11 Places in Japan that Studio Ghibli Film Fans Must Visit

11 Places in Japan that Studio Ghibli Film Fans Must Visit

Studio Ghibli films have a charm that leaves an impression on the hearts of the audience. The popularity of Studio Ghibli films reached the world, especially Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Many people wish that they could enter the magical world of Studio Ghibli films, maybe you are one of them.

So, here are 11 locations in Japan that inspire, resemble, or even imitate Studio Ghibli films. If you are a fan of the film, it can be a reference for tourist destinations that you can visit. Listen, come on!

  1. Shima Onsen / Sekizenkan, Gunma Prefecture (Spirited Away)

Shima Onsen is a famous hot spring resort town located in Gunma prefecture. Sekizenkan, one of the ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) here is similar to the building in the movie Spirited Away.

Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away, confirmed that Sekizenkan was one of his inspirations. The red bridge, the wooden architecture, and the vibe of this place are like Yubaba’s bathhouse on Spirited Away.

  1. Shimonada Station, Ehime Prefecture (Spirited Away)

This second place reminds you of one of the scenes in Spirited Away when Chihiro rides the train through the sea. Shimonada Station is located in Ehime prefecture, known as a station close to the sea. The station platform is minimalist and has no staff, as well as stunning views of the Iyo Sea.

About a 15-minute walk from Shimanoda Station, you can find the rail leading to the sea. The difference is that this station rail serves to help ships get ashore. Moreover, the clear waters of the Iyo Sea make this train track look like the one in the Spirited Away movie.

  1. Sayama Hill, Saitama Prefecture (My Neighbor Totoro)

Sayama Hill is located across from Saitama and Tokyo prefectures, covering an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 3,500 hectares. The hills here became one of the inspirations for the setting in the film My Neighbor Totoro, and now the forest is nicknamed the Totoro forest.

When walking in this hill area, you will feel as if you will meet Totoro. If you follow the road you will reach Sayama lake. When the weather is clear, Mount Fuji can be seen from Sayama Hill.

On Sayama Hill, there is a more than 100-year-old traditional Japanese house named Kurosuke’s house. This house is similar to the place where Satsuki and Mei moved in. You can find a large Totoro doll and buy items that are only available at Kurosuke’s house.

  1. Satsuki and Mei’s House, Aichi Prefecture (My Neighbor Totoro)

This house, located in Aichi prefecture, was built in 2005 to commemorate the Aichi Expo. This house is made very similar to the house of Satsuki and Mei in the movie My Neighbor Totoro. Starting from the exterior of the house, the study room, laundry room, hall, and others are made as closely as possible according to the scene in the film.

If you want to visit this house, it is recommended to buy tickets the day before. Considering this house is one of the popular tourist attractions.

  1. Totoro Pass / Cat bus, Hokkaido (My Neighbor Totoro)

Totoro Pass is located in the west of Hokkaido, in Fukagawa to be exact. In this place, there is a Catbus, a cat bus like the one in Neighbor Totoro.

Initially, this bus was used by local farmers to rest. In 1998, residents repainted the exterior of the bus with a Catbus design. Even though it’s not very similar to the original, the Totoro Pass is still a famous spot for Totoro fans.

  1. Yakushima Island / Shiratani Unsukiyo Ravine, Kagoshima Prefecture (Princess Mononoke)

Yakushima Island is located off the southern coast of Kagoshima prefecture. This island is famous for its forest charm and Jomon Cedar trees that are more than 3,500 years old. The director Hayao Miyazaki told that he visited Yakushima Island before making Princess Mononoke.

-Green moss covering the ground and rocks make this forest atmosphere like the one in the movie Princess Mononoke.

  1. Tomogashima Island / Okinoshima, Wakayama Prefecture (Castle In The Sky)

The Tomogashima Islands are located on the northwest coast of Wakayama prefecture. This archipelago consists of 4 uninhabited islands namely Jinoshima, Torajima, Kamishima, and Okinoshima.

One of the islands, Okinoshima, holds the ruins of a former war fort. The fort has an ammunition depot made of bricks covered with vines and moss, making this fort very similar to Laputa in the film Castle In The Sky.

  1. Tomonoura, Hiroshima Prefecture (Ponyo)

Tomonoura is a port city located in Hiroshima prefecture, Fukuyama city to be exact. The city is known for its retro-style streets that haven’t changed since the Edo period (1603 – 1687).

Some speculate that Hayao Miyazaki got the inspiration to make Ponyo while living in Tomonoura. The many boats and traditional Japanese-style houses on the beach make Tomonoura very similar to the Ponyo movie.

  1. Harbor View Park, Kanagawa Prefecture (From Up on Poppy Hill)

Harbor View Park is one of the perfect places to see Yokohama Harbor views. Studio Ghibli has officially stated that they are modeling the location in the film From Up on Poppy Hill based on Harbor View Park. This is where Umi’s boarding house, Coquelicot Manor, is in the film.

  1. Yamashita Park, Kanagawa Prefecture (From Up on Poppy Hills)

Yamashita Park offers a wide and beautiful view of Yokohama Harbor. In the film From Up on Poppy Hill, Umi walks along a seaside path in Yokohama Harbor with a friend named Shun.

The big ship Hikawa Maru, the Yokohama Sea Tower, and the international maritime signal flag in Yamashita Park also appear in the film, you know!

  1. Seibien Garden, Aomori Prefecture (The Secret World of Arrietty)

Seibien Park is located in Aomori prefecture, in Hirakawa City to be exact. The garden is made in the bugaku-Ryu style, a style native to the Tsugaru region of North Aomori. Seibien Park is named one of the three famous gardens of the Meiji period (1868 – 1912). The Meiji-style house in the middle of the park is similar to the movie The Secret World of Arriety.

As you walk through the gardens, you will find Seibikan, which are Japanese-style architectural houses on the first floor and Western-style houses on the second and third floors. This distinctive architecture will remind you of the residences of the Sho and Arriety families.

Those are eleven locations in Japan that Studio Ghibli movie fans can visit. The location is beautiful and not inferior to the one in the film, right? Which place would you most like to visit?