May 19, 2024
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (11)

Explore 5 Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life

If you have ever watched films from Ghibli Studio, the most famous animation studio in Asia, you surely cannot forget the enchanting worlds depicted in movies like Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, or Spirited Away. Below are 5 fairytale-like locations that truly inspired the magical settings in Ghibli’s films.

1. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Visby, Gotland, Sweden

Visby is an ancient town over a thousand years old located on the island of Gotland. With its typical medieval urban structure featuring a large church at the center, a trading system, residential houses, granaries, and a 3.4 km-long fortified limestone wall surrounding the town, Visby has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (12)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (13)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (14)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

Another historic city referenced in the movie is Gamla Stan (Old Town) in Stockholm, Sweden. With its colorful rows of houses and cobblestone alleys, strolling through Gamla Stan will make you feel like you’ve entered Kiki’s world, only missing the flying broomstick.

2. Princess Mononoke: Yakushima, Osumi Islands, Kagoshima, Japan

Yakushima, also known as the “Island of Ancient Trees,” is a Japanese island famous for its temperate forests and valuable ancient, endemic flora. The Yakusugi cedar trees on the island are among the oldest living organisms in Japan, with a lifespan of 3,000-3,500 years. The island has a 2,000-meter-high mountain and offers fantastic hiking opportunities, with a frequently humid atmosphere and persistent rainfall throughout the day.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (10)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

The magnificent and lush forests of Yakushima are believed to have inspired the iconic scenes in the animated masterpiece Princess Mononoke. The natural and pristine ecosystem of Yakushima is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and fans of the fantastical landscapes in Princess Mononoke.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (1)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

3. Spirited Away: Jiufen, Taiwan

Among these locations, the town of Jiufen (also known as Chiufen), Taiwan, is likely the most impressive for many Ghibli animation fans. Not only does the village’s scenery resemble the setting of the “Spirit World” in the film, but it also exudes a mysterious charm that makes you feel like you’re walking in Chihiro’s familiar bathhouse or running through the paths to meet Haku, an ethereal and authentic character.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (2)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

The name of the town is quite special as well. Jiufen (Chiufen) got its name because, in the past, after the village was established, there were only nine families living here. Whenever one of the families went shopping elsewhere, they would share their purchases with the other eight families, as trading outside the village was difficult. Additionally, Jiufen is a culinary paradise, where you can enjoy the famous Taiwanese dishes while admiring the scenic views of the town on the mountainside.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (4)

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (3)

4. My Neighbor Totoro: Sayama Hills, Saitama, Japan

Sayama Hills, known as a lush green paradise located within Tama and Sayama Lakes in northern Tokyo, is often referred to as the “Totoro Forest.” Visiting this area, you may feel as though a Totoro will appear, and you could hop onto the cat bus, venturing into a fairytale world. The region boasts four parks and is an excellent place to admire cherry blossoms, go on picnics, enjoy the scenery, and experience different seasons. You can even visit Kurosuke’s house to take memorable photos with the adorable giant Totoro.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (5)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (6)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (7)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

5. Porco Rosso: Stiniva Cove, Vis Island, Croatia

Although the name “Porco Rosso” originates from Italian (meaning “Red Pig”), the beautiful and secluded cave scenes in the film were inspired by a unique location in Croatia, the Stiniva Cove on Vis Island. Stiniva is a narrow sea cove with an entrance only 4-5 meters wide, accessible only by boat or a challenging hiking path. However, deep inside the cove lies a stunning beach, considered one of the most beautiful stone-free beaches in the world. Here, you’ll encounter majestic cliffs and emerald-green waters reminiscent of the world in Porco Rosso; all that’s missing is a red seaplane flying through the skies.

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (8)

Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life (9)
Fairytale-Like locations from Ghibli in real life 

Each of these real-life locations holds the magic and charm that captivated audiences in Ghibli’s films, making them truly unforgettable.

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