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Studio Ghibli theme park to open in Japan in November

A theme park based on the films of anime studio Studio Ghibli, renowned for titles including the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away,” will open in Aichi Prefecture on Nov. 1, the studio and local officials said Thursday.

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

The site is currently under construction within a huge area of parkland in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, at a total cost of ¥34 billion ($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 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 said, adding that information on tickets is not yet available.

Two more areas — one themed on “Princess Mononoke,” the tale of a girl raised by wolves in a forest, and another inspired by the films “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” — will open next year, the official said.

Studio Ghibli was co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki, known internationally for directing 2001’s “Spirited Away,” which tells the story of a girl who gets lost in a mysterious world and tries to save her parents who have 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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