Also reminds guests that outside food can’t be eaten in Ghibli Park, and also why that’s not really a problem.

Ghibli Park is going to be doing things a little differently from other theme parks. Aside from the fact that it’s the first one ever to be inspired by the anime films of Studio Ghibli, Ghibli Park is made up of a number of separate areas inside the pre-existing Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, and the planners are taking great care to make sure that Ghibli Park blends harmoniously into the pre-existing environment.

So with Ghibli Park’s grand opening now less than a week away, they’ve released a lovingly illustrated visitor’s guide explaining what to bring and what to expect.

“Big Stroll Guide” says the top text, referencing the opening song “Sampo” (“Stroll”) from My Neighbor Totoro. The guide features lovingly illustrated artwork from Ghibli Park lead planner and occasional Studio Ghibli anime director Goro Miyazaki, and in addition to drawings of Mei and a pair of Totoros, the cover also says “Destination: Ghibli Park” with the park’s address, and has boxes in which to write your name (なまえ) and class (くみ), giving it the feel of an information sheet for a school field trip.

Page 2 is where the advice starts, with illustrations of recommended attire for both hot and cold days. The park is located on partly hilly terrain that’s “close to the sky,” as Ghibli’s pamphlet puts it, meaning that the altitude is high enough that they recommend being prepared to deal with unpredictable weather.

Hot days
● Hat
● Backpack or shoulder bag
● Long-sleeves recommended on days with strong sunshine (and to protect your arms from bug bites)
● Towel (hanging it from your waistband optional)
● Sneakers or other easy-to-walk-in shoes
Cold days
● Hat
● Backpack or shoulder bag
● Gloves
● Waterproof shoes recommended on rainy days

Meanwhile, the list of things to bring is:

1. Ghibli Park ticket (paper or digital)
2. Bento boxed lunch
3. Water bottle
4. Leisure sheet (a plastic sheet or pad for sitting on the ground)
5. Snacks
6. Umbrella or raincoat
7. Spending money

Regarding the bento, though, guests aren’t allowed to eat outside food within Ghibli Park. However, this isn’t such a big problem, and it’s actually an opportunity to enjoy the wider Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park on the same day.

On bringing food into Ghibli Park:
There is no place inside Ghibli Park for guests to eat food they have brought in. Please enjoy your food within Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park

Where to eat your bento:
On days when the weather is nice, we recommend the Large Grassy Field!
On rainy days or when the sunshine is very strong, we recommend the Mikatsuki or West Entrance Information Center rest areas, which are covered. Check the map for their locations!

And, as promised, the next page is a hand-drawn map, showing Ghibli Park’s three areas (Hill of Youth, Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, and Dondoko Forest).

The major labeled locations are:
● 愛地球博記念公園駅,
Aichikyuhaku-kinen-koen Station
● 北口案内所
North Entrance Information Center
● コンビニ
Convenience store
● カフェテリア
● 青春の丘
Hill of Youth
● ジブリの大倉庫
Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse
● 西口案内所休憩所
West Entrance Information Center Rest Area
● ラーメン
Ramen restaurant
● 池
● 大芝生広場
Large Grassy Field
● 三日月休憩所
Mikatsuki Rest Area
● バス停
Bus stops
● どんどこ森
Dondoko Forest

There’re even some thoughtful notes at the bottom of the map, where two paths lead into Dondoko Forest. The one on the left (たいら(とおい)) is the flatter, longer way in, while the other (山こえる(ちかい)) is shorter but steeper, going over a rise.

The map page also tells you to keep an eye out for the “Ghibli’s forgotten item” park benches and mentions that while Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park has parking lots, there are no specific spots reserved for Ghibli Park guests’ cars, and that using public transportation is likely to be smoother.

The back page has reminders that Ghibli Park tickets are issued for a specific entry date and time, and must be purchased before arriving at the park. There’s also the useful information that there are coin lockers at the North Entrance Information Center and West Entrance Information Center Rest Area, plus a coat check at the North Entrance Information Center, but also the warning that they might fill up, so coming with as little baggage as you can is best. Another important notice is that there are no trash cans in Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, including inside the Ghibli Park areas, and so visitors are asked to take all their trash home with them. Finally, there’s a QR code for the Ghibli Park official website, and contact phone numbers for Ghibli Park and Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park for those who have further questions or concerns.

If you’re wondering why we keep referring to “pages,” it’s because the Big Stroll Guide is available for download through the Ghibli Park website here. In true Ghibli fashion, there’s a bit of a hands-on artistic element to it, as it’s meant to be printed out as a single paper that you fold into quarters.

▼ Veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, with his name written on his guide’s cover

Ghibli Park opens on November 1, and it changes its ticket purchase policy on November 10.

Source: Ghibli Park
Images: Ghibli Park
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