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Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed film Spirited Away is beloved around the world for its touching story and beautiful animation, and the whimsical setting has a real-life counterpart. Jiufen, a mountainous area of New Taipei City in Taiwan is said to be where creator Hayao Miyazaki drew a lot of his inspiration for the film, and many tourists visit the area to feel like they’re stepping into the magical world of Spirited Away. But it turns out there’s also somewhere similar in China! Check out these photos and videos of the incredible place.

In Sichuan province, the area famed for its pandas and delicious mapo tofu, is a place called Hongyadon situated in the heart of the city of Chongqing at the point where the Yangtze River and Jialing River meet. There you’ll find a tall, towering structure accessed by a bridge that looks just like a Japanese castle. It looks like something copied straight out of a fantasy movie, but it’s actually a traditional style of building from an area steeped in 2,300 years of history.

This particular place was reopened as a commercial and tourist facility in 2006 and has become a centre for shopping and sightseeing, and has recently become more popular after the news that it looked just like Spirited Away started circulating.

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And it does look just like the bath house from Miyazaki’s masterpiece, bridge and all. You’d almost expect No-Face to welcome you at the door! Inside the sprawling, 11-story complex it’s like a labyrinth filled with hotels, bars, and cafes. Judging from the photos it even seems like there’s a Starbucks and a Subway somewhere in there. The chaotic design that looks as though everything has been stacked willy-nilly on top of each other adds to its charm and the orange glow when its lit up at night is so beautiful and welcoming you feel positively drawn to it.

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▼Promotional video from the Chongqing Tourism Bureau.

How could you resist getting lost for a night in this magical place?!

Sources: Ctrip, Sohu News, Sina Weibo

[ Read in Japanese ]