Studio Ghibli sets Nov opening date

A scene from My Neighbor Totoro (Photo: Studio Ghibli)

TOKYO: A theme park based on the films of top anime studio Studio Ghibli, renowned for titles including the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, will open in central Japan on Nov 1.

The opening date for the eagerly awaited "Ghibli Park" was revealed on the studio's Twitter account alongside an illustration of cuddly forest spirit character Totoro on Thursday.

The site is currently under construction within a huge area of parkland in central Aichi region, 250 kilometres west of Tokyo, at a total cost of 34 billion yen ($300 million), documents show.

One of the theme park's five areas includes a life-size model of the house where the main characters of the 1988 classic My Neighbor Totoro lived, evoking the luscious scenery of the Japanese countryside.

It will be the first section of the Ghibli Park to open this year, a local government official said.

"Visitors will be able to go inside a Totoro-like statue built at the back of the house," the official told AFP, adding that "information on tickets is not yet available.''

Studio Ghibli was co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki, known internationally for directing 2001's Spirited Away, about a girl who gets lost in a mysterious world and tries to save her parents who are turned into pigs.

The studio already operates the hugely popular Ghibli Museum on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Tickets for the museum only go on sale at the beginning of each month and regularly sell out within hours.

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