Ghibli Museum is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Japan. Located on the west side of Tokyo, the museum showcases the work of Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli. We made sure to book our tickets in advance, knowing that there is limited capacity in the building to avoid over crowding.
The journey to Inokashira Park in Mitaka is simple: catch a train to Mitaka and follow the signs from the station. Walk along Kichijoji Avenue and through Mitaka’s Inokashira Park, to discover the colorful museum.
Standing at the entrance, a very large Totoro welcomes visitors to Ghibli. Tickets are given to visitors in exchange for reservation coupons and are made of pieces of the actual 35mm film prints that were used in theaters.
The interior of the building is a delightful mix of stained glass windows, European architectural elements, and playful Ghibli characters.
Filled with gadgets, books, illustrations, and toys – the museum introduces the visitor to the art and technique of animation.
After exploring indoors, visitors can step outside and a climb a spiral staircase to reach a grassy rooftop garden.
Standing tall on the roof of the museum, a Robot Soldier (from “Laputa Castle in the Sky”) poses for pictures.
At the end of the magical experience through the world of Ghibli, visitors can collect a stamp at the museum gate.
As I look back, I find the museum is perfectly summed up by the words of Hayao Miyazaki himself:
This is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make!
A museum that is interesting and which relaxes the soul
A museum where much can be discovered
A museum based on a clear and consistent philosophy
A museum where those seeking enjoyment can enjoy, those seeking to ponder can ponder, and those seeking to feel can feel
A museum that makes you feel more enriched when you leave than when you entered!
To make such a museum, the building must be…
Put together as if it were a film
Not arrogant, magnificent, flamboyant, or suffocating
Quality space where people can feel at home, especially when it’s not crowded
A building that has a warm feel and touch
A building where the breeze and sunlight can freely flow through
The museum must be run in such a way that…
Small children are treated as if they were grown-ups
The handicapped are accommodated as much as possible
The staff can be confident and proud of their work
Visitors are not controlled with predetermined courses and fixed directions
It is suffused with ideas and new challenges so that the exhibits do not get dusty or old, and that investments are made to realize that goal
The displays will be…
Not only for the benefit of people who are already fans of Studio Ghibli
Not a procession of artwork from past Ghibli films as if it were “a museum of the past”
A place where visitors can enjoy by just looking, can understand the artists’ spirits, and can gain new insights into animation
Original works and pictures will be made to be exhibited at the museum
A project room and an exhibit room will be made, showing movement and life (Original short films will be produced to released in the museum!)
Ghibli’s past films will be probed for understanding at a deeper level
The cafe will be…
An important place for relaxation and enjoyment
A place that doesn’t underestimate the difficulties of running a museum cafe
A good cafe with a style all its own where running a cafe is taken seriously and done right
The museum shop will be…
Well-prepared and well-presented for the sake of the visitors and running the museum
Not a bargain shop that attaches importance only to the amount of sales
A shop that continues to strive to be a better shop
Where original items made only for the museum are found
The museum’s relation to the park is…
Not just about caring for the plants and surrounding greenery but also planning for how things can improve ten years into the future
Seeking a way of being and running the museum so that the surrounding park will become even lusher and better, which will in turn make the museum better as well!
This is what I expect the museum to be, and therefore I will find a way to do it
This is the kind of museum I don’t want to make!
A pretentious museum
An arrogant museum
A museum that treats its contents as if they were more important than people
A museum that displays uninteresting works as if they were significant
Greetings from Ghibli Museuem, we will definitely visit again!