Dogo Onsen is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous hot springs, located to the east of central Matsuyama. … The main attraction in Dogo Onsen is the Dogo Onsen Honkan, a Meiji Period wooden public bathhouse, dating from 1894. The interior of the building is a maze of stairways, passages and rooms, all of which bustle with bathers and staff. It is said to have served as inspiration for Miyazaki’s popular animated film “Spirited Away”.
‘Princess Mononoke’, the Studio Ghibli animation, was inspired by the thick forests of Yakushima. Hayao Miyazaki stayed in Anbo and roamed the forests with his crew before drawing the story board. There are many parts in the film that match Yakushima’s distinct scenery exactly.
Just as art imitates life, so life imitates art and there is now an area called ‘Mononoke’s forest’ on the Kusugawa trail just up from the Shiratani mountain hut which has become a major draw for tourists.
Apparently when the film was first shown, audiences living around the area gasped with surprise and delight that the film were depicting their neighbourhood and one kid even shouted to his mother “Look! That’s our house on the screen!” For a while, there were even tour groups taking people to see the various locations depicted so faithfully in the film.
A map in Seiseki-Sakuragaoka gives visitors a chance to experience all of the real-life spots shown in Whisper of the Heart.
A replica of the Kusakabe residence, a house of the 1950s in which the lead characters of Studio Ghibli’s 1988 animated feature “My Neighbor Totoro” lived, will be built within the woods of the Expo site. It will be constructed using techniques of the early Showa era and will undergo artificial aging. The furnishings will also be made to reflect the movie as faithfully as possible.
Located in Mitaka, just outside of central Tokyo, the museum is a must-see for fans of the films. The museum itself is whimsically designed in the distinct style of the studio’s films, and many of their famous characters are there, including a life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky on the rooftop garden.