[Travel] Let’s Lose Our Way Together at Ghibli Museum

29 June 2011

Let’s lose our way together, that’s the theme of the The Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 Mitaka no Mori Jiburi Bijutsukan, Mitaka Forest Ghibli Museum). There’s not set of rules, no path to follow, let the feet walk around the museum and discover what Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 Miyazaki Hayao) intended to inspire.

We bought our tickets in advance at Lawson convenient store since there’s no other way to buy it from Indonesia and we can’t buy directly at the museum.

How to get there is with Chūō Line (Rapid) (中央線快速 Chūō-sen kaisoku) train, 20 minutes from Shinjuku. Then take the a community bus that stops at the museum. Can’t miss it. It’s bright yellow with drawings of Ghibli characters all over it.


¥200 (¥210 now) per-trip


The Ghibli Museum, Mitaka signage


While waiting for the opening, we walk around and take some photos of the building from outside. It doesn’t look that big, but when we’re inside… it’s a different story. Like Tardis maybe? Hehehe.

Totoro (トトロ)  is waiting for us! No we don’t buy ticket from him, but it’s nice to see him greet us before the entrance.



The Straw Hat Café

The pathway around the museum

There are many stained glass scattered inside and outside the building. This one is from Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫, Mononoke-Hime, Spirit/Monster Princess). My favorite is the stained glass inside and outside the museum. When the light hit the colour glasses from the inside it’s like…wow. rainbows. I would love to have a house with stained glasses everywhere.

Every part inside is a wonder, paintings, stained glass, the floor and the lamps, even before we explore the mind of Miyazaki-sensei, we are taken and swept into a dreamland. The kind of story telling and edutainment that he brought to life. It’s intended to be a memory/experience in your mind, not in your camera, so no photography or video inside the museum.

Ticket and 35mm film. The ticket purchased from Lawson may be traded inside at the service counter.

An actual 35mm film that used in Saturn Theater. Sitting in the theater is like watching a movie experience inside a small train or submarine. The projector booth is see through and we can see the operator operating the machine.

There’s some parts of the museum inside I really like. The decor and painting reminiscent of childhood drawings and steampunk-like in the central hall.  Later in the special exhibition, we see more steampunk like machine in the drawings of Laputa, Castle in the Sky and the model of Alcione.

Entering the Beginning of the Movement Room, we are shown the history of animation. For example the many types of Zoetrope, where one frame to another frame has a slight different pose and when they move in certain speed, they create/show movement.

I love the Amazing Theater and Panorama Box with its layers and layers of cells. Where each window shows different story, in a different way! Most of the showcase are mechanical and no modern TV or screen or anything to show the animation. We just need to ‘interact’: see, touch, feel the movement and see the in-depth look of feel and point of view. Oh I also spend so much time seeing Totoro, Satsuki and the others bouncing in a 3D-esque Zoetrope. Rolling clockwise and anticlockwise make a different result and yet It’s therapeutic hahaha.

There’s also a cat room, but only children may climb un top of the cat bus from Totoro*. (Wish I can turn back time and become a child again!) and Where a Film is Born*

Unlike other movie/cartoon museums, the Ghibli museum has an unique of showing not tell. This is the replicated room where the influence from Disney and Osamu Tezuka are there. This is what looks like seeing the inside of an animator’s head with books, reference models and real pictures/video to capture the real life movement. It’s not all dreams and imagination though. It’s hard work. I notice a box and a jar of pencils stubs in some parts of the room (even 2 pencil stubs HB and B2 joined back to back), messy desk  with ink wells and rack filled with copic and colors cells.

There are also Tri-Hawk library room where we browse some books and I bought some postcards and the Ghibli Museum Mitaka book guide and Mamma Aiuto where I (*cough*spend some dough/use my cc *cough*) bought some stuff.


The Bench on the second floor terrace, but is it just a bench? Turning the handle in the right hand will give you a sound like cicadas in the summer.

Then we go up the spiral staircase to the upper garden and meet the guardian robot from Laputa, Castle in the Sky ( 天空の城ラピュタ: Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta). 



The Key Stone from Laputa, Castle in the Sky. The writing is from old Persian cuneiform.

Hi Mr. Robot! We took some pictures with our shopping bags here too.

It isn’t long that we feel we need to find food else where and with heavy heart we depart. From a far the guardian of the museum look on us and wave goodbye/beckon us to come again. Next time I would stay the whole day if possible.

Ghibli Studio has many stores in cities across Japan, it’s already a cultural significant in Japan animation and the world’s story telling.

There are Ghibli stores in some other cities and sometimes they sell specialised Ghibli theme merchandise with the local flavour.

Kamakura (鎌倉市 Kamakura-shi). You can read all about Kamakura here.

Since summer flowers are in bloom at this time of the year, Kamakura Ghibli store sells some pots with Totoro characters and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Kyoto (京都). You can read about Kyoto here

At the time, the anime Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ) was just out.


Japan Trip 2011:


Buddha – The Story in Manga and Art at Tokyo National Museum

Japan Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Art at Tokyo National Museum

The Pleasure of Tokyo Streets


Pilgrimage at Kamakura


Relax, Soak, Eat at Hakone


A Thousand Steps to Discover Kyoto


Oh deer! Nara anyone?


Above the Cloud, Yokohama 

Source: *Ghibli Museum Mitaka book guide, Wikipedia, Travelwiki, The Ghibli Museum Official website


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