Ghibli Park in Nagakute, Japan.
Franck Robichon—EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Nagoya has long been a pit stop on bullet trains between Tokyo and Kyoto as travelers bypass the country’s industrial hub, a contradictory landscape of factories and forest that includes Suntory’s shoreline Chita distillery, famed for its prized whiskey, and the much anticipated Ghibli Park, a homegrown theme park celebrating the films of legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki.

It’s a big year for Japanese theme parks, but Ghibli Park’s immersive attractions, which bring to life hit anime movies like Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle, also immerse visitors in nature. (Miyazaki insisted no trees were harmed in the park’s construction.)

To experience Nagoya in all its natural bounty–the cherry blossoms flower in April–overnight guests have two new options. The Tower Hotel Nagoya, in the landmark 1954 Nagoya Television Tower, is the world’s first hotel inside a TV tower and overlooks the city’s new central park, Hisaya Odori Park, surrounded by trendy fashion boutiques and old school whiskey bars, like the superlative bourbon specialist Bar Anki. If you’re after a more traditional experience, the new riverside Hotel Indigo Inuyama Urakuen Garden, which opened on the northern edge of the city last November, combines a familiar brand with traditional Japanese luxuries including a hot spring bathhouse. Only 20 minutes from the city center, the hotel’s balcony views peer into the mountains, no whiff of whiskey nor anime characters in sight.

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