Spirited Away food court also rumored to be part of theme park dedicated to the works of anime creator Hayao Miyazaki’s studio.

When you’re as successful and respected as anime production house Studio Ghibli, you get to take all the time you want with your projects. So even though it’s been three years since the announcement that a Ghibli theme park will be built in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, concrete information on exactly what guests will be able to see and do have been hard to come by.

However, the slow drip of details continues with a new announcement from the Aichi Prefectural government that includes a diagram of the park-in-progress, plus drops a few more tantalizing tidbits.

Judging from the map above, it doesn’t look like Ghibli Park will be a traditional singular-enclosed-space type of theme park. Instead, the five Ghibli Park areas will occupy separate patches of Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, located in the town of Nagakute, near Nagoya.

The first area, Hill of Youth (concept art above), is meant to evoke feelings of whimsy and wonder with an 18th-century fictional science aesthetic, plus a recreation of the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart, as well as the cat office from its semi-sequel, The Cat Returns.

The Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse area is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Studio Ghibli’s animated works. In addition to permanent and seasonal exhibitions, this part of the park will also have a 170-seat theater. Considering the compact size, it’s unlikely that the theater will show feature-length films, so fans are keeping their fingers crossed that this will be only the second place in the world where they can see the Ghibli anime shorts such as the Totoro follow-up, that can currently only be viewed at Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum.

Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse will also have a cafeteria, and while this specification isn’t made in the press release, Japanese news service Asahi Shimbun Digital claims that it will take the form of the ghostly food stalls seen in the early part of Spirited Away.

Dondoko Forest will incorporate the pre-existing life-size version of Mei and Satsuki’s house for the area’s My Neighbor Totoro theme. There’ll also be a walking path through the woods and a recreation of the countryside shrine seen in the film (no word yet on whether the cuddly forest spirit himself will make an appearance, though).

There’s currently no ground-level concept art for the Village of Mononoke area, but the park’s planners say guests will be able to visit Irontown, the outcast settlement run by Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke. This section of the park is touted as offering hands-on experiences and will include charcoal burner’s cottage, though there’s also a rest area for those who aren’t feeling so industrious.

And last, in the Valley of the Witches fans can visit the homes of Studio Ghibli’s two bona fide magic-users: Kiki’s house (seen in the opening of Kiki’s Delivery Service) and Howl’s castle. Sadly, there’s no mention of a “moving” status for the wizard’s fortress, but the semicircular waterfront development does look a lot like the world right outside the front door for much of the movie.

In addition to its scattered layout, Ghibli Park will have a staggered opening. Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Giant Warehouse, and Dondoko Forest will be the first to open, which is currently projected for 2022. Village and Mononoke and Valley of Witches, meanwhile, are scheduled to start receiving guests in 2023.

The Aichi prefectural government is expecting one million Ghibli Park visitors a year when the first three areas open, and believes that figure will jump to 1.8 million once all five zones are operating.

Sources: Aichi Prefecture via IT Media, Asahi Shimbun Digital via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko
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Insert images: Aichi Prefecture
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’d like flying bread delivery to be part of the Valley of Witches experience.