One of Japan’s most celebrated modern museum offerings is likely in the form of the popular “Ghibli Museum” in Tokyo. This wonderful museum is often a primary destination of choice for international tourists familiar with the well-known “Studio Ghibli” and its many wonderful animated movies. These include such delights as “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, “Princess Mononoke”, and the academy award-winning “Spirited Away”. The studio offers a lot of opportunities to get a little more intimate with its animated films and also the endearing array of characters it is so famous for.
One of the main concepts of the museum is in the way that it intends to regard all of its visitors, even toddlers, as special guests of the museum rather than grouping them with their adult family members. This is evidenced in the way that the staff interacts with visitors by relating directly to each person in a group, rather than only speaking to adults as representatives of the group. Another nice aspect of the museum is that it is really focused on showing an educational side of animation in addition to simply entertainment. It is considered to be one of the best museums to visit in Japan if you are interested in the process of producing an animated film. This includes a room that reveals the creative space which gives rise to such amazing movies. Other areas show some of the actual production processes of making hand-drawn animation.
Let’s have a quick tour of some of the museum’s various exhibits and see what entertaining joy you can anticipate finding during a visit to Ghibli Museum.
The entrance to the museum is graced by the large and adorable Ghibli character known as Totoro. He is from the animated feature called “My Neighbor Totoro” and is the studio mascot waiting to greet its museum visitors. Inside the building one finds wonderful lamps and windows which are made of skillfully hand-crafted stained glass depicting many Studio Ghibli characters. The walls and ceiling in some rooms are painted with beautifully fanciful skies and also more characters. It is often as though the rooms of the museum itself are rooms from one of the studio’s films. One room is dedicated to children enjoying the famous “Cat Bus” character from “My Neighbor Totoro”. The studio had wanted to make it the same size as in the movie, but made it a little smaller due to space requirements. Children can still climb inside the cozy bus and enjoy an experience like the movie. On the roof is the museum’s “robot guardian” statue from the movie “Castle in the Sky” and a wild seasonal garden for visitors to sit and enjoy.
There is also a gorgeous theater in which to sit and enjoy a movie made especially for the museum itself. These movies are generally only viewable at the museum, so it can be a truly special treat.
Enjoy the Ghibli Museum and make sure you bring any children you may have handy along with you.