It turns out that many Ghibli movies were inspired by real life locations and buildings. Here’s a good list of those spots:
Ghibli theme locations (and how to get tickets).
This biggest issue with the Ghibli theme locations is the need for advanced purchase tickets. No tickets are for sale onsite and tickets often sell out months in advance.
- Ghibli Park outside Nagoya. Advanced tickets are required and purchasable on their website.
- Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Advanced tickets are required and they often sell out MONTHS in advance.
My Neighbor Totoro
- Satsuki and Mei’s house from Totoro – A nearly perfect re-creation of the house from the Totoro movie. I wrote about this amazing house here.
- Ghibli Park – location of Satsuki and Mei’s house along with a forest and other movie inspired attractions.
- Totoro Forest -In Sayama, Saitama Prefecture is Totoro Forest. It also holds Kurosuke’s House which is Japanese traditional house which was built over 100 years ago. You can see a big Totoro sitting in the house and walk the grounds. (more here)
- Yakushima – registered as natural world heritage site. You can go there by plane or ferry.
- Shirakami-sanchi – world heritage site and it is mainly filled with greenery such as Japanese beech. There are some famous lakes called twelve lakes which means you can see twelve lakes at once from the upper side of the mountain.
Whispers of the Heart
- Seiseki Sakuragaoka – Seiseki-Sakuragaoka suburb is conveniently located just outside of Tokyo. The highlight of the town is the staircase to the top of the hill where you can enjoy a typically Japanese nostalgic night view.
- Tomonoura (Hiroshima) – This beautiful cityview of Tomonoura in Hiroshima is another spot not to be missed. Ponyo’s house is believed to be inspired by Naramura Museum.
Secret World of Arriety
- Seibien (Aomori) garden – Seibien is a western style house with Japanese garden in Aomori featured in ‘Arrietty’. Its garden is counted as one the three greatest gardens of Meiji-era and is an attractive sightseeing spot.
From Up on Poppy Hill
The city of Yokohama is depicted in ‘From Up on Poppy Hill’
- Minatonomieru oka koen (Kanagawa) – Harbor View Park
- Negishi natsukashi koen – (The Old House of Yagishita Family) reminds of Coquelicot Manor, a boarding house overlooking the port in the film.
- Yamate seiyo-kan (Kanagawa) – There are 7 western style houses collectively called Yamate Seiyoukan in the area where you can read different edition of Weekly Quartier Latin, the newspaper featured in the film, at each house
- Saffron fields of Takase District – Taeko travels on her own from Tokyo to Yamagata in this animated film. There are many sufflower fields in Takase District like the one depicted in ‘Only Yesterday’. Maybe you can even try out a Yamagata farm stay like she did.