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Dogo Onsen Spirited Away.jpg

When you were young, did you daydream about visiting the bathhouse in Spirited Away, or wandering through the forest from Princess Mononoke? Studio Ghibli (スタジオジブリ) is a household name in Japan and has also gained recognition around the world. However, some international Studio Ghibli fans might be surprised to learn that several of the settings in their beloved childhood films are actually real places in Japan! Here’s a list of Studio Ghibli films’ real-life locations that true fans would definitely want to check out.

Spirited Away Bathhouse Exterior

Even those who haven’t seen the international hit Spirited Away are likely to be familiar with the iconic bathhouse where the majority of the film is set. The bathhouse’s exterior was said to be modeled after a few different onsen in Japan, but the most well-known source of inspiration is Dōgo Onsen (道後温泉) in Ehime Prefecture. Some people boast that it is the only onsen that inspired the one in the film, even though Miyazaki himself says there were actually several.

Dōgo Onsen has another claim to fame in Japan – with history dating back over 1000 years, it is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in Japan. The multi-storied main building closely resembles the bathhouse in Spirited Away, but lacks the film’s famous red bridge, which Miyazaki took from a different onsen.

Image/photo: Left (image) – Studio Ghibli: Right (photo) – Gaijinpot Travel

Spirited Away Bathhouse Interior

Fans of Spirited Away likely also remember Kamaji, the old man who operated the boiler room. But the boiler rooms where Kamaji worked wasn’t modeled after an actual boiler room – it was actually inspired by the stationary store Takei Sanshodo (武居三省堂 ) in the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Tokyo. The museum features around 30 reconstructed buildings that have relocated from around Tokyo. Many of these …continue reading