Remembering the Journey
Exploring the world of “Spirited Away”

On wondertrunk & co.’s official Facebook page, we’re sharing our staff’s picks for movies, books, and songs that have inspired us to get out there and explore the world. As international travel remains on hold for the time being, now is the perfect time to reminisce and revisit some of our favorite moments from previous travels!
Today, one of our staff will tell us about his trip to the real-life setting of a beloved, animated film.

Films That Inspire Us : “Spirited Away” by Studio Ghibli, 2001

Hi everyone! I’m Tomo, from wondertrunk & co..
Taiwan’s Jiufen is said to be the visual inspiration for the fantastical town that appears in Studio Ghibli’s animated masterpiece, “Spirited Away. Although I’ve had many opportunities to visit Taiwan on business, I’ve rarely done any sightseeing there. But during a private visit during the New Year’s holiday in 2020, I was finally able to visit Jiufen, a place I’ve always wanted to see in person.

Although it’s an animated film, the setting of “Spirited Away”, with its fantastic buildings and vivid colors, feels real and exciting, as if we are being pulled into a mysterious world. After watching the film, I had always wanted to visit this Jiufen when I went to Taiwan, and I finally made it happen last New Year’s.

One of my fondest memories of my time in Jiufen was actually eating the famous Taiwanese snack “meatballs”, the squishy and delicious-looking food that appears in “Spirited Away”.

In addition to “Spirited Away”, the setting for many of director Hayao Miyazaki’s films are based on fascinating, real-life locations. One of my favorite of his films, “Porco Rosso”, is set on a small island in the Adriatic Sea near Croatia. The beautiful Mediterranean sea, small island hideaways, delicious foods – even in the film’s animated world, the charming setting may be more than enough to inspire viewers to book an actual trip! Perhaps even more than live-action films, animation has the power to spark the imagination.

Curiosity is the driving force behind travel. And the spark that drives curiosity is “imagination”.
In a modern world where the immediate and direct exchange of information online has become the norm, it is good that the realm of animation continues to  be a source of both imagination and curiosity.

Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away, 2001, Studio Ghibli