Studio Ghibli is a famous Japanese animated film studio that created leading animes such as My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and more.
In Mitaka, a suburb of Tokyo City, there is Ghibli Museum to explore Ghibli’s wonderland and to see making of Ghibli movies.
Whichever you are a Ghibli anime fan or a traveler who is looking for unique experiences and arts in Japan, Ghibli Museum is a must see.
|Totoro welcoming Ghibli Museum visitors
Let’s explore the beautiful and weird world. If you are searching for practical visitor information, life is long, so please be easy-going. All the information about how to get there and tickets, and links for international visitors are at the bottom of this post.
Translated directly, the name of the museum is “Mitaka Forest Ghibli Museum.” It is located just next to the large Inogashira Park.
Zoom the panel. You see just an entrance panel is well-designed. And on the top, Totoros.
A large Totoro is welcoming guests and everyone becomes happy here.
Some people are seen on the roof of the museum house. You can go there later!
Enter the entrance and soon you’ll see a colorful and wonderful painting on the ceiling.
From here, there is no photo policy at Ghibli Museum. It is based on Hayao Miyazaki’s wishes that visitors will find treasures by using their hands and keep them in their mind, not in photos.
For the respect to the museum, people keep their cameras in bags inside the museum house. I upload photos of its outside, where you can take photos from the balconies.
|Ghibli Museum Entrance – Let’s go inside!
You exchange your reservation ticket into a movie-film-like true ticket at the counter and start your adventure!
With the ticket exchanged, you can see a short movie in the small theater in the bottom floor.
The short movie is on air only at Ghibli Museum and changes in a month or more. The one I saw was about a boy and a rabbit based on a picture book. Mostly anime and few words. The rich sound effects were impressive for me.
Stained glass gives fantastic lights all around the museum. They were of Ghibli characters.
This is Kiki from “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”
|Kiki’s stained glass
And this is a Kodama from “Princess Mononoke.” Personally, I like “Princess Mononoke” the best of all Ghibli films.
|Kodama and the forest from Princess Mononoke
Before you enter the museum, you see people on the roof as the photo above. It is a spiral staircase from the 2nd floor.
It’s autumn when I visited there, so some vine leaves turned red. So cozy and beautiful.
Going up the narrow spiral, you’ll meet….
a Robot Soldier from “Laputa Castle in the Sky” in the rooftop garden!
A robot soldier is a guardian here.
|Real Robot Soldier on the rooftop
|A path on the rooftop garden
As I wrote, Ghibli Museum put priority on using your own hands to find something.
For example, these fish-shaped benches, which you’ll find in front of the Cat Bus for kids, have a small handle on its eye. When you turn it, it makes amusing sounds. It was very popular among little children, regardless of their home countries.
I am a kind of person who like reasonable and convincing stories, and that’s why I like “Princess Mononoke” the best, but I also accept childlike, simple and fresh feelings. Senses of humors are important for humans’ life.
I was impressed by the exhibitions inside the museum, without photos, and I believe I should tell you.
The best things to see are the storyboards of Ghibli Films. I can see what Miyazaki and animators thought when he built up a movie as an art. Camera work, color patterns, visiting somewhere to collect materials for the movies, books for reference, watercolors and pastels…. So many to do when someone makes an animated movie. Those storyboards will inspire our senses, too.
Some of them are not “on display,” but you open the pages yourself!
Many of displays and dolls have handles, windows, doors and even tunnels. I found a staff room diorama behind the small windows, susuwataris in a wall, for example. Don’t hesitate to move and open them when you find something. It is the intention of the museum to let you explore the world yourself. Wonderful, isn’t it?
The house is like a maze without any exact maps.
I wandered the same place many times. If you want to go somewhere but don’t know the way, the information counter at the ground floor will tell you.
The house with 3 (or 4?) floors has just one ceiling and the garden has no ceiling.
Experience Ghibli world here is different from Disney Land. It is a museum to see making of films, not going into a fantasy world separated from the reality.
Straw Hat Cafe. Many people take a rest here. There is a museum shop in the 3rd floor, too.
There are many international guests at the museum. My Nintendo 3DS welcomed 6 Australians, a Canadian, a Swedish, a Taiwanese and a British. They are all Ghibli-loving big fans!
Ghibli Museum is a calm and warm place. With its reservation ticket system, it cannot be too crowded. Sitting on one of the benches and taking a rest will be a great time.
It was brilliant on a sunny day in October. I’m glad if you share a clear sunny day in the forest of Ghibli in autumn!
Visitor Information on Ghibli Museum
How to get to Ghibli Museum
JR Mitaka Station is the nearest. Around 30 minutes from Tokyo Station, 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station, on JR Chuo Rapid Line. To go to the museum, take a Loop Bus via Ghibli Museum or 15 minutes walk. Link to map.
See The Easiest JR Train Map of Tokyo
You need a reservation ticket to enter. This system is to keep the museum being a calm place.
International visitors can book tickets through this official site and pay via credit card.
Let me repeat that you can’t enter Ghibli Museum without the reservation ticket!
Helpful Links for Ghibli Museum Visitors
- How to buy reservation tickets outside of Japan – Official website in English.
- Ghibli Museum Official Website Top Page You can see some photos of the inside.
- Hotels in Shinjuku district – I advise you that it is very convenient to visit Ghibli Museum and other popular places in Tokyo if you stay in Shinjuku. You can also search hotels in the search box below.