Movies, Pop Culture

5 Cozy Studio Ghibli Films To Watch This Fall

Studio Ghibli fall

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Raven Minyard. Find her on Instagram at @raven.minyard. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

With the weather finally cooling down, I’ve broken out my favorite sweaters and hoodies, begun listening to Red (Taylor’s Version) on repeat and started baking my favorite fall treats. It’s officially time to get cozy. And what better way to welcome the coziest weather of the year than with some of the coziest movies of all time, Studio Ghibli films? Studio Ghibli can do everything; they make you laugh, they make you sob and they give you a heartwarming feeling that’s hard to find elsewhere. Since we’ve already given you a list of horror movies to watch this fall, we thought it was time to lighten the mood and give you five of the coziest options for a Studio Ghibli fall movie marathon.

As a disclaimer, these are the coziest Studio Ghibli movies, not necessarily the most popular or the most highly rated. When making this list, I looked for films that had low stakes, weren’t too sad (It’s Studio Ghibli. They’re all at least a bit sad.) and wouldn’t have scarred me as a child (aka Spirited Away when the parents get turned into pigs). The movies I’ve included are all ones that are best enjoyed while snuggling under a blanket and drinking hot chocolate.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Is there a better way to start of this list than with Kiki’s Delivery Service? This film is perfect for those who love magic and witches but don’t want something too spooky. The story follows Kiki, a young witch who leaves home to find a new town in need of a witch so she can continue to develop her powers. Alongside her talking black cat Jiji, Kiki sets up the Witch Delivery Service, in which she delivers goods via broomstick, and begins developing a friendship with an aviation-obsessed boy named Tombo. This is a great fall watch because it incorporates the magic of the season while exploring what it means to grow up and come of age.

My Neighbor Totoro

One of the most well-known and loved Ghibli films, My Neighbor Totoro follows sisters Satsuki and Mei as their father moves them to a new home in the countryside while their mother recovers from a severe illness in the hospital. As the girls begin exploring their new house and the surrounding area, they’re introduced to a world of friendly spirits, including the big and cuddly Totoro, dust-like house spirits and my personal favorite, Catbus. It’s no surprise that this cozy film is a fan favorite, and it’s a perfect way to relive the whimsy of childhood on a crisp fall day.

Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I simply wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t include it here. But in all seriousness, this movie earns a spot on this list because of its slow-burn plot and relationship development. Shizuku is a young girl who dreams of becoming a writer someday. As she spends her days reading in the library, she realizes every book she picks up has already been checked out by a boy called Seiji Amasawa. This coming-of-age tale follows Shizuku as she writes her first novel, chases a large cat all over the city, befriends an elderly antiques dealer and begins to fall in love for the first time. Whisper of the Heart definitely seems to be one of Studio Ghibli’s lesser-known films, but trust me when I tell you it’s 100% worth the watch, especially when you just want to curl up on the couch on a chilly day.

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday is another lesser-known, slice-of-life entry into Studio Ghibli’s filmography. 27-year-old Taeko decides to leave her busy life in Tokyo to visit her sister’s in-laws in the countryside. While there, she finds herself reliving distinctive memories of her childhood, often called up by her budding relationship with Toshio. The story switches between flashbacks and present-day as Taeko faces her true self and how she views the world around her. While some Ghibli fans recall being bored when watching this as children, this slow-paced film is perfect for Zillennials and Millennials as Taeko faces inner struggles that are pertinent to those of us in our twenties. Be warned: the ending definitely makes me cry, but in a good way.

From Up On Poppy Hill

Of all the movies on this list, From Up On Poppy Hill probably has the saddest backstory, but the overall plot is still light enough to be considered cozy. This film follows 16-year-old Umi Matsuzaki who helps her grandmother run the house and take care of her siblings while her mother is off studying in America. Every morning, Umi raises signal flags for her father who died in the Korean War. When a boy from her school, Shen Kazama, publishes a poem about Umi’s flags in the school newspaper, she teams up with him and their other classmates to save the Latin Quarter, an old building that houses all the school’s clubs, from demolition. From Up On Poppy Hill has a delightful cast of characters, and their determination to save something they love is a great way to brighten your spirits on a dreary day.

Want more Studio Ghibli? Check out this article for some great gifts to make your Studio Ghibli fall movie marathon even more cozy. And be sure to let us know what your favorite cozy Studio Ghibli movies are in the comments!

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