Lose Your Way at The Ghibli Museum

Aaron Baggett
ghibli museum sign
Photo by Wei used under CC

Studio Ghibli is a part of my childhood in the same vein that Disney and Universal used to be before they started rolling out direct-to-video bastardized sing-a-longs of all my childhood memories. I have probably seen Pom Poko about as many times as I have seen Star Wars and believe me; I have seen Star Wars a lot.  If you have not seen Pom Poko and, like me, hold a deep appreciation for stories concerning raccoons waging war on humanity, you owe yourself the courtesy of seeing it. Actually, just go watch the entire Ghibli catalogue right now. Don’t even finish reading this. Just go. I’ll wait. Ok. Now that you’re back and a Miyazaki super fan, your next step is to visit the Ghibli Museum. Totoro will be on hand to stamp your ticket.

Photo by Dell used under CC

If I had seen that as a kid my head would have exploded from the sheer whimsical power emitting from Totoro there. I mean just look at that little girl. For all she knows, the cat bus is about to pull up at any moment. The museum itself has no set path and was designed by Hayao Miyazaki himself. It is obviously aimed at children, but adults should have no trouble becoming lost in Miyazaki’s world. Indeed, the museum’s motto is “let’s lose our way together.”

Photo by Todd Fong used under CC

Inside Ghibli Museum

The inside of the museum is almost like a maze. It looks like Bruce Wayne’s manor built in an alternate universe in which he grew up spoiled and happy without the memory of his dead parents to sully his mood 24/7. There are a couple of permanent attractions, such as the bottom floor’s history of animation showing off an impressive assortment of zoetropes, stroboscopes and other cool things I had to Google to figure out what to call them. There is also an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Hayao Miyazaki. It gives an intimate tour into his journals and drawings; and while it is impressively detailed, the most memorable aspect that it left with me is that the life of an animator really sucks. That and Hayao Miyazaki has smoked more cigarettes than Joe Camel.

inside Ghibli museum
Photo by Luisete used under CC

Castle In The Sky Robot

At the top of the museum is a full-scale replica of the robot from Castle in the Sky and it’s one of the only spots at the museum where you’re permitted to take photos.

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Photo by Dellboyy Art used under CC

Another cool thing you’ll find at the Ghibli Museum is that the ticket for a secret Ghibli film is included with the price. These films have never and will never be released outside of the museum, so this is a really good opportunity to gain something that you can hold over an annoying anime fan that likes to always name drop obscure films no one has ever seen.

Photo by Patty used under CC

Buying Tickets For Ghibli Musem

UPDATE: There’s no some limited options for buying tickets online that’ll save you a load of hassle, click here to book.

Haven't reserved tickets for Tokyo's Studio Ghibli Museum? No problem - get them online here. click here for details
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It is a great experience for the young and old alike; and for only 1000yen you can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, the Ghibli Museum is one of the most famous attractions in Tokyo and the usal way to get in is by advance purchase and the only way to make reservations is by going to a Lawson store and using their Loppi automatic ticket vendor. Oh, but the place is so popular that you might have to wait a few months in advance to actually have any kind of chance of buying tickets. They go on sale the first of every month according to the website, so keep that in mind if you plan on trying to buy any. Also, since we here at Tokyo Cheapo care about you so much, here are the steps to purchase Ghibli tickets at a Loppi vendor in English. Thanks, Google Translator!

Even though you kind of botched the language…

And if any parents are reading this and fear they might not get a chance to run off and be young again thanks to the responsibilities of parenthood, don’t worry. You can just ditch ’em at the cat bus!

(Via: Su-May)

And watch out for Ghibli fun all over the city with our Tokyo for Ghibli lovers guide.

Name: Ghibli Museum
Pricing info: Over Age 19 ¥1,000; Age 13-18 ¥700; Age 7-12 ¥400; Age 4-6 ¥100
Address: 1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181-0013
Location(s): Kichijoji, Mitaka,
Access: Mitaka
Web: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
Business hours: 10:00-18:00
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