Yongsan’s AniLand (애니랜드), located in Yongsan Station in Seoul, is a mini mall that hosts a number of stores related to hobbies for those that are fans of Japanese animation. Inside you can find figurines based on your favourite Japanese anime, as well as a large store famous for the insane amount of Gundam and other mecha models you can purchase to build yourself. Last weekend I made a trip to the area to visit a newly opened store – Acorn Forest!
I have been a fan of Studio Ghibli since around 9 years old when I watched my first Hayao Miyazaki movie, Princess Mononoke. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, and despite feeling slightly frightened by the mature themes, I couldn’t help but feel attracted to the magical world and characters brought to life by Miyazaki. To this day it remains my favourite Ghibli movie, and since then I have had the pleasure to watch a large portion of their works, enjoying each of them immensely.
Since moving to Asia I make sure to take every opportunity I can to visit anything Studio Ghibli related! I’ve yet to visit the museum itself in Japan, but have made plans to do so one day.
The store is at the very end of the mini mall, passing the miniature modelling section and the Gundam Base.
At the entrance of the store is a giant cutout of the famous cat bus from My Neighbor Totoro. I hear that in November they will be bringing a “real” cat bus model into the store that you can sit in and take pictures with!
I had finished this post over a week ago but upon finding out they were going to put up a giant stuffed Totoro last Wednesday, decided to wait until I could go again to get pictures of it! He was standing on the top he uses to fly in the movie – totally worth the wait (´∀｀)♡
Inside the store is a small hollow tree you can walk through, decorated with small stuffed Totoro. No Face from Spirited Away was also in this tree, but he was taken down before I could get a picture of him ㅠㅠ
At the end of the tree was a small bench where you could watch parts of the Totoro movie!
The store carries objects from every Studio Ghibli movie you could imagine! The most popular items were definitely the Totoro stuffed toys, which came in all shapes, sizes, and colours.
They also had stuffed toys featuring My Neighbor Totoro’s May dressed in various outfits – too cute ㅠ
Merchandise tended to range on the pricey side, as can be seen with this 6800 KRW key chain that was very tiny, but everything is high quality and extremely hard to resist despite this.
Merchandise ranges from standard objects like stuffed toys, key chains, and stationary, but the store also carries numerous unique items like lunchboxes, frying pans, and business card holders.
They also had small finger puppets of EVERY character imaginable – not just the main ones!
Spirited Away’s “No Face” is one of my favourite Miyazaki characters of all time!
At the right end of the forest they have a set-up dedicated solely to Kiki’s Delivery Service, which is styled like the bakery from the movie.
Upstairs you can find a little corner made up like Kiki’s bedroom! At the time it had been decorated with Halloween-themed streamers which was a cute touch.
Much like the Totoro themed area, in Kiki’s bedroom they had a few places to sit with a projector showing scenes from the movie in Japanese.
Overall I definitely recommend the store for fans of Studio Ghibli, as there is so much to see and long-term fans like me will get the full nostalgic experience from the way everything is set up!
More information, such as how to get there, events, and merchandise listings can be found on the website here (in Korean).
Recently I also visited the Studio Ghibli exhibition in Busan which runs until November 29th.
I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside but can say it is VERY worth checking out, with original sketches and insanely detailed models of various parts of Studio Ghibli movies. More information about can be found here (in Korean).
The night that I went, the exhibition was also holding a screening of My Neighbor Totoro in Korean on a large screen outside!
It had been years since I watched a movie outdoors, and despite watching it dubbed in Korean instead of the original Japanese, the experience was overall very touching and a great way to end my Ghibli experience!
I hope this post was enjoyable and helpful to at least some 🙂 Studio Ghibli has been very dear to me since I was very young, so I really enjoyed visiting all of these places over the past two months! Until next time~ (｡･ω･｡)ﾉ♡