Visiting the famous Ghibli Museum in Tokyo

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Visiting the famous Ghibli Museum in Tokyo
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For fans of Japanese animation, Studio Ghibli or in Japanese, Mitaka no Mori Ghibli Bijutsukan, is an animation and art museum of Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli, one of Japan’s most famous animation studios.

Before you continue reading, please note that the local Japanese pronounce Ghibli as “Jiburi”. This will help clear any confusion if you are asking any Japanese people about this place. It’s just a Japanese thing if you ask me.

The Ghibli Museum is located in the town of Mitaka, which is only about 20 minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. This place is laid back and unlike your commercially busy Shibuya or Shinjuku city with thousands of people and hundreds of skyscrapers.

The colorful exterior of the Ghibli Museum.
Image source: http://www.hobbyhovel.com

When you obtain your tickets (read below on how to get them), your journey begins the minute you arrive here as you are greeted by a large Totoro at the entrance. A dream come true for Studio Ghibli fans, you should prepare to spend at least three to four hours here, if not more.

The museum was designed and opened by Hayao Miyazaki in 2001, and is known as Japan’s most famous animation museum. The museum design was heavily influenced by European architecture, namely the hilltop village of Calcata in Italy.

Hayao Miyazaki’s goal if for people to experience the museum with their own eyes and ears, with a catch slogan of “Let’s get lost together“, where visitors are taken into a magical world of animation and wonder.

Totoro at the entrance of the museum.
Image source: https://i.kinja-img.com/

Fans of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away will relate to this museum as you can see all of their works here. Each of the floors of the museum is dedicated to special areas of display and exhibition. The journey from floor to floor will mesmerize not only kids but adults who are fans of Studio Ghibli.

For the serious fans, there is the Mamma Aiuto gift shop, named after a band of sky pirates in the movie Porco Rossowhere, and you can get all things Ghibli here. There are many cute items related to the characters, and the most popular being the Totoro items. At the shop, you can also find animation soundtracks, DVD’s, scaled models, car decorations and many other unique souvenirs.

There is also a specialized bookstore called Tri-Hawks on the third floor where the super serious fans can buy Ghibli art books, kids books and the ever popular Ghibli Museum book with everything inside. Since you are not allowed to take photos inside, the museum book has all the pictures in it, making it a must-buy item.

A cafe by the name of Straw Hat Cafe offers visitors a home cooked Japanese food experience where the creator specially got a Japanese housewife to run it. You can choose from hot and cold Japanese cuisine, desserts and also snacks here. A unique brew of beer called Valley of the Wind is also sold here and is a very special edition.

The Catbus Room.
Image source: https://i.kinja-img.com/

For those visiting with kids below 12 years old, there is a very unique Catbus Room where your kids can play. This is a scaled-down replica of the Catbus from the 1988 animation film, My Neighbor Totoro.

And one of the main attractions is located on the rooftop of the museum where you will a live size robot called Lupin. This robot soldier was featured in the animation movie called Castle in the Sky. Fans will easily relate to this beautiful piece or art located in the Rooftop Garden of the museum.


Tickets for Studio Ghibli

Visitors should take note that the tickets are not sold at the museum and must be purchased in advance either online or from selected places around Japan. Complicated? Yes, but that is how the creator wanted it to be. So, below are the ways you can get the tickets.

  • Buying Online

You need to visit any of the three websites below to purchase the Studio Ghibli online tickets which cost only ¥1000 per person.

  1. I-Tike.com
  2. GoVoyagin
  3. Japan I Can
  • Buying Outside of Japan

You can also buy your tickets from the JTB offices in other countries. Here, you will receive a voucher with a specified entry date printed on it and you exchange the voucher at the museum for your ticket (passport required) at any time during your entry day.

  • Buying in Japan

For those already in Japan, you can buy the Studio Ghibli tickets from Lawson convenience stores using the Loppi automatic ticket machines. Tickets sell out fast for weekends, but weekday tickets are easier to get from here.

Souvenirs from the Ghibli Museum.
Image source: https://hungrycuriouscat.wordpress.com/


Ghibli Museum Information

Opening Hours | 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
*The museum is closed every Tuesday, except on these Tuesdays:

  • 2017: January 3, March 21, May 2, July 25, August 15, December 26
  • Tickets for September 30 and October 1, 2017 are only available to residents of Mitaka city and other neighbouring cities.

Tickets Prices:

  • Age 19+: ¥1,000
  • Age 13-18: ¥700
  • Age 7-12: ¥400
  • Age 4-6: ¥100
  • Children under 4 are free of charge

Address | 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013
Phone | +81 570-055-777
Website | http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/


As you walk here, you will see this sign.
Image source: https://www.kkday.com

How to go to Ghibli Museum

If you are taking a train, exit at the Mitaka Station on the JR Chuo Line (15 minutes, ¥220 from Shinjuku Station).

For those who want to take a bus, there are shuttle buses from the station to the museum (¥210 for one-way, children are half price). If you want to take a taxi, it costs about ¥750.

You can also walk for about 20 minutes from Mitaka Station or from Kichijoji Station through Inokashira Park. This would be an interesting choice as you can see another part of Tokyo while walking here and there are many signboards that will lead you here.

David Hogan Jr
David Hogan Jr
A multiple award-winning travel writer, blogger and social media enthusiast. He has been traveling to Japan since 1990 and all over the world for his work. His work has been featured on CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Lonely Planet and many other publications. David writes at: http://malaysia-asia.my and is on social media platforms as @MalaysiaAsia

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