It must be a dream for many people, to be part of the world of the famous Ghibli animation. Studio Ghibli has launched remarkable animation movies that keep remaining in one’s heart. Here we will introduce areas in Japan that are told to be the model for Ghibli movies, in order for you to experience the world of your favorite story.
“My Neighbor Totoro” – Sayama Kyoryu
Talking of Ghibli, let us start with everyone’s favorite Totoro (from “My neighbor Totoro”). Sayama Kyoryu located around the border of Tokyo and Saitama is known to be “Totoro’s forest” and is said to be the model of the area where the family moves in. The nostalgic landscape and the abundant green full of creatures will resemble many scenes from the movie. To experience the lifestyle of Satsuki’s family, visit the “Kurosuke’s house”, an old house being the base for donation to preserve the nature of this area. Why don’t you take a trip to find Totoro?
“Whisper of the heart” – Seiseki Sakuragaoka
“Seiseki Sakuragaoka” is located at West Tokyo, located 30 minutes from Shinjuku. It is the model of where the movie “Whisper of the heart” took place. The theme song “Country Road” will welcome you once you arrive at the station. Here, take your time and tour around the places appearing in the movie, from the park where Shizuku and Yuko talked, to the Konpira Shrine where Shizuku’s friend Sugimura revealed his feeling. If you wish to rest, visit “Noix” a cafe which actually appeared in the movie, where you will be able to meet Baron!
“From Up on Poppy Hill” – Minato no Mieru Oka Kouen, Yamashita Park
The model area for “From up on Poppy Hill” is Yokohama, the city of Hill and Ocean. “Poppy Hill” is an original name for this film, but it is said that the Hill leading to “Minato no Mieru Oka Kouen” is this model, therefore now this park has the flag which was a symbolic item of the film. Another park, “Yamashita Park” also appeared in the movie where the young couple walked together, showing many symbols of Yokohama, including the ship of Hikawamaru, Hotel New Grand, and Marine Tower.
“Princess Mononoke” – Shiratani Unsuikyo
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Director Hayao Miyazaki visited this island south of Kagoshima prefecture many times, to develop his concept for the world-famous animation “Princess Mononoke”. Yakushima is listed as a World heritage, and 90% of the island is covered by abundant nature. Trekking 1.5 hours from the entrance is Shiratani Unsuikyo, referred as the “Forest of Princess Mononoke”. The area is covered by green moss creating a mystical atmosphere, making you feel as you have travelled inside the movie.
“Ponyo” – Tomo no Ura
Tomo no Ura is located at Hiroshima Prefecture, and is a nostalgic town being the model for Ponyo. Director Hayao Miyazaki stayed at this port town while he was developing the concept of the movie “Ponyo”. “Ushiroyama Park” is one area which appears at the climax of the moive. In many places, you will find the adorable red character of Ponyo welcoming you.