If you’re a Studio Ghibli fan, no trip to Tokyo is complete without a trip to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo! Studio Ghibli, which is often referred to as ‘Japan’s answer to Disney’ (although that description doesn’t do it justice), is one of the very first Japanese exports that I fell in love with. I remember going to an empty cinema with my sister and dad to see Spirited Away and I still cry my eyes out every time I see it. Anyway, although we were still a bit jet-lagged, Oana and I went to the Ghibli Museum on our second day in Tokyo.
If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo and want to go to the museum, you’ll need to book your tickets three months in advance. It’s £12 per ticket (far cheaper than the Harry Potter experience, so worth the money) and you can only book them through JTB or, of course, ask your travel agent to book them if you’re leaving the planning to the experts!
The museum’s easy to get to. Simply take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku station to Mitaka, which is a lovely little town on the outskirts of Tokyo. The museum’s very well sign-posted and you can either take a bus straight to the museum (sadly, not an actual cat bus) or do what we did and take the 10/15 minute walk. We went on a Monday, so Mitaka was very quiet and we were among crowds of school children and parents (of course, we’re children at heart).
There’s no taking photos inside the museum, which is actually a very good thing because you spend all your time looking at things rather than focussing your camera. And I say that despite taking 1500 odd photos over the holiday. Keep an eye out for the stained-glass windows featuring all your favourite Ghibli characters and early concept sketches from the shows. There’s also a cinema showing museum-exclusive short films, but you’re limited to one ticket per person. The film we saw was about sumo-wrestling mice and the story was fortunately easy enough to follow without any subtitles! There is also a room hosting temporary exhibitions – when we were there it was a collection of director Hayao Miyazaki’s art for The Nutcracker, complete with giant novelty cakes. And, of course, there’s an actual cat bus from My Neighbour Totoro, but only children can climb on that one…
Outside, we were able to take some photos.
I can’t recommend the museum enough for Ghibli fans! If you go in the morning, you can also stroll back through Inokashira Park and pick up a delicious cheap lunch from one of the supermarkets. We met a lovely elderly lady here and managed to have a (very) limited conversation with her, switching between Japanese and English every 10 seconds!
Next on the blog… the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku!