Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan’s greatest animation directors, is up to some real work to give shape to his vision. The retired 74 year old director steps out of the world of illusions and fantasies to entertain children in the real world with real things. Miyazaki is working on building a children’s nature retreat on a remote island in southern Japan.

miyazaki_nature_sanctuaryWith the intention to expose children to the natural world through direct experience, the animation legend is reported to invest $2.5 million of his own money on the project. Nestled in a virgin forest on Kumejima Island, 55 miles west of the island of Okinawa, the project is expected to be completed in 2018.

The Oscar-award winning director is also a noted environmentalist and an active contributor to social causes in Japan. In an attempt to connect with children and in turn connect them to the nature, the upcoming project was conceived by Miyazaki.

Though not much details of the project are available, it is known that a two-story dormitory to accommodate thirty kids will be built on the site of a disused playground in a small clearing, which the town of Kumejima has donated for the project.

Touted to be the best animation filmmaker in history, Miyazaki is putting his expertise and awareness together to benefit the small island’s economy too.  He is working with local design and construction firms to create the sanctuary under a “made in Kumejima” concept.

With construction commencing in April 2016, the wait for the kids’ utopia will be well worth it.