Ghibili Museum

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Ghibili Museum

Everything you need to know

Totoro? Are you familiar of him? Have you watched his movie called “My Neighbor Totoro”? Have you seen 2003 Academy Award’s Best Animated Feature – Spirited Away (popularly known as “Sento” in Japan)? Or that story about a magician and a girl -Howl’s Moving Castle? Maybe even heard about Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke orThe Wind Rises?

Well, these are created by Studio Ghibili (pronounced as Jiburi), perhaps the most beloved animation studio in all of Japan. Ghibili films are mostly direceted by Hayao Miyazakiwho also designed the Museum to make visitors feel being in a story book and being a grasp of his imagination and work; the Studio Ghibili.

Ghibili Museum - Totoro
Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro

Where to buy tickets?

At Lawson Stores

Tickets go on sale on from 10:00am (JPN Time) on 10th day of every month for slots on the next month. So if you plan to go on February 1, you buy tickets on the 10th of January.
To reserve tickets, go to a ticket selling machine at any Lawson convenience store. Select Ghibili Museum, select your date and time, enter your information and pay at the counter.
No refunds or change of time/dates are available for this.

Online Tickets (via Lawson Ent.)

Tickets go on sale on from 10:00am (JPN Time) on 10th day of every month for slots on the next month. So if you plan to go on February 1, you buy tickets on the 10th of January.
Only up to 6 tickets per can be purchased together (so if you’re 10 – 2 people will buy online). The person who purchased it should bring along a Passport (for Foreigners) or any identification for Japanese.
No refunds or change of time/dates are available for this.
Everyone must enter at a specified time together.

Via JTB Group

JTB is a popular travel agency where you can also buy your ticket.
Tickets go on sale from the 1st day of every month for the following four months. So you can buy tickets from February 1for a specific day in February to May.
Note that you can’t change dates/times too.

Note that you cannot buy tickets at the Ghibili Museum.

How much does a ticket cost?

For Ages 19 and over – JPY 1,000
Ages 13 to 18 – JPY 700
Ages 7 to 12 – JPY 400
Ages 4 to 6 – JPY 100
Children under 4 – Free

This is already inclusive of tax and the viewing of a short film.
Prices are the standard rate, rate given by travel agencies may differ as the add service fees.

Ghibili Museum - Little Dusts

When is it open?

The museum is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and is closed on Tuesdays.

There are 4 admission times you can choose from, please enter the premises at scheduled.

1st admission:    10:00 am – 10:30 am
2nd admission:   12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
3rd admission:   2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
4th admission:    4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

This doesn’t mean however, that you can only be in the museum for 2 hours, they don’t specify what time you go out; you explore from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Straw Hat Café is open will open at 11:00 am.

How to go there?

Ghibili Museum is located in Mitaka. Ride a JR train to Mitaka Station.

From Mitaka station south exit, you can have a 15 minute walk along to TamagawaJosui (Waterworks).

Or you can ride a community bus from Mitaka Station to the museum for JPY 210 (Adult One Way) / JPY 320 (round trip) and JPY 110 (Children under 12) / 160 (round trip).

Bus to Ghibili Museum

Random Rambling :

It was not really on my original itinerary to go to this place. But I really wanted to trycouchsurfing and I requested to stay at a Japanese couples’ home. They accepted me and as we were communicating, they asked me if I’d like to go to Studio Ghibili since they knew I was a fan of anime. Without letting the opportunity go, I said YES, because 1) I love Ghibili films (but I discovered Japanese people were much more IN LOVE with them – we discussed Ghibili films the night before and it was such a great topic) 2) The experience would be great and most Japanese has not been there since tickets were tricky. So we went to Ghibili Museum together and it was unbelievably enchanting, I’m eternally grateful to my hosts and I hope everyone goes there.

The Ghibili Museum

The Ghibili Museum is adorably cute on the outside; you are going to be greeted by Ghibili’s most beloved mascot – TOTORO! While you are waiting to get inside, the staff will check your tickets/reservations and will remind you that no picture taking is allowed inside the building.

As you enter, a real ticket will be given to you. The tickets they give away are film of a Ghibili Movie (mine is Chihiro hiding behind a customer as she enters the Sento while hiding from monsters).

The building is divided into 3 floors and a rooftop.

Ghibili Museum Ticket

The Basement

The History and Science of Animation – Exhibition Room

As you enter and get your tickets, you’ll go to the left and the first door is perhaps one of my favorite places in the museum. It’s an exhibition room featuring The History and Science of animation.

I’m not sure if I can describe it well but it was so magical! There were things like a part of a doll house, you try to open the doors and you’ll see a setting; Characters eating or maybe talking to each other.

There were also boxes that were filled with simple pictures, layered properly and painted amazingly that it looks 3D (without special effects!) some where even moving. An amazing part was the moving pictures: you stand on one side and a bird looks like flying and Totoro walking (this is called a three-dimensional zoe trope).

You could also wind things so that the film plays or pictures moves. The place can’t be fully explained by words, it was too enchanting – it was the magic of animation and after that my respect for animators grew.

The Hall

Outside the magical door, is a lobby type place and there was this cool big chair; when I tried to sit on it there was a little movie (only a few frames) playing and only the ones who try it can see. The bathrooms were too adorable, instead of using the bigger entrance, use the smaller one where you need to duck to get into the bathroom – it’s a fun experience.

The windows ere filled with stained glass featuring characters of Ghibili films.

Ghibili Museum - Glass Windows
If you look carefully: Haku (Spirited Away), Totoro, Dear God (Princess Mononoke), an Airplane (The Wind Rises), Ghibili Museum Logo

Mini Theater

Everyone get’s a chance to watch a 15 minute feature film of Ghibili Museum. The show we watched was “Boro the Catterpillar”. It was animated like most Studio Ghibili films, drawn simply, the characters were cute (especially Boro, you’ll love him), the story was enchanting and it makes you feel happy after watching. And one thing I commend about it was only one person did the sound effects (used his voice) – so a few moments were silent, then you can hear “nom-nom” while Boro is eating or a “zzzuuu” buzzing or a “tugsh”; it was funny and adorable. And everyone; children, adults, senior citizens; Japanese and Foreigners were enjoying the film (you should’ve heard me laugh), everyone was smiling afterwards, it was one of my best movie experiences.

Outside the Hall

There was a mini-garden outside the hall and where picture taking was allowed.

This is such and interactive museum, a first in my experience. Where you get results because your one curious person and it just brings out the child in you.

Ghibili Museum - Glass
Satsuke (My Neighbor Totoro)
Ghibili Museum - Outside

The First Floor

Where a Film is Born

The first floor is like an animation studio, it’s a five room exhibit making you know what an animator’s place is like. There is table, one were filled with a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s colored pencils (some where very short) and there were sofas and tea sets (it was such a cute set-up).

The walls were filled with illustrations; the initial drawings of characters, story boards and background designs. There were books on the shelves and a cute airplane on the ceiling.

Some things were also interactive (e.g. you look into a whole while whirling something and the film moves). Everything here is Magical! (gaah! I was literally dancing with giddiness)

Ghibili Museum - Map
Ghibili Museum Map

The Second Floor

Cat Bus

Cat Bus: the reason I hate being an adult >.< If you have seen My Neighbor Totoro then you’ll be probably envious of the kids too!

Mamma Aiuto

This is the name of the group of Sky Pirates from “Porco Rosso” movie. This is a souvenir shop where everything is related to Studio Ghibili; you could buy cookies, stuff toys, T-shirts, Magnets, Stationery and Jewelry.

They accept credit cards so I bought a few affordable goodies.


The names comes from the Mitaka (where the Museum is located) – Mi (three) and Taka (Hawk). This is a reading room and bookstore inside the Musuem featuring books recommended by Hayao Miyazaki himself.

The Rooftop Garden

From the Cat bus area, go outside and can see something in the picture and if you’re a curious person, you’ll discover it creates a sound or water. From there, climb upstairs to the rooftop.

Ghibili Museum - Robot Giant
Robot Giant

The rooftop, you can see a five meter statue of the Robot from Castle in the Sky (Laputa as known in Japan). This was formed from a coppered plate and took 2 years to create.  There is also a replica of the control room stone found in Laputa.

Ghibili Museum - Laputa Code

Outside the Other Side

From the second floor, you will cross a mini bridge to get a view of the Park.

When you go down stairs you will see a lot of people hanging around our eating because the café is on the 1st floor.

Straw Hat Café

This is the only sit-down café inside Ghibili Museum. The café serves hot and cold foods, snacks and desserts.

Pump and Mini House

On the basement floor, perhaps the right side of the entrance, there is a water pump and cute little house.

Ghibili Musuem is the most unique museum I have ever been to. The experience was worth it, though I was there only for a few hours it still had a great impact in me. It’s an enchanting place, that makes you leave with your inner-child happy and a heart filled with magic.

Ghibili Musuem

Comments (21)

  • Anna

    July 29, 2018 at 9:02 PM

    I am so sad I did not know that this place existed! I visited Japan a year ago and spent 4 days in Tokyo…wish we had gone here!

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