience.

Tickets may be available closer to the date but we would not recommend risking it if you want to go. Don’t leave it to chance, get those tickets and secure your spot as soon as you can!

How Much Does it Cost to go to Studio Ghibli Park?

We were impressed at how reasonable tickets are for Studio Ghibli Park. Granted, there are no rides or games, just a lot of walking around. Still, compared to attractions in other countries, Japan is quite reasonable.

Here’s a look at the prices for the different attractions at Studio Ghibli Park:

Ghibli Grand Warehouse and Mononoke Village Package

AdultsChildren (Age 4-12)Children (Age 0-3)
Weekdays2,500 Yen1,250 Yen0 Yen
Weekends and Holidays3,000 Yen1,500 Yen0 Yen

Hill of Youth

AdultsChildren (Age 4-12)Children (Age 0-3)
All Days1,000 Yen500 Yen0 Yen

Dondoko Forest

AdultChildren (Age 4-12)Children (Age 0-3)
All Days1,000 Yen500 Yen0 Yen

Ghibli Grand Warehouse Review

The Ghibli Grand Warehouse is the largest attraction in the park and the only one that is completely indoors. From the moment you walk into the building, you will be transported into the world of Ghibli. From the colourful fauna to the street signs and buildings. For us, it was extremely nostalgic and the kids loved being able to run around in a town that looked like it was straight out of the movies.

Several areas in the warehouse are for kids only. This means they can run around as they please and adults simply just need to keep an eye on them. The popular Cat Bus is one of those areas and unfortunately, it is also a no-photography area. You can try to sneak some photos but we respected the rules of the attraction. Our kids enjoyed climbing on the giant Cat Bus and running through the buildings from each movie.

The largest attraction in the warehouse is the photo opportunities in scenes from nearly every Studio Ghibli movie. The most well-known of these is sitting on the train next to a statue of No-Face from Spirited Away. But there are other great scenes including the tidal wave of fish from Ponyo and the head of the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke.

There are other attractions including a book shop, a toy shop, and a tour of old props used in some of the films. This is also where the gift shop is, which we highly recommend going to. There are plenty of exclusive things that you can only purchase at the Studio Ghibli Park.

Where to Eat at the Ghibli Grand Warehouse

There is also the Transcontinental Flight Cafe in the Ghibli Grand Warehouse that serves various sandwiches, pizzas, and other quick snacks. The food is fine but nothing too extraordinary to be honest.

You can try the Siberian red bean cakes and milk at the Siberian Milk Stand. The glass jar of milk is a must-have for collectors and is an awesome keepsake from the warehouse. It has the Ghibli Park cat princess logo on the bottle and is a very cool retro collectible.

Ghibli Grand Warehouse: Our Honest Opinion

This is the biggest attraction at Studio Ghibli Park and it did not disappoint. Our kids loved running around the different areas from each Ghibli film and the giant climbable Cat Bus statue was the highlight. Everything about this area was nostalgic and brought out the inner Ghibli fan in us. The lineup to get into the area where No-Face is was the longest lineup in the park but only took us about ten minutes altogether.

If you are going to go to one area at Studio Ghibli Park, these tickets are well worth the very reasonable price of admission.

Dondoko Forest: Our Honest Opinion

Dondoko Forest is where you will find the large Totoro statue and the replica of the Kusakabe house where Mei and Satsuki live. The house is very realistic with each room laid out exactly like it is in the movie. All of the details are there right down to the old water pump they used in the yard for washing their clothes. Although our children loved the movie, they weren’t too excited about going into the house. This is understandable as there isn’t much to do aside from looking at the rooms and walking quietly around the inside.

The Totoro statue was a hit, especially since we took the Dondoko-go tram up to the top of the hill. This tram is a replica of the old-style trams that were once used in Nagoya city. The ride itself is only about a minute but it was a fun ride for our kids!

At the top, you will immediately see the Totoro statue in the middle of the clearing. It is a wonderful sight for all fans of Totoro. Younger children can climb inside and look out through Totoro’s teeth. This was easily the highlight for the children and well worth the trek through the surrounding forests.

You will even find a souvenir booth with various charms and Totoro bells that you can only purchase inside Dondoko Forest.

Our Studio Ghibli Park Review Score

Did we love Studio Ghibli Park? We did! But the park didn’t come without its flaws. For starters, it can be difficult to navigate between the different areas. There is a lot of space between each attraction, so make sure to catch the bus that takes you to each area.

As with the Pokemon Cafe, reserving tickets for Studio Ghibli Park is not always an easy task. This is especially true for foreigners who seem to be at a disadvantage to locals when vying for these tickets. If you plan on going to Studio Ghibli Park, make sure you buy your tickets well in advance of your trip.

The food is also not the best part of visiting the Studio Ghibli Park. We saw plenty of people packing their lunches and eating onigiri or other bentos in some of the grassy areas of the park. The food inside is limited to sandwiches and pizza at the cafeteria. There is also a Lawson convenience store on the way into the park.

For fans of Studio Ghibli, the park is an incredibly nostalgic place to visit. The tickets are very affordable and the souvenirs at the gift shop and stands are unique to the Ghibli Park. Is it worth going to once? Absolutely. Is it worth going again? In our opinion: only for the most die-hard Studio Ghibli fans.

Overall Experience4.5
Studio Ghibli Park Food3.5
Studio Ghibli Park Accessibility4.0
Studio Ghibli Ticket Reservation System3.5
Studio Ghibli Park Service4.5
Studio Ghibli Park Memoribilia/Gift Shop4.5

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Studio Ghibli Park Worth a Visit?

Yes, for any visitors to Japan and any Studio Ghibli fans, Studio Ghibli Park is worth a visit. Is it worth going to again? Only for the most devoted Studio Ghibli fans. Most people will only need to attend once until the new attractions open.

Is Studio Ghibli Park or Museum Better?

The two attractions are very different. Most people will likely get more out of visiting the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. Studio Ghibli Park is mostly outdoors and is certainly for the more devout Studio Ghibli fans. In our opinion, kids will enjoy both Studio Ghibli Park and the Ghibli Museum.

How Expensive is Studio Ghibli Park?

For adults, tickets can be as cheap as 1,000 Yen and 500 Yen for children. Prices vary depending on the attraction and the date which you attend. Weekends and holidays are slightly more expensive for the Ghibli Grand Warehouse.

How to Get to Studio Ghibli Park Aichi?

From Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Subway line towards Fujigaoka Station and get off at Fujigaoka Station. Follow the signs to the Linimo Line train and take the platform heading in the direction of Yakusa Station. Take the Linimo Line train to Ai-Chikuyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station. It is a five-minute walk from the station to the gates of the Expo Commemorative Park.