Discover the Places that Inspired Hayao Miyazaki's Films With this Ghibli Virtual Tour
Hayao Miyazaki fans, we’ve found the perfect virtual tour for you. Japan Wonder Travel’s Ghibli Spots in Japan tour takes you to various locations all over Japan that served as inspiration for the scenes in films like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
This tour is unique in that it most likely wouldn’t be available as a physical tour—the places shown are scattered throughout the country, from Hokkaido in the north to Yaku Island in the south. Travel to local destinations outside of the main island of Honshu is even more costly than flying from Japan to Korea, so it’s unlikely that travel agencies would bundle these attractions into a single trip.
The tour guide, Yosshi, is absolutely passionate about all things Ghibli and shares all kinds of trivia while taking attendees around using Google Earth. She also shares photos and videos she took during her pilgrimages to famous sites like Edo Open Air Museum and Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine. The tour is a pretty interactive experience—there are polls and quizzes, and attendees are asked to chime in from time to time.
No need to worry if you haven’t seen all of Studio Ghibli’s films—Yosshi will ask which movies you’ve seen so she can avoid giving away spoilers. And honestly, after the tour you’ll probably feel liking binging all of the featured films on Netflix anyway.
One of the best things about this tour is that it features attractions that are off the beaten track—the only commonly known destination mentioned is Ghibli Museum. So if you’ve already been to the most popular tourist spots in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, this tour shows you new places to visit when travel to Japan is possible again. After the tour, Yosshi sends a list of her favorite Ghibli-themed restaurants and cafes, along with all the destinations covered so that you can easily plan your future trip.
Yosshi came up with the idea for the Ghibli Spots in Japan tour as a response to the travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic. “I was new as a guide in Tokyo, and I needed to create an online tour in the case of COVID-19. Tokyo highlights are something you can see on Youtube but I wanted to introduce minor, lesser known islands in Japan," she explains. "And if you’re only in Japan for five days, you can’t really visit Yaku island or Shodo island.”
She adds that ordinarily, tourists might not be very interested in visiting these islands, but if you tell them that it’s the setting for a Ghibli film, fans will be excited to go there. Her goal is to show there’s much more to see in Japan other than Tokyo and Kyoto and to encourage people to add beautiful countryside destinations to their itinerary.
All in all, the Ghibli Spots in Japan tour is a great way to forget about all your cares and spend an hour in the wonderful world of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. For bookings, you can visit Airbnb, Viator or Japan Wonder Travel’s website.
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