While Disneyland and Universal Studios up the ante with the block-busting Star Wars, TRON, and Nintendo-themed attractions due to come out in the next few years, animation zen master Hayao Miyazaki is taking the opposite approach to family fun by developing a nature-centric children's retreat.
According to reports from Kyodo News, the project is slated for completion in 2018, taking advantage of a virgin forest on Kume Island, about 55 miles from Okinawa, Japan. Kids will stay in a small, two-story structure designed for about 30 people at a time. Like the protagonists Mei and Satsuki from My Neighbor Totoro, kids will get to experience firsthand the raw connection with nature that Miyazaki expertly embeds into so many of his films.
The Oscar-winning director apparently came up with the idea in the wake of Fukushima, and will donate the nearly $2.5 million, 33,000 ft2 project to Kume Island. For an allegedly retired animation legend, Miyazaki sure is keeping busy. The retreat's 2018 launch coincides nicely with the release of his first 3D animated short, Boro the Caterpillar, which will screen exclusively at the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. Now all we need is a real version of the Studio Ghibli Theme Park and we'll be complete.
Reminisce in Miyazaki's lavish depictions of nature in our previous coverage of the animator and the work he inspired below: