On June 29, 2023, Aichi Prefecture, the operator of Ghibli Park, partially opened a playground area in the Expo 2005 Aichi Prefecture (Moricoro Park) that is based on the Studio Ghibli film “The Cat Returns”.
This playground area was planned and created to allow anyone to easily immerse themselves in the world of Ghibli, with elementary school children (6 years old and younger) in mind who cannot enjoy the reservation-only Ghibli Park when they visit the Expo ’85 Aichi Prefecture Memorial Park.
There is a charge on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays (holidays), and during school vacation periods, but admission and use is basically free during the rest of the year.
In mid-July, I visited this playground area, which is about to be completed, and would like to report on its condition along with an overview.
- What is the Ghibli film “The Cat Returns” that serves as the motif?
- Overview of The Cat King Castle Area
- Directions to The Cat King Castle Area
What is the Ghibli film “The Cat Returns” that serves as the motif?
The Cat Returns is a Studio Ghibli film released in 2023.
It is a spin-off of “Whisper of the Heart” released in 1996, and is positioned as a story written by Shizuku Tsukishima, the main character of the film.
Baron and Muta from “Whisper of the Heart” also appear in “The Cat Returns,” making it Studio Ghibli’s only sequel-like film.
The Cat King Castle as seen by Haru and Muta, the main characters in “The Cat Returns.
This is the motif of the playground equipment area introduced here.
This article will introduce the new playground area, tentatively named “The Cat King Castle Area.
Overview of The Cat King Castle Area
The Cat King Castle Area will feature three main types of playground equipment.
Playground equipment at The Cat King Castle Area
As they are produced by Studio Ghibli, all of the playground equipment is gimmicky.
The Tarzan rope in 1) seems to be inspired by the scene where the main character Haru walked on a raven.
I could not grasp the appearance of this Tarzan rope because it was not yet open to visitors and I could only take pictures from outside the enclosure.
As I do not know if there are Tarzan ropes outside Japan, I will post the images for your reference.
It is a playground equipment that you use a pulley in your hand to go back and forth between the points (5 – 10m) where wires are stretched.
The maze in 2) is marked by a 9-meter tower and is also based on the maze in which the main characters wandered.
3) The slides are located in a small fort, and there are three slides of various sizes.
The Cat King Castle Area” opening period and hours
The Cat King Castle Area will open on August 4, 2023, but admission is not free in August because of the long school vacation period in Japan.
Admission will be free only on weekdays from September.
Opening hours have not yet been decided, but are expected to be from 9:00 to 17:00 during the free admission period and from 10:00 to 17:00 during the paid admission period. (*Lockers and other facilities in the park will be available until 18:00 at the latest.
Additional information on opening hours will be available on this page in August.
There are also restrictions on the number of people who can play and for how long, with a maximum capacity of approximately 140 people and one-hour shifts.
Fees for the paid period of “The Cat King Castle Area
The Cat King Castle Area will be open on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, summer vacation periods for students (generally from late July to late August), and winter vacation periods (late December to early January).
This is because congestion is expected during these periods when many people gather.
Please refer to the table below for information on fees.
The Cat King Castle Area Rates
Day / Fee Kid Adult Weekday Free Free Holiday 100yen/h 300yen/h
Directions to The Cat King Castle Area
The Cat King Castle Area is located slightly to the east of the entrance to the Ghibli Grand Warehouse.
Walking slowly, it will take about 5 minutes.
It is located far beyond the large grassy area to the left of the Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse waiting line.
From the deck a little further on, you can see it in the distance.
As you step into the lawn and proceed, you can already see the tower.
Looking to the right, you can catch a glimpse of the second phase of Ghibli Park under construction.
By the way, this was taken with a telephoto lens, so the picture is actually a bit farther away. m(_ _)m
It looks quite realistic.
Then we passed by a stage that looked like an objet d’art…
It is now visible.
From a distance, it is almost done.
We have arrived. First, a shot of the tower.
The tower is on the left side of the tower, around the pillar.
I pulled back a bit and took some shots of the slide as well.
Although we could not go further because it is off-limits, we could see a little bit of the “Mononoke Village(Mononoke no Sato)” area under construction on the other side of The Cat King Castle Area. Can you tell?
I also photographed the point where this will probably be the entrance.
The ground has been paved and is almost complete.
This article will be a pre-opening report on “The Cat King Castle Area (tentative)”.
Among the inquiries we received, many people said that they could not get tickets for “Dondoko Forest! I have received many inquiries from people who said that they could not get tickets for “Dondoko Forest”.
Many people want to visit two places in one day with “Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse,” but the popularity of “Dondoko Forest” is not expected to stop for a while yet.
Although it cannot replace Dondoko Forest, if you want to immerse yourself in the world of Ghibli a little more after visiting Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, you should definitely visit Dondoko Forest.