Hayao Miyazaki's nature park for children set to open in 2017
Japanese icon Hayao Miyazaki may be done making movies, but the world-famous animator has a new passion project that's already in development. With 300 million yen (2.5 million dollars) of his own money, Miyazaki is opening a 10,000-acre nature park for children, a place where kids can go play, read and sleep to their heart's content.
This project, masterminded by Miyazaki himself, who is also widely known as a conservationist, is called "The Forest Where the Wind Returns." The park, which will be on the island of Kume in Okinawa, will not have any man-made equipment or attractions. Instead, kids who come here will be running and jumping around the landscape, which will be arranged and designed to work as a giant natural playground. As if that wasn't fun enough, the park will house a library and a sleeping quarters, where up to 30 kids can spend the night. Local kids and kids from Fukushima will be the first ones invited to stay over.
With technology literally changing the way children grow up and develop, a park like this is a much-needed sanctuary of sorts, a place where kids can breathe clean air and run free amongst the trees, away from the phone and computer screens that dominate their world. Hayao Miyazaki's 300 million yen donation to the Okinawan island of Kume is a gift from him to the children of Japan.
"The Forest Where the Wind Returns" is expected to open in 2017.
Kume Island, known in Japan as Kumejima:
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