Getting into Ghibli Park will cost more on weekends and holidays, but still far less than Disneyland.

Some people will tell you that the best things in life are free. It looks like there’s going to be a pretty strong counterargument to that, though, in the soon-to-open Studio Ghibli anime theme park, though.

Currently under construction in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, within easy daytrip distance from the city of Nagoya, Ghibli Park will, of course, be charging admission. As the park has previously alluded to, though, they’d like to keep admission affordable, and now official prices for Ghibli Park tickets, as well as more information on how to reserve them has been released.

Ghibli Park is being built as a collection of separate sections within the preexisting Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. The first three to open to the public will be the museum-like Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, Dondoko Forest (site of sisters Mei and Satsuki’s house from My Neighbor Totoro), and the Hill of Youth (with recreated locations from Whisper of the Heart and The Cat Returns). Tickets to each will be sold separately, with the breakdown as follows.

● Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse (weekdays)
Adults: 2,000 yen (US$16)
Children (4 years old-end of elementary school): 1,000 yen
● Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse (weekends, holidays)
Adults: 2,500 yen
Children: 1,250 yen
● Dondoko Forest
Adults: 1,000 yen
Children: 500 yen
● Hill of Youth
Adults: 1,000 yen
Children: 500 yen

▼ Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse concept art

No discounted combo tickets have been announced, meaning that if you want to see everything, it’s going to cost adults 4,000 yen on weekdays or 4,500 on weekends and holidays, and kids between 4 and 12 (elementary school in Japan goes up to the sixth grade) 2,000 yen during the week or 2,250 yen on weekends/holidays. Admission for children 3 and younger is free.

In addition, Ghibli Park is taking a page from the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s operating procedure and requiring that tickets be purchased in advance via an online reservation system. As with the Ghibli Museum, your Ghibli Park ticket will be valid only on the date your reservation is for, and will also have a specific time at which you can enter the Ghibli Park area. Once you’re inside you can stay as long as you like, at least until closing, which is 5 p.m. (the park will open at 10 a.m. on weekdays and one hour earlier on weekends/holidays). The idea behind the date/time reservation system, ostensibly, is to limit crowd sizes at the park and allow guests to leisurely soak in the atmosphere, a policy that’s contributed to extremely high visitor satisfaction at the Ghibli Museum.

▼ Mei and Satsuki’s Dondoko Forest house

So how do Ghibli Park prices fare compared to Japan’s other high-profile theme parks? Adult tickets to Tokyo Disneyland range from 7,900 to 9,400 yen, depending on season, and Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan charges 8,400 yen, so a three-area pass to Ghibli Park only costs about half as much.

▼ Hill of Youth concept art

On the other hand, Ghibli Park looks to be smaller in both scale and spectacle than Disneyland or Universal Studios, with a greater focus on ambiance and exhibits than rides and shows. When compared to the Ghibli Museum, which charges just 1,000 yen for adults and between 100 and 700 yen for kids, Ghibli Park’s tickets, at roughly four times the cost, start to sound pretty pricy, though the park promises to be a much larger venue than the museum.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that when Ghibli Park opens this coming November 1, it won’t be completely finished yet. Already greenlit expansions include areas for popular Ghibli anime as Princess Mononke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, which will be located in two more zones, Mononoke Village and Witch’s Valley, again assumedly with their own separate-cost tickets.

Still, Ghibli isn’t in the business of doing anything by halves when it comes to artistic quality, and with the high potential of a visit to the park to become a magical lifelong memory, a 4,500-yen ticket cost isn’t likely to dissuade many fans. Ghibli Park says its planning for tickets to officially go on sale this August through online ticketing service Boo-Woo Ticket.

Source: Ghibli Park, Boo-Woo Ticket
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert images: Boo-Woo Ticket
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