©Photo by Studio Ghibli

Ghibli-Inspired Date Ideas In and Around Tokyo

Unforgettably Cute Itineraries Inspired By Our Favorite Ghibli Couples

Here are eight perfect ways to spend a day for couples, friends or any Ghibli fan looking to try something new around Tokyo.

Ghibli has captured the hearts of viewers, young and old, with beguiling storylines and visuals. The Boy and The Heron’s international acclaim, plus the imminent completion of the Ghibli Park this year, has rekindled a certain Miyazaki-themed magic. In honor of our favorite couples, here are six Ghibli-inspired date ideas in Tokyo.

Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle: Jindaiji Area

Jindai Botanical Garden: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by iStock: Korekore

Recreate Howl and Sophie’s time in their secret garden with a visit to Jindaiji, an area of West Tokyo. Stroll through the Jindai Botanical Gardens and enjoy the feeling of getting lost among the flowers. The park covers over 120 acres of green space, flower beds and water features. Romantic rose ice cream and couple-friendly photo spots make it a fantastic date spot for flower viewing, even when cherry blossoms are out of season.

Jindaiji Watermill Museum© Photo by Wikimedia Commons: User: (WT-shared) Chatnoir at wts wikivoyage

Nearby, couples can say a prayer at Jindaiji Temple. Pick up a love omamori (good luck token) before heading into the traditional craft town area. One of the buildings in this area is the culturally rich Jindaiji Watermill Museum. This museum operates a rustic water wheel just like the one attached to the workshop Howl set up for Sophie.

Kiki and Tombo from Kiki’s Delivery Service: Inokashira Park

Inokashira park: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by iStock: dar_st

Inokashira Park is already well known to Ghibli fans as being home to the Ghibli Museum. If you can escape the excitement around the museum, the fairytale shitamachi (home-towny) vibe of the surrounding area is even more enchanting. Wander into the wooded areas of the park, and you’ll quickly get a view of some fearless crows, just like Ursula’s. Some might call them a nuisance, but we consider it “cinematic immersion.”

Inokashira cycling© Photo by iStock: yamasan

Inokashira is cycle-friendly! Although none of them come with plucky boy mechanics—much less propellers—Hello Cycling provides easy rental bike services from nearby convenience stores. Better yet, recreate the rush of frantic pedaling in a swan boat around the Inokashira Pond. Pretend to race the other guests as you attempt to catch air. (Savvy won’t be liable for any penalties this might incur, however).

Kaze no Sumika© Photo by Kaze no Sumika

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, round out the experience with a visit to Kaze no Sumika, a humble bakery just on the edge of the park. This community bakery offers crusty and snacky bread to suit all tastes.

Note: Swan Boats are newly reopened after renovations as of January 18, 2024

Ashitaka and San from Princess Mononoke: Wolves?

Dog Cafe Grand Mou: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by Dog Cafe Grand Mou

For a step into Ashitaka and San’s wild world, how about a little excursion to the Northeast? Chiba and Northeastern Tokyo provide many opportunities for camping and enjoying the great outdoors. A must-visit place—to get your fill of a rare sight in Japan—resides in this area too. The sight? Big, fluffy dogs! Big Dog Cafe Grand Mou offers all the puppy love you can stand from Saint Bernards, Samoyeds and sheepdogs. Once you’ve enjoyed some well-meaning slobber, leave the wolves behind and head for the hills.

Grand Lodge Field© Photo by Grand Lodge Field

Further into Chiba, Grand Lodge Field is a highly-rated camping ground, perfect for romantic overnight stays with a rustic element. For Tokyo daytrippers, a slow lap around Mizumoto Park and an evening barbeque end the day on a sweet note.

Porco and Gina from Proco Rosso: Swine and Wine in Meguro

Meguro Mipig Cafe: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by Meguro Mipig Cafe

Spend a Porco Rosso-inspired date in the elegant and international Meguro neighborhood. First, make a reservation for Meguro Mipig Cafe, where guests can enjoy a soft drink and playtime with lively miniature porkers. Polite (relatively speaking) and clean, the Mipig Cafe piglets are all in training to go to loving homes and live out their lives as pets.

Rinascimento© Photo by Rinascimento

Seats at Rinascimento are guaranteed to satisfy any true Ginas with a similarly playful but high-class Italian menu. Rinascimento’s most unique menu item is the galaxy of one-bite appetizers that open each course. The 120-bite arrangement consists of Michelin-starred caviar toast, truffle frittata, tiny gourmet hamburgers and more. Savoring each bite and trying to guess your date’s favorite is a couple activity nearly as fun as newlywed trivia…but a lot less stressful, thanks to the wine.

Note: For those concerned about bringing piggy perfume into the restaurant, Rinascimento lunch reservations are equally enjoyable and the Mipig Cafe is open until 8 p.m.

Haku and Chihiro from Spirited Away: Hidden Village Akiruno

Seoto-no-yu© Photo by Seoto-no-yu

At first, we figured sending you to Tochigi to stay for a night in this onsen (hot spring) hotel that looks just like the Spirited Away bathhouse might be a good idea. But instead, we want you to try this one in Akiruno City!

Akigawa Bridge© Photo by iStock: mutarusan

Akiruno, located West of Tokyo towards Tama, is well-known for the Akigawa River and its large pedestrian bridge. The bridge is pretty long, but if you walk really fast, you might just be able to hold your breath the whole way! Akiruno City’s lonely train station, with its stained glass and howling wind, even reminds us of Chichiro’s first steps in the film. Families enjoy the river throughout summer when sweet ayu fish are plentiful. However, taking a sawdust bath at one of the local facilities is a pretty good alternative to risking a lost shoe (we can’t guarantee a dragon will get it back for you).

Scai the Bathhouse© Photo by Scai the Bathhouse

For those who would prefer to stay in the city, Scai the Bathhouse is a free art gallery that invites artists from around the world to display their work in a renovated bathhouse. Scai is located near Yanaka Ginza, an old-fashioned shopping street known for its cat-theming. In particular, one shop is well known for its shippo (tail) cakes! It’s not a newt on a stick, but at least here, saying, “Just gimme the tail!” actually gets you something tasty.

Ponyo and Sousuke from Ponyo: Goldfish Love Ham!

Art Aquarium Museum: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by Art Aquarium Museum

The Ginza neighborhood is easily accessible from most parts of Tokyo, making this date idea an easy choice for couples on a tight schedule. The Art Aquarium Museum features tanks of domestic goldfish in a Japanese-inspired, darkened environment. Although unrelated, fans of TeamLab’s immersive experiences will particularly appreciate walking through the uniquely shaped, illuminated tanks. Throughout the aquarium, dazzling colors and creative displays recreate the photo-friendly atmosphere of Borderless and Planets.

Ramen Takahashi© Photo by Ramen Takahashi

Nearby, 90-year-old Choushi-ya is the perfect spot for a light Ponyo-inspired snack. Feed a love of ham with their beloved ham-katsu sandwich, made with special house sauce and pillowy white bread. For something more substantial, Ramen Takahashi’s salt ramen looks impressively similar to Ponyo and Sosuke’s rainy-day bowls.

Sheeta and Pazu from Laputa: Blue Skies

Sarushima Island: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by iStock: miwa_in_oz

Sarushima, an island in Tokyo Bay, is a couple of short hours from central Tokyo but offers a whole day’s worth of adventure. Although it’s named for some legendary monkies, there aren’t any on the island to be wary of, nor are there any giant golems that might carry you off.

Sarushima© Photo by iStock: Ryosei Watanabe

The island, a former military stronghold, has its strategic position to thank for the moss-covered war-time architecture that draws visitors year after year. On a foggy morning, you may just get lucky enough to see views of Sarushima that look just like the island from Castle in the Sky as you head over on the 10-minute ferry trip from shore.

Paraglider© Photo by iStock: milorad kravic

On the same peninsula, Miura Paragliding School offers a chance to recapture the enchantment of Sheeta and Pazu’s airborne adventures. The activity is designed for newcomers and everything you need to paraglide safely is provided by the school.

Shou and Arrietty from The Secret World of Arietty: Pretty Little Things

Small Worlds Museum: Ghibli-Inspired Date© Photo by Small Worlds Museum

Experience the worlds of the film from both Shou’s and Arrietty’s points of view. On one hand, you can view everything from a giant’s eye view and take some cool pictures at the Small Worlds Museum, located near the Ariake Garden complex. 

Itochu Children's Perspective Cafe© Photo by Itochu Children’s Perspective Cafe

On the other, experience what it’s like to live a life where everything is over-sized! Designed to give adults insight into what life is like from the eyes of a child, the Itochu Children’s Perspective Cafe is offered with Japan’s sustainable development goals in mind, so participation as a couple is, well, a bit on the nose. But still a good bonding activity!

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House© Photo by Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

If you aren’t ready to think about kids yet, visit the much more relaxing and elegant Aoyama Flower Market Tea House. There are three locations around Tokyo, but all of them give diners the feeling of having been shrunk down and lovingly placed into a flower garden to enjoy a nice tea.

Which Ghibli-inspired date do you want to take your loved one on? Let us know in the comments!

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