Get Spirited Away to the home of Totoro.18 November, 2010 by Chad
The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka Tokyo is a popular destination for fans of Studio Ghibli’s animations. Visitors of all ages can see their favorite animations come to life in this quaint one of a kind museum designed by Miyazaki Hayao himself. The museum’s motto, “let’s lose our way together”.
The museum attacts a large crowd everyday and is a popular spot for local families to bring their young ones on their day off. A limited number of patrons are allowed into the museum each day. You will need to get your tickets early if you plan on visiting the museum.
Adult tickets cost 1000 yen each, teens and children get discounted prices but the museum is only free to those under 4. Tickets can only be purchased from the ticketing machines found at all Lawson convenience stores and are not sold at the museum itself. It is recommended (or rather necessary) that you drop by a Lawson outlet upon reaching Japan to get your tickets in advance of your planned vist to the museum.
You might be able to get tickets for a normal weekday just a week earlier, while bookings for weekends and holidays sell out months in advance. Keep in mind that the museum doesn’t open on Tuesdays.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit the museum myself during this year’s visit to Tokyo. Instead this encounter and photographs are credited to Gabriel Kang, who fondly reminisced about his first visit before finally returning there again this year.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka is of course located in Mitaka City, a small suburban town in the West-side of Tokyo. Mitaka station is a 15 minute ride from Shinjuku on the JR Chuo line. The museum itself is located between Mitaka and Kichijoji but is by far nearer to Mitaka.
The museum is but a 15 minute walk from the station. However, there’s a shuttle bus operating between Mitaka station and the museum. If you’re in town during one of the times where the weather is unbearable, you can always save yourself the suffering and take the bus.
The bus fare for a one way trip is 200 yen, while a round pass costs 300 yen.
Provided that the weather is fine, one of the benefits of walking is that you’ll pass through the peaceful Inokashira Park, of which the museum is part of.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka is not your traditional art museum. The building is created like a home out of one of the studio’s animations with the exhibits being part of the rooms itself (or the rooms part of exhibit). In line with the museum’s moto, visitors get to explore the maze-like rooms freely without any fixed order.
While there is a mock studio inside the museum where visitors can learn of the animation process, take note that Studio Ghibli does not actually operate from this location. Their office is instead located at Koganei where the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum is.
The Ghibli Museum features both fixed rooms as well as seasonal exhibits, which bring people back here from time to time. One of the main draw points is that the museum actually plays animations that can’t be seen anywhere else. These short films are rotated on a fortnightly basis. Visitors are only eligible for one screening per entry.
There’s a strict no photography rule within the museum’s walls, so no photos from within. Visitors are able to purchase a coffee table book that describes the museum and all of its exhibits in great detail. A new edition is published each year to reflect the new additions to the museum.
As such, if any photographs are to be taken, it’s only on the museum’s rooftop garden, where you’ll find a life sized model of the robot from Laputa Castle in the Sky.
Before you leave, be sure to check out the museum’s own souvenir and bookshops. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of merchandise and concept art books from all their past works. Apart from the museum book mentioned earlier, there are also other items exclusive to the museum. You’ll be able to find lots of great gifts for like minded fans of Studio Ghibli’s animations.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi
You can get more information about the museum at their official website (in English).