Opened since October 2001 in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, Tokyo, is a museum dedicated to the animated works of Studio Ghibli. The museum is the perfect excuse to visit the funky district of Kichijoji, in the west of Tokyo.
Of course, this is a must-see event for kids and adults who enjoyed such iconic films as My Neighbor Totoro, Laputa, The Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away and many more.
The museum visit
The museum itself, designed by the master Hayao Miyazaki and supervised by his son, Goro Miyazaki, attempts to take the visitor into one of his animated stories. Already the central hall, where the information service is located and from where we will start our tour of the museum, is very reminiscent of the Yubaba bath in the movie Spirited Away.
The layout of the stained glass windows from which Totoro and his friends emerge, the small doors that can only be passed through by children, the curved walls that create a unique atmosphere, the elevators from another time, the staircases that seem to have no end… all of this gives the visitor the impression of being transported to a dream world like the main character in the story.
The museum is composed of several spaces:
The permanent exhibitions which are divided into several rooms on the first floor and upstairs. We learn about basic animation techniques and the tools used to create animated films, from more technical things like panorama boxes, the use of strobe lights or a projection camera, to more basic things like sketches, drawings and models.
The Saturn Cinema, with a capacity of 80 people, where a different short film is shown each month. These short films, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, cannot be found anywhere else and are exclusive to the museum. The films are usually very visual and contain almost no spoken language, so they are perfect for foreign visitors as well. The Cat-Bus Room. A dream of every child who has seen the movie My Neighbor Totoro. A reproduction of the famous Cat-Bus where you can get on and play with the makkurokurosuke scattered around.
The upper terrace, reached by a wrought iron spiral staircase, is famous for its life-size statue (5 meters) of the robot from the movie Castle in the Sky, as well as other details from the movie.
The Mamma Aiuto store is full of Studio Ghibli-related items and exclusive museum T-shirts. The Straw Hat Café serves food for the whole family, but we recommend bringing your own onigiri and drinks and sitting on the terrace.
The Ghibli Museum is a must-see for animation fans in general and fans of the master Miyazaki in particular, but you’ll enjoy it just as much if you haven’t seen any of Miyazaki’s films and you’ll definitely come away wanting to see them all.
How to get to the Ghibli Museum
Tickets for the Ghibli Museum are only valid for a specific date and time. That’s why they are not sold at the counter, but in advance, and that’s why they are the most difficult to get, without a doubt.
It is advisable to check the museum’s calendar before deciding on a date for your visit. Admission costs 1000 yen (€8) (for those 18 years old and older), 700 yen (€5) (13-18 years old), 400 yen (€3) (7-12 years old) and 100 yen (€1) (4-6 years old). Children under 3 years old are free.
It is forbidden to take photos or videos inside the museum. The museum is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Wednesday to Monday (closed on Tuesday) and is closed during the New Year vacations and for one week for maintenance at the end of May and the beginning of November.
1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan