The real places you can actually visit, featured in Miyazaki’s movies

Posted by

Hayao Miyazaki, the Never-ending Man (as narrated by the documentary about him of 2016), never ceases to amaze. The great Japanese filmmaker has been saying for over twenty years that he will stop working when his last film will be completed. Now for the umpteenth time the master is preparing his “last” movie: Kimitachi wa Dou ikiru ka, which translates more or less into How do you live?, inspired by the homonymous book published by Genzaburō Yoshinon in 1937. It tells the story of Koperu, a young highschool boy who’s looking for himself in the pre-war Japan. The movie won’t be ready before 2020.

While waiting, it’s pleasant to rediscover the places that have served as inspiration to Miyazaki’s animes, the locations redesigned by Studio Ghibli. Anecdote for the most curious ones: “Ghibli” is a name of Italian origin, used during the Second World War by Italian pilots in North Africa to designate a warm wind of the Sahara desert. Hayao Miyazaki, always fond of the old aircrafts, decided to use it as a name for his studio, with the goal of raising a “warm wind” in the world of Japanese and international animation.

Here the real places where the films of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are set. To be considered as tourist destinations, if you are a fan of the master of Japanese anime.

Porco Rosso – The beach of Stiniva Cove


Located on Vis island in Croatia, near the Shimoda Park, this small cove enclosed between two high cliffs is the hideout of our hero with pork head.

Princess Mononoke – The Yakushima forest


Yakushima, a sub-tropical island which is UNESCO heritage since 1993, is rich in cryptomeria and rhododendron plants. The route that leads to Jômon Sugi gives the impression of travelling through the forest of Princess Mononoke.

Ponyo – The town of Tomonoura


Little Sosuke lives in a town inspired by Tomonoura, located in the Setanoiakai National Park. Walking in the city we feel immersed in Ponyo. The houses, the boats, the harbor, the view of the high mountains invite you to wonder if maybe you come across the magic fish.

Howl’s Moving Castle – The city of Colmar


This beautiful city is located in France, but given the proximity to Germany has many German characteristics in its architecture. The result is a perfect combination and a landscape to admire. And that’s where Sophie lives.

Howl’s Moving Castle – The Hofburg Palace in Vienna


The mansion of the mighty Suliman arrives directly from the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Home of the mighty Habsbourg dynasty, in this splendid palace you can still hear the echo of the laughter of the Austrian court and Sissi the empress. Like Haurau and Sophie, you can lose yourself in its long corridors.

My Neighbor Totoro – The forest of the Hills Sayama


The forest that inspired the master is located in Tokorozawa (Saitama), near his home. It’s in this forest that Mei and Satsuki meet Totoro. A place of unspoiled nature wedged between the lakes Tama and Sayama, it comprises four dense parks of trees, creatures and unique and suggestive panoramas.

Kiki’s Delivery Service – The location of Visby in Sweden


The enchanting city Koriko in Kiki’s Delivery Service is set in Northern Europe. Elements taken and merged both from the island of Gotland, where Visby is the old town, and from the clock tower square in Stockholm, make these cartoons among the most detailed and magical one produced by the Great master.

The Wind Rises – The Imperial Hotel of Kamikochi


The film set in the traditional Japan of the 20s-30s counts many real places, easy to recognize. Among these, the beautiful Imperial hotel: The facade, the roof and the terrace of this prestigious hotel is practically the same as the one represented in the film.

Castle in the Sky – Civita di Bagnoregio


Miyazaki was inspired by several places to describe Laputa, the fictional island depicted on Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift: a mix between the Paronella Park in Australia and the impressive village of Civita di Bagnoregio, all immersed in a magical forest, seems to enclose the secrets of Sheetah.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.