The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan is a place of magic, happiness, memories, and – well – foreigners. Born from the mind of genius filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, every corner of this building was hand designed by him.
Why is the Studio Ghibli Museum so Popular?
Well, the short answer is the fact that it is full of foreigners who have fallen in love with the many Studio Ghibli movies, such as Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and many more.
The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo Japan was designed by the brilliant mind that birthed all these wonderful movies – of course you would want to go see it!
It’s like Disneyland, for people who like Studio Ghibli animation, rather than Disney animation.
The highlights of the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka are, of course, the life-sized robot soldier from the movie Castle in the Sky, the neko cat bus for children to climb inside of, the illustrators room, and the mini theater. That’s not to say the rest of the museum is boring; I’ve gone three times and never once felt bored. Quite literally, the Ghibli Museum is a playground for children, adults, and everyone in between.
I would show you pictures of the creative and engaging exhibits but, well, photos are not permitted inside of the museum. Miyazaki went on record to say this was because he wants the wonders of the Studio Ghibli museum to stay in the minds of the children – inspiring a sense of nostalgia. This is probably true. But I would also go out on a limb and say they also don’t permit photos because it would mess up the flow of the museum.
When you buy your ticket, you are given a 30 minute window to enter; if you miss that window, sucks to be you. They won’t let you in (I’ve tried…). As a result, the museum operates in waves – especially on the first floor. Traffic moves slow enough with people just looking, imagine how much more time it would take if everyone and their mother was trying to take the perfect picture to showcase on their Facebook. Also, since (basically) the only photos of the interior of the Studio Ghibli Museum you can find online are from the actual site, the reality of the museum remains a mystery. It’s kind of fun; the lack of photos has certainly increased the popularity of the museum.
As long as you are technically outside the museum, it is ok to take photos. I have one photo from the inside of the museum, I took it while I was waiting in line (outside). The attendant didn’t stop me, but she didn’t look happy.
The Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Japan is a foreigner favorite. They pay homage to every Studio Ghibli movie Hayao Miyazaki was involved in – even the not-so-popular ones. For the true movie fanatics, they even have a small theater on the first floor of the museum. The Saturn Theater seats a little less than a hundred guests (and is rarely filled to capacity). With bright red benches, colorfully painted walls and ceiling, and shutters that only close during the movie, the Saturn Theater was specifically designed for children. As an (almost) adult, I love it.
If you sit in the back of the theater and look at the projector, you can actually see the film being fed through the projector. Kids aren’t so interested; adults find it fascinating to see how many shots of film the projector eats each second.
Each movie is an original, written by Hayao Miyazaki and illustrated by his team. They are cute, unique, and change monthly. While they are aimed for children (like most Studio Ghibli Movies), they are full of great tidbits for adults, too.
I can’t explain how fun the museum really is. My fiance hates museums (in his words “I don’t understand why people pay money to stand a bunch and look at weird pictures, when they can just look at the same thing online…?”), but he really liked the museum.
If you get a chance to go, I recommend the illustrators room, where you can see some of the earlier sketches for characters (like Kiki from Kiki’s delivery service with either long hair or short spikey pigtails). You can also see authentic storyboards, authentic sketches from some of the popular movies, the types of paints they use, and how the animation is crafted.
Basically, you should go to the Studio Ghibli Museum because it’s fun. It’s the place where dreams come true. And it’s full of other foreigners (mostly from Korea or Southeast Asia) who have an equal love and appreciation for the Studio Ghibli movies! If you only have an hour to kill at the museum, check out this guide on the Studio Ghibli Museum: Things to Do, See, and Eat.
Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele