Ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents are moving to a new town, much to Chihiro's displeasure. While driving, they get lost and her father decides to take a 'shortcut' down a mysterious forested pathway. After a short but bumpy drive, the family comes to a stop at what seems to be an abandoned theme park. Curious, the father leads his family through a tunnel and explores the park, finding a deserted town and a stall full of freshly-cooked food. The parents greedily help themselves while Chihiro refuses to eat. As Chihiro's parents are eating, she wanders off and meets a boy named Haku. Haku seems to be familiar with Chihiro and warns her to escape with her parents; she returns to find they have turned into pigs, and that the way back has become a deep river. Spirits appear and go about the park. Haku secretly takes Chihiro to a large bathhouse to avoid alerting the spirits to her presence. Haku then tells her that she must get a job from the witch Yubaba, the owner of the park's bathhouse, until he can help her recover her parents and escape.