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Ghibli Hills

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The Glen, by Maxfield Parrish

"They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England: they say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world."
Charles, As You Like It

Often paired with Adventure Towns, this area consists of the entire relatively pristine wilderness outside of The City. Urban sprawl is not much of an issue, especially if you just start building your cities up (or underground). An hour's drive from your house can take you to a place that's virtually a national park.

It's a hiker's dream and a Nature Hero's home. This might be a result of historically good city planning, although a story taking place After the End might imply a disaster hit the place and it's just regrown after humans vacated. If humans do live there, but it is still idyllic, it is Arcadia — which, indeed, often lies by the Ghibli Hills.

Of course, despite its soothing grass, great blue skies, and small animals, Ghibli Hills is still a lawless wilderness, crawling with dangerous monsters, highwaymen, wild magic and adventure. It is a popular home for people who need to live beyond the reach of unjust officials, bought judges, and corrupt law enforcers in the city. In older works, written in times when most people lived in the countryside and so were less moved by the greenery, this freedom from injustice was its main allure, where it may chiefly contrast with the Decadent Court.

In video games, it often overlaps with Green Hill Zone as the first step on a hero's journey and as such is bound to contrast with its various final destinations. See also The Lost Woods, although those are visibly more dangerous and thus usually traversed later on.

In most anime, especially with ones trying to deliver a message, this speaks to the nostalgia of many older directors for the traditional Japanese countryside that largely no longer exists because of urbanization. One historical western equivalent is Merry England for historical settings. Other times the pristineness is explained by alternate history, particularly the avoidance of major conflict or wars which lets people concentrate on improving themselves.

Named for the lush, friendly settings of Studio Ghibli films. Which largely stems from the fact that Mitaka and Musashino, Tokyo's affluent residential suburbs where the studio itself is headquartered, note  generally have exactly that kind of scenery.

Sometimes overlaps with Scenery Porn. Compare to Wild Wilderness if it's a modern setting set in large wilderness areas like the North Western United States or Black Forest area of Germany.

This trope's Shadowland would be Mordor or a Polluted Wasteland... or perhaps a City Planet.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Witch Hat Atelier's art style and world-building is literally just composed entirely out of Ghibli Hills. Awesome Art is an understatement when it comes to this manga, as the panel art blends the Ghibli Hills into Scenery Porn on another level. There is a saying that reading Witch Hat Atelier is akin to reading a Studio Ghibli film. They are not exaggerating.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Like most anime with RPG roots, the series' universe has a literal overworld, with the characters heading through Ghibli Hills frequently. The show's cities and towns are separated from each other by miles and miles of lush, pristine wilderness, with rolling meadows, dense forests, and rugged mountains with a day or two's walk of even the busiest, most built-up cities, seemingly crossed only by occasional dirt paths. This is particularly evident in the series' movies, where a greater animation budget allow the lush natural landscapes to be rendered in particular detail. Of course, all this wilderness is also home to all sorts of Pokémon, meaning that potentially large and dangerous creatures can be found roaming around quite close to major settlements.
  • Sailor Moon: The future seems to be a bright city surrounded by nothing but green.
  • The anime adaptation of Kino's Journey has some lovely scenery between cities.
  • Used more darkly in Pom Poko. The tanuki (raccoons in the English dub) start out living happily in the Tama Hills west of Tokyo until the city starts encroaching on their territory. Soon the tanuki are forced to use their legendary powers of illusion in an increasingly desperate struggle to protect their forests, even going so far as to reveal their fantastical existence in a final plea for the environment. In the end the defeated tanuki combine their powers for one last nostalgic illusion depicting their forests as they once were to show the humans what had been lost. Ironically, the next Studio Ghibli film, Whisper of the Heart is set in the very same Tama New Town suburb created by this development.
  • In Ranma ˝, anywhere in Japan that isn't Nerima is presented as Ghibli-esque landscape (until Ranma and co. finish trashing it, that is).
  • It seems that all of Japan is scenic mountains and valleys in Mushishi, which seems to draw other influences from Miyazaki as well. This is largely justified, as it is set in the past, much of Japan IS mountains, and mushi live in all sorts of locations.
  • In One Piece, Luffy's hometown of Dawn Island has Ghibli Hills between Windmill Village and the depressingly disgusting garbage city Grey Terminal, which itself lies just outside the nobles' city. It's here that the mountain bandits thrive and Luffy spends most of his time with Ace and Sabo.
  • Attack on Titan makes full use of this trope, contrasting the crowded streets of the human cities and villages with beautiful expanses of pristine grasslands and forests. The lands glimpsed beyond the Walls are stunningly beautiful, having remained untouched for the better part of the last century.....because much of humanity got Eaten Alive by the Titans. Without humanity around, nature has fully reclaimed the world and Scenery Porn is frequently used to illustrate just why Eren and Armin believe The World Is Just Awesome.
    • This one is an extremely hostile version of this trope, as the Titans are photosynthetic and unaging, meaning that there's still thousands of them waiting to devour anyone who sets foot outside the walls. The areas inside Wall Maria also contain the ruins of small, photogenic towns.
  • Non Non Biyori seems to relish in this. The girls' daily adventures take them through mountains, lush meadows, picturesque paddy fields, babbling brooks and rivers, and rustling forests. Heck, even their schoolhouse has views to die for in every direction!
  • Happy Happy Clover is mostly set in this style with its beautiful forest design and colors. This is especially notable in the anime.
  • Hotarubi no Mori e uses such woods as its principal setting, with all the spirits, monsters, mysteries, and romance that implies.
  • ∀ Gundam is sometimes called "Ghibli Gundam" because much of it takes place on an Earth that has recovered from an apocalypse in the distant past and is only now returning to industrialization. Most of the scenery includes rolling hills, mountains, golden fields, and rivers. In one scene, a farmer yells at the pilots for trampling her fields. Although most of the dangers come from human battles, Loran nearly runs afoul of wild coyotes in the first episode and is taken unawares by the natural currents of an Earth river a few minutes later.
  • Assassination Classroom: In contrast to the urbanized surroundings of the main building, the mountain where the Class 3-E building is located is an isolated outdoor paradise filled with all sorts of wildlife.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cartoon Saloon's Irish Folklore Trilogy movies all feature this to some degree (and the studio's filmmakers have mentioned being influenced by Ghibli's works):
    • The Secret of Kells: Brendan's first visit to the forest outside the abbey definitely counts. Though it briefly becomes dangerous when he's attacked by a pack of wolves, the mood lightens again after he meets Aisling and they explore the woods together.
    • Song of the Sea mainly focuses on the sea, but after Ben and Saoirse escape from the city to get back to their home at the lighthouse, there are several scenes that focus on the beauty of the Irish countryside as they wander through it.
    • Wolfwalkers puts particular emphasis on the differences between the town of Kilkenny and the forest outside of it, showing the forest as a wild, beautiful place that represents freedom in contrast to how strict and rigidly controlled life is in the town.
  • Frozen's kingdom of Arendelle is a small town and some pastoral farmland situated on a stunningly gorgeous fjord and surrounded by lush green (or white, when buried under snow) mountain woods.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Melanesian village in The Thin Red Line. The hills where the first battle takes place would qualify as well if they weren't a battlefield.
  • Some of the non-zombie scenes in 28 Days Later feature nice greenery, flowers/hallucinogenic visions, and horses running about in the wild. Even the ruins of Manchester are photogenic.
  • Naboo in Star Wars Episodes I and II has huge tracts of forest, swamp and grassland. Only one major city (Theed) is ever seen on-screen. (Well, there's the Gungan City of Otoh Gunga, but since it's underwater it doesn't make an impact on the scenery.) The climactic battle between the Droid Army and the Gungans takes place on the grassy plain outside Theed.


  • The lushly-described hills of Andelain in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are brimming with beauty and niceness. They are not entirely safe from monsters, just enough to give a real nasty surprise when monsters do appear.
  • Almost everywhere in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but especially Rhovanion/Wilderland/"The Wild", which as the name suggests lacks much organised government. The appendices explain this is because it was depopulated by plagues and wars.
  • The Hundred Acre Wood in the Winnie the Pooh books is a beautiful, extensive stretch of unspoiled woodlands and fields home to Funny Animals, as well as Heffalumps, Woozles, and other such fairly nonthreatening monsters.
  • Lovingly described in Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men. In this, they're actual hills.
  • In the works of Arthur Machen, nature is home to dark secrets and hidden horrors, such as the Little People and the Great God Pan.
  • Gene Stratton-Porter wrote several books set in the Limberlost Swamp, near where she grew up. The Song of the Cardinal opens with exalting descriptions of the Limberlost's lushness and fertility with its birds, flowers, berries for the birds to eat, and beasts. Freckles also features it, less centrally, once Freckles gets through Face Your Fears, and A Girl of the Limberlost. It does, however, feature poisonous snakes that can be quite dangerous.
  • In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, her home.
    When I had reached my eighteenth Year, I was recalled by my Parents to my paternal roof in Wales. Our mansion was situated in one of the most romantic parts of the Vale of Uske.
  • In the fourteenth-century work "The Outlaw's Song", he praises the forest because he can live there outside the reach of falsehood and injustice.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Eden is on a hilltop, surrounded by this.
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, Troy finds living in the Wild, even on limited supplies, a wonderful time.
  • Villains by Necessity: Natodik is made up of these, surrounding Mizzamir's shining white tower carved from diamond. The land used to be a harsh desert, but Mizzamir's magic transformed it into an idyllic paradise overflowing with greenery and life. To the villains, having to journey here is the equivalent of walking through Mordor.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Footage originally shot for the first pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series, and recycled in the two-part episode "The Menagerie", suggests that many of Trek-era Earth's cities are surrounded by 50-mile-wide parkland zones. They later went with this idea in Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent series. Given fast, cheap, scalable air transport (not to mention teleportation for more urgent trips), the presumption is that suburbs disappeared.
  • Portland, OR seems to be like this on Grimm. More or less Truth in Television, monsters aside.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin's backyard in Calvin and Hobbes is a gigantic pristine forest. This serves as a backdrop for wagon strips, sledding strips, snow sculpture strips, and many strips simply have Calvin and Hobbes carrying a conversation while going for a walk through the forest.

  • Microsoft Windows: Bliss the famous default wallpaper on Windows XP, depicts lush, grass-covered hills with a clear blue sky. Before he sold it to Microsoft, the original photographer even named the picture "Bucolic Green Hills."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In D&D cosmology, the Outer Plane of the Beastlands, on the Neutral Good/Chaotic Good border, is an endless, idyllic forest that embodies many of the better sides of untamed nature. It's paradise for good-aligned Nature Heroes, intelligent animals, and demihumans.
    • Another good example is Shurrock, one side of the two-sided Lawful Good/Neutral Good plane of Bytopia (contrasting its twin Dorthion).
  • A lot of lands that generate green mana in Magic: The Gathering have a Ghibli Hills feel to them.
  • Wanderhome cites Hayao Miyazaki as an influence of the world of Hæth, and both the setting descriptions and illustrations depict Hæth's rolling, colorful valleys and brightly blue skies.

  • In Shakespeare's As You Like It, the exiled duke, and later his daughter and niece, take refuge in the Forest of Arden. In fact, by the end of the play, so many people have taken refuge in the Forest of Arden that the usurping duke sets out to take it by force. (He doesn't get far.) Despite the population explosion, the forest proper remains a Ghibli Hills, pristine except for Orlando's carvings of love on the trees... It has more than a touch of Arcadia about it, as witness that the daughter is able to buy out a man's flocks of sheep.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: The Valley of Avalar is a beautiful, secluded land of lush green meadows dotted with groves of trees and fields of colorful flowers and crossed by a rushing whitewater river, all just outside the cheetahs' village.
  • Ōkami: As Amaterasu purifies Nippon of the evil influence corrupting it, the areas erupt in flowers and trees to form pristine, gorgeous landscapes.
  • Terra Nil: After a successful session, the broken, sterile waste that the game starts as is turned into a lush patchwork of grasslands, flowered fields, wetlands and forests.
  • Fez is pretty much this trope in game form.
  • DungeonSiege's original campaign starts in the Upper Farmlands of Doomed Hometown/Stonebridge, and the Utraean Peninsula multiplayer campaign in the similar town of Elddim.
    • In the expansion pack, this terrain only appears late in the campaign, in a land left battered by magical warfare. The damage still shows in the form of cultists, omnipresent rain and lightning, and oddly colored skies.
  • Final Fantasy XI has the forest of Ronfaure as San d'Oria's easiest outside area. However, it also has the barren wasteland of Gustaberg and the savanna of Sarutabaruta for Bastok and Windurst, respectively. As San d'Oria is in some ways the most typical RPG setting, the Ronfaure = Ghibli Hills scenario still works.
  • Final Fantasy XII features Tchita Uplands and Cerobi Steppe, which are relatively untamed despite being just outside the bustling imperial capital of Archades and the port of Balfonheim, and also full of relatively high-level monsters.
  • Justified in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, where humans are literally incapable of developing outside of a set boundary due to miasma.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind both plays it straight and subverts it in different areas. To note:
      • Vvardenfell has large tracts of unspoiled wilderness between cities and towns, much of which is quite beautiful. However, because Vvardenfell is a sparsely populated island that only opened to outside settlement a few decades before the start of the game, many of these areas are still wild, untamed, and dangerous.
      • Vvardenfell also has other less-pleasant but still unspoiled (by settlement) areas, such as the ashstorm-blasted Ashland deserts and the lava scathes of Molag Amur. Several characters in these place still mention them as being beautiful in their own ways.
    • Oblivion:
      • Cyrodiil has large tracks of unspoiled wilderness, veering closer to Arcadia thanks to the Imperial Legion patrols who keep it (mostly) safe for travelers.
      • Inverted in Paradise, a pocket realm of Oblivion where followers of the Mythic Dawn go to when they die. While it looks like something from Ghibli Hills, it's anything but.
    • Skyrim:
      • Falkreath hold is a more classic example. There are only two settlements in the entire hold (Falkreath itself and the ruined village of Helgen), the land is sprawling with forests and animals, and the main industry seems to be logging.
      • Whiterun. The surrounding country side is tundra, but it's grassy and snow-free. The people in the city itself are mostly pleasant, as is the Jarl, and even the guards after you complete a few quests, so the place feels like Arcadia. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the name of the city's resident alchemy merchant.
  • World of Warcraft
    • Mulgore and Nagrand sure fit (although Nagrand is considerably weirder than most examples of this trope).
    • The Emerald Dream is the physical representation of what the entire world would have been like had the sentient races never existed.
    • Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills, Borean Tundra and Sholazar Basin in Northrend could also fit. The two former and two latter adjacent zones are on either side of the continent and have been left mostly untouched, separated by Icecrown to the north and Dragonblight in the south.
    • The Dragonshrine areas of the Dragonblight are special cases. They are small pockets of areas sacred to the different Dragonflights and under their protection from the wasteland that covers most of the Dragonblight.
      • The Emerald Dragonshrine is protected by Alystros and Ysera of the Green Dragonflight and remains a pristine Eden-like garden.
      • The Ruby Dragonshrine was under the protection of Dahlia Suntouch. Her murder has left the Ruby Dragonshire open to assault by the Scourge, although it is still strongly defended by the Ruby Dragonflight and still retains much of its sylvan environment.
      • The Bronze Dragonshrine is under serious assault by the Infinite Dragonflight. It's uncertain if the desert-like environment is its natural state or a result of the constant attacks.
      • The Obsidian Dragonshrine is a charred and smouldering cave, which is probably just fine with the Black Dragonflight, although it has been invaded by members of the Cult of the Damned who are using it as a base for raising undead dragons.
      • The Azure Dragonshrine has been entirely corrupted repurposed by Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight and used as a focus for Malygos' plans to siphon the magic from Azeroth.
    • Many zones in Pandaria could qualify for this such as Jade Forest or Valley of the Four Winds.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured expansive rural and unpopulated areas in stark contrast to the series' dense urban mainstay (though it has that too).
  • This turns out to be the true form of the Midnight Channel in Persona 4.
  • The Fable games have landscapes like this in between cities, except in places that are near places of evil, such as Wraithmarsh and Darkwood.
  • The First Town in The Witcher is a subversion of this. The village of Murky Waters appears later than halfway through the game. Though ominously named, it's the most peaceful place in the game, filled with beautiful rolling hills, pleasant people who actually respect and appreciate witchers, and light, optional action. Of course, like everywhere else, Geralt leaves it in ruins.
  • Most outdoor areas in Bound by Blades is set amidst serene hills, rivers, and beautiful natural scenery, allowing you a break exploring for resources in-between fighting monsters.
  • Backyard Football 2006 has a forest stage, uninhabited by humans, that is right next to the city.
  • Pokémon, quite frequently. Consider, for example, the Ilex Forest which is just a stone's throw from the metropolis Goldenrod City.
  • Gensokyo, the setting of Touhou, is this.
  • The popular MMORPG Mabinogi. Every. Single. Place. In. The. World. It's a shame, even, that some of the more well-designed areas serve little purpose, some fans wander them just to see what's there.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic deserves a medal for this. Fan favourite seems to be Alderaan, but even Tatooine's endless sand dunes and Corellia's ruined cityscape have this feel to them.
  • Ni no Kuni also features this - and given the fact that Studio Ghibli helped with the designs, it stands to reason.
  • Numerous games from the Tales Series feature this trope as well In Tales of Graces practically the whole Kingdom of Windor consists of Ghibli Hills, with only a few sizeable settlements and cities interrupting this perfect idyll.
  • The main setting of The Night of the Rabbit, Mousewood, is a version of this populated by Funny Animals.
  • Jet Force Gemini has a planet-wide example with Rith Essa. The game's instruction manual explains in detail how lush and beautiful the scenery on this planet is.
  • Pikmin has very peaceful and beautiful outdoor levels, complete with very calm music.
  • The EarthBound (1994) ROM Hack Unearthed seems to take place in a more rural setting than the game it's based on, at least when it's not taking place underground. There's still modern houses and roads and such, but generally there's much more focus on natural forests, and Mitch himself seems to live on a farm, or at least near a place where cultivating fruits and vegetables are common.
  • Scrap Mechanic offers an unusual variation: the game's setting is a green, forested, hilly Single-Biome Planet with a pristine environment... which is actually a major agricultural center staffed by high-tech robots (who have, of course, staged an uprising) and strewn with vehicles and facilities which can be disassembled for spare parts by the Player Characters.
  • Red Dead Redemption features a large forest in the game's final territory. While random encounters can happen there, the area is mostly meant for hunting, as the game's most valuable and dangerous animals spawn only in this area. It's located within a few minutes of horse riding from Blackwater, the most advanced town in the game. (The game takes place from 1911 and 1914)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is essentially "Ghibli Hills: The Game," especially in the Great Plateau, West and East Necluda and Akkala regions.
  • Minetest's various map generators can create beautiful landscapes (and their opposite), especially when certain plant or world mods are in play, and there are many, many screenshots with this kind of Scenery Porn on the official forum. On public servers (or in local worlds if you're busy enough), you may have entire cities directly adjacent.
  • Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy: Hoogland is a breezy hilly locale visited in Chapter 4, and is geographically based on the former Transvaal region of South Africa. It's an idyllic town built upon the hills of a grassy mountain where the soon-to-be wives in weddings are offered to a "Dragonlord" as sacrifices, lest them make him angry and cause strong whirlwinds that can potentially destroy the town and the ones living in it. Layton and his friends aim to prevent the sacrifice of a bride they met (Romilda, who is Julien's girlfriend) by finding out the true source of the whirlwinds. After an extensive research, it's revealed that the whirlwinds are produced by a malfunction of Azran machinery.

    Visual Novels 
  • At one point, the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert can go to a natural pool in the wilderness with Lily (if he's dating her at that point). The water is okay to swim in, and the surrounding first looks pristine.
  • On Becca’s romantic path in Melody, the protagonist takes Becca on a hiking date outside the town. Where they go, there isn’t even a path.

    Web Comics 

    Web Novel 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Valdez Island features a pristine old-growth forest with wild but tame animals, which distracts Jamie from the problems in his life.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack: for a world controlled for hundreds of years by an evil wizard that supposedly sucked the earth dry of resources, there seems to be an unbelievable amount of unspoiled wilderness between the huge futuristic cities.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • The city of Ba Sing Se has a large agrarian zone between the outer wall and the city proper that looks like it would come straight out of a Studio Ghibli film (which is weird considering it's a barren wasteland right outside the wall).
    • It's likely that Earthbending has agricultural applications which make this possible.
    • It's also noted in the DVD Commentary that the Fire Nation (which is geographically based on Iceland) looks a lot better than it should considering the people have been strip mining it for over a hundred years.

    Real Life 
  • Probably Truth in Television for most of human history until trains became popular. When it's an all-day stagecoach ride from Washington to Baltimore, not much point in building commuter suburbs.
  • The Ghibli version is actually not so unrealistic: 85% of Japan is too steep to be built on or farmed and remains forested. As long as the city you're trying to escape from is not Tokyo, which is located in the middle of one of two plains in the country, you can drive out into the forested hills pretty fast.
    • Over the centuries it's been inhabited, the Japanese have cleared and leveled as much as they possibly could and built on every inch they can. Essentially, any place that isn't intensely developed is completely wild.
  • Thanks to the system of nationalnote  parks, protected lands, and wildlife preserves implemented by many countries, and the tendency for these parks to have distinct borders and sometimes be near cities, this is Truth in Television all around the world:

North America

  • Colorado from Denver to Colorado Springs is built along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, putting major urban areas directly adjacent to massive amounts of protected parkland.
    • Putting aside all the desolate shrubbery along the way of course.
  • Gas Works Park in Seattle (except for the ruins of the Gas Works), and....the rest of Washington, really.
  • Boston's "Emerald Necklace".
  • Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, which also really is a national park.
  • Cleveland's Metroparks, which also go by the nickname "Emerald Necklace".
  • The US State of Minnesota. Most of the population lives in the Twin Cities area which, despite being the state's major hub, takes up only a small portion of the state. Go past the boundaries of the Twin Cities, and with the exception of some small towns, farmland, and the small city of Duluth, it's all wilderness complete with forests to the north and prairies in the south, and the largest wolf population in the United States.
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Especially Fern Canyon, which was a filming location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • Appalachia, specifically in the mountainous regions of North Carolina, USA. Take a compass and some survival gear, because if you park your car and walk for fifteen-twenty minutes, you will be so far from civilization that you can't hear it anymore.
  • Oregon. The government just signed in 200,000 more acres of protected forest. There are plenty of developed areas outside the I-5 corridor, we just put a minimum of 10-20 miles of wilderness between them. Essentially, just about every community in the Pacific Northwest is surrounded by Ghibli Hills/Forest/Mountains.
  • Tacoma and Olympia are like this. Many wild parks. In Tacoma particularly you can be amid dense trees a half hour from downtown if you check Google Maps first.
  • Upstate or the Northernmost part of California.
  • Ottawa's "Green Belt".
  • Driving along the West Virginia Turnpike. Once you're past the suburban sprawl of Charleston, WV, the unspoiled mountain wilderness that surrounds the road is almost surreal. One particularly beautiful moment comes anytime after a rainstorm - a small creek that flows along the road for about a mile is suddenly swollen and gushing with intensity. The state's advertising slogan, "Wild and Wonderful," isn't used for nothing.
  • Winnipeg, despite its large footprint and significant number of sleeper communities, just sort of springs up from out of nowhere, especially as you approach from the south.
  • Vermont, it's not called the Green Mountain State for nothing, but that might be because there was very little urbanization to begin with...
  • The Wasatch Front (the western slopes of the Wasatch Mountains) in Utah is home to two million people strung out along a 120-mile-long north-south axis. It's an average of 5 miles wide and never reaches a width of more than 18 miles. Ten minutes to the east and you're in deep forest and/or open grassy plateaus. Thirty minutes to the west and you're in barren salt flats and deserts. Two hours to the south, you're in arid redrock country. One hour to the north, vibrant farmland. The next major urban area is 300+ miles in any direction. Even in the Wasatch Front, if there are enough rain clouds (which isn't horribly often though), the Wasatch Mountains look like the Misty Mountains.
  • Juneau, Alaska. Even the cheapest apartments have stellar views of unspoiled spruce and hemlock forests, and the university is a short drive from a giant glacier. Getting to an area of virgin woodland is a matter of about a five-minute walk in any direction.
  • Calgary, Alberta is around an hour's drive from the Rocky Mountains, so this fits the description above perfectly. Those who find Banff National Park to be a bit crowded will find solitude in the Kananaskis Park. There is also Nose Hill and Fish Creek Park within the city.
  • The New Jersey Palisades definitely qualify. They are dramatic cliffs, located along the Hudson River, just across from New York City, with almost no development. Less than an hour's drive can take you from downtown Manhattan to excellent hiking and dramatic natural views.
  • The Pine Barrens in New Jersey contain vast expanses of undeveloped forest. This is the most densely-populated state in the US, nestled within easy access to Philadelphia and New York City, yet one can drive down isolated roads with nothing but dwarf pine trees in sight. The soil is very sandy and cranberries and blueberries are grown in the area. Most of these forests are within the Pinelands National Reserve, limiting land use. The Pine Barrens also originated the stories of the Jersey Devil.
  • The wilderness around and within Los Angeles is a great source of pride for the city's residents. The mountains within the city proper, though largely populated with million-dollar mansions, still retain much of their natural beauty, and the hills within Griffith Park (which is, by the way, much larger than New York City's Central Park) are as untouched as they were before the area was settled by the Spaniards. The mountains outside the city are even more wild, with the only human constructions being hiking trails and the occasional paved road (not counting interstate freeways). Even the wilderness right next to civilization is quite untouched, resulting in such features as a long canyon in Porter Ranch with apartment complexes on both sides. Both the hills within and without the city are populated by a wide variety of wildlife, including mountain lions. Because of how close the wilderness is to civilization and how isolated is seems simultaneously, it is a popular, but not overcrowded, tourist destination for both residents and visitors. It is quite amazing to see the buildings and cities of Los Angeles melt away as one travels along roads going through the mountains.
  • The Oak Ridges Moraine outside of Toronto.
  • Maui is absolutely brimming with unspoiled nature of multiple micro-climates. Try Googling images of the Road to Hana or Haleakala; you'd never expect to see that kind of raw beauty only an hour away from the nearest town.
  • Same goes with Hawaii's Big Island. Places like Akaka Falls, Kohala, Waipio Valley, and Pololu Valley are absolutely stunning. The Big Island feels less like a tourist trap, and more like a few lengthy highways utterly surrounded by unspoiled nature.
  • You'll find a lot of this near Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and the neighboring Vancouver Island. It's where they've gone to find the forests for things like The Cabin in the Woods, the Percy Jackson series, and The Predator.
  • The Badlands in South Dakota are a cluster of rocky hills, and not extremely far from some very famous landmarks such as Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
  • The Home Counties that surround London are steadily becoming more urbanised but still have large areas of countryside. The Surrey hills are particularly nice. London Town itself is surrounded by a government-created "Green Belt" area, with development restricted.
  • Kent is still known as "the Garden of England" for a reason. There's some very rough undergrowth at the bottom of this garden...
  • Holyrood Park, being a Royal Park and therefore under the protection of the Crown, is a little bit of Ghibli Hills in the middle of Edinburgh. Meanwhile, immediately outside the city are miles and miles of the wild, wonderful Pentland Hills, which are covered with scrubby grass, sheep, and not much else. They're a prime spot for hill-walkers.
  • Richmond Park is a huge expanse of grassland and woods, to be found in southwest London. It's chiefly known for the hundreds of deer which roam there.
  • Surprisingly, Sheffield. Despite its reputation as the Steel City, and being an old industrial centre, its boundaries contain a chunk of the Peak District National Park, and it's popular with climbers because of how close they are.
  • That bleak, wild forest clearing in the opening battle scene of Gladiator? Bourne Woods, Surrey.
  • "Cleckhuddersfax"note  in Yorkshire has nice, relatively undisturbed woodland a ten-minute walk from civilisation.
  • Cannock Chase, in Staffordshire, England is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and former royal forest, located in the middle of several urban centres in the Midlands.
  • The default in Scandinavia.
  • Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, is right around Vitosha mountain, which happens to be a natural park too.
  • The natural reserve in the Rila mountain that is one hour away (when you finally leave the city). By the way, Rila mountain is the highest mountain in South-Eastern Europe. So yeah...
  • The Swiss Alps. Though Alpine scenery has been famously described in positively Mordorian terms:
It is, indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is an immense chasm, lined by glistening coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The long sweep of green water roaring forever down, and the thick flickering curtain of spray hissing forever upward, turn a man giddy with their constant whirl and clamor. We stood near the edge peering down at the gleam of the breaking water far below us against the black rocks, and listening to the half-human shout which came booming up with the spray out of the abyss.
  • Austria's are not much different. Even outside the alpine areas (near the Iron Curtain) you can find fairly Ghibli-esque areas. Just drive a short while and enjoy the scenery. Vast tracts of forest exist even within the city limits of Vienna.
  • In Germany the state of Brandenburg has vast areas of unspoiled nature and happens to be the state that surrounds Berlin.
  • Many regions in France are a paradise for hikers. Creuse, Ariège, Massif Central and so on. Regarding greenery just outside of the city, Paris has the Sénart, Vincennes and Boulogne forests.
  • A lot of Russia was like this, thanks to Communism deciding that everyone should live in apartments (better equality and opportunity), which made cities very condensed and surrounded by pristine countryside. Less so now. Pretty much any Russian city has at least one big park that transitions into (almost) intact wilderness.
  • Nearly all the parts of Slovenia that aren't cities/towns/villages. Sometimes during a drive from one village to another, when a road goes through a forest, etc., there can be a feeling you are kilometers from civilization. That's also because the forests are original ones, not introduced back by forestation that has even spaces between trees, which makes it look artificial.
  • Many areas in Ireland. Hey, it's called the Emerald Isle for a reason.
  • Poland's very own Gdynia. Aside from being a city built in the 1920s by connecting villages together and building a city center, a good deal of the city area is the Tri-City National Park. The fastest way to get around in Gdynia is to actually go through the woods.
  • Many parts of Tuscany still evoke this, though there are more people and factories dotting the hills these days.
  • Salzburg in Austria features a lot such areas, seeing how the town is built into what is essentially a gorge around a river. The by far greenest and least disturbed areas in a five-kilometer radius are all in a 10-minute walking distance from the central Domplatz, seated on top of tall, steep mountains that seem to shoot right out of the densely built city. One of these mountains, the Festungsberg, has the famous Salzburg castle built atop it, while most of the other ones (such as the Mönchsberg, Rainberg, Kapuzinerberg, and Gaisberg) are almost untouched, despite being literally in spitting distance of urban Salzburg.
  • The Green Spain counts too. Even at the outskirts of its cities, you can find forests, green meadows, and mountains almost touching them in some cases. Go farther away and unless going to the north (Cantabrian Sea, plus a significant number of eucalyptus groves planted for their wood) you'll find sylvan forests, more — and higher — mountains, more green meadows, and beautiful landscapes. The best is the contrast after going southwards and crossing the Cantabrian Mountains with the vast, almost flat and forest-free and much drier expanses of Spain's central plateau.
  • Also in Spain, its capital Madrid. Not only it is stated to be the second city in number of trees of the world surpassed only by Tokyo, it has west of its downtown a big park, the Casa de Campo as well as to the northwest the extensive Monte de El Pardo (link in Spanish), a big forest inhabited by endangered speciesnote . It's quite an experience to transverse it by train -it's crossed by a railway- and to see from your seat deers and the occasional eagle in the middle of an extensive oak grove, when just half an hour before you were in the very center of the city. And keep going on and you'll arrive here, at just around one hour from Madrid.

Everywhere Else

  • Costa Rica. More Scenery Porn that you can possibly imagine while cruising it leisurely in 24 hours or less.
  • Sydney is particularly egregious with this. Unless (or in some cases even if) you're on the major transport corridors, you're likely to be in the wilderness, often officially. This is entirely justified, however, mainly due to the very rough terrain surrounding the Sydney Basin, which is full of canyons, steep valleys and thick vegetation.
  • Nairobi National Park is just outside Kenya's capital, and as a result the only place you can see entirely wild lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, etc with skyscrapers in the background.
  • Go to a map. Look for Australia. Look for New South Wales, and go to its most North-Eastern point. That region is called "The Northern Rivers". Here one will find The Caldera, so named for the fact that the entire region was once a large shield volcano that went extinct. All the mountains there are the result of erosion, leading to rounded yet striking mountains. In the centre you will find Mt. Warning (Wollumbin), the first point each morning in all of Australia to be struck by the light of dawn. Much of the "pristine-ness" of the region is simply due to both the enormous amount of crownland (land that cannot be settled due to steepness or inaccessibility, or even logged practically) and the fact that most of the population there lives in either villages of varying size or in Murwillumbah, the largest town in the Caldera, with a population of less than 8,000. Despite the number of farms (the region might better fit in 'Arcadia' for this reason), they are usually small and hardly damage the land (leave a farm for a few dozen years and it looks like old-growth). Examples on the other wiki here and here on the Other Wiki. There is a reason the area is filled with hippies, ex-hippies, and general environmentalists.
  • Tasmania, Australia's southernmost state, and being so small and distant from the rest of the world, is largely still countryside; the population is only just over half a million, and it shows. North of Hobart, there's a bit of brown, and then nothing but forests, mountains, and green hills as far as the eye can see, and this continues until you hit the northernmost tip of the island. The southwest of the state is almost entirely forested and has remained well-protected from logging and mining companies for years now.
  • Floresta da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The biggest urban national park in the entire world.
  • Despite being a humongous metropolis built on a relatively mountain-less plain, Seoul has approximately 40 mountains dotted across the city limits. Once you're climbing one of those mountains, you will be surrounded by complete wilderness, minus the hiking path and the hikers. But the immersion breaks when you try to look at the scenery from the mountain as there will be a sprawling city that spans for miles.
  • Most of New Zealand, except possibly Auckland.
  • Ironically, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea has turned into this. It's a 2.5-mile wide strip of land running from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea that has been uninhabited by humans since 1953, with fences and military patrols on both sides insuring that there's no poaching or illegal logging, so it's become a flourishing habitat for plants and animals that have become rare or extinct in the rest of the peninsula. And Seoul is just a stone's throw from it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Great Outdoors


Howl's secret garden

Howl gives Sophie the present of showing her his garden.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / GhibliHills

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