Published on November 6th, 2015 | by Pius0
Studio Ghibli museum in Japan
Look! Totoro Is Waiting for Us at the Entrance!
When you walk along Kichijoji Avenue, in the shade of the tall green trees of Mitaka’s Inokashira Park, you come upon a colorful building. Standing in front of a sign that says “Ghibli Museum, Mitaka”, a very large Totoro welcomes you at the entrance. When you look through the portholes, soot-black Dust Bunnies are there as well. But this is not the real entrance. Totoro shows you where the real entrance is.
Open the door and welcome to wonderland! Every window and lamp is lovingly hand-crafted with beautiful and colorful stained glass using Ghibli characters, pretty plants and flowers, and forest animals. When the sun is shining, the vivid colors of the glass are reflected in splashes of colored light on the stone floors.
Welcome to The Space of Wonder
Look up at the ceiling, and you will find it covered in fresco painting. In the center of a blue sky, there is a shining, smiling sun. Trees stretching up towards the sky are filled with grapes, melons, deliciously ripe fruits, and beautiful blossoms which you may never have seen before. If you look carefully, you may see Kiki on her broom, Nausicaa on her jet glider, or other characters flying through the sky.
Tickets are given over to visitors here in exchange for reservation coupons. These tickets are made of pieces of the actual 35mm film prints that were used in theaters. You can hold it up to the light and see which scene from a Ghibli film turned out to be your ticket. Since the Ghibli Museum treats every child as an independent guest, even very small children can stand on the special platform at the reception counter to be handed their own ticket.
The Central Hall – The Wind Whistles and the Light Shines Through
Here is a towering open space extending up through the entire height of the Museum. In the glass dome at its center, a yellow whale swims in the ocean and the blades of a giant fan rotate overhead. Shining marbles of colored glass are fitted into the ironwork of the stairs and handrails. Taking in the whole room from bottom to top, you will discover a maze of spiral stairways, bridged passages, and overhanging terraces. This marvelous space transports you into the world of Hayao Miyazaki and the strange buildings which often appear in his films. Here you can see and feel them for yourself. Please pause before entering the exhibition rooms, and find your own secret favorite spots.
A boy’s Room – A Gift From Grampa
This is one of the five rooms on the first floor called “Where a Film is Born”. The room seems to belong to someone who was sketching at the desk just a few minutes ago. The room is filled with books and toys. The walls are all covered with illustrations and sketches. Hanging from the ceiling are a model of an airplane and a model of a Pteranodon. It’s a place where the owner of the room has stored his favorite things. This room provides lots of inspiration for what will go on to the blank piece of paper on the desk to become the origin of an actual film.
After walking through the five rooms, you will get an idea how an animated film is made. With a little bit of an idea and a flash of inspiration, a film-maker struggles with his work and ultimately completes the film.
Ghibli Original Short Animated Feature at the Museum Only!
The Saturn Theater is a small theater in the basement of the Museum with only about eighty seats. There you can watch an original short animated feature from Ghibli, which can only be seen in the Museum’s theatre. A blue sky and lots of colorful flowers are drawn on the ceiling and walls. When the film ends, the windows open and the sunshine comes in. You can sit on a little red bench or the back of a seat to see the big screen without being blocked.
Most of you probably don’t know how a movie is projected. But here the projectionist’s room, which looks like a tiny train car, is transparent, so you can see how film moves through a projector.
(The Theater houses approximately 80 seats)
The Reading Room “TRI HAWKS” full of our recommended books
“TRI HAWKS (a pun on the name of the city “Mi-taka”–literally 3-hawks–where the museum is located)” is the reading room inside the Ghibli Museum. It was created to communicate the Museum’s wish to have children see, touch, and feel strange and mysterious things through books.
Books which are specially recommended by Hayao Miyazaki and the Museum can be found here for children to browse through freely.
【Art Collection of the Ghibli Museum】
Available for sale at the Ghibli Museum, the “The Art Collection of the Ghibli Museum” includes cell art, art print cells, hand painted cells, and woodblock prints of scenes from Studio Ghibli films.
The production of the framed cell art is supervised by the museum’s Executive Director Hayao Miyazaki and the color design is under the direction of Michiyo Yasuda. The woodblock prints are made by Keisuke Miyazaki.
Poof, Boing! The Cat Bus
The Cat Bus is waiting for you in a room on the second floor. It must be everyone’s dream to touch and ride the Cat Bus. In order to make this wish come true, we made a room with an actual Cat Bus. If you remember the Cat Bus from “My Neighbor Totoro”, you have probably dreamed of touching its fluffy fur. Now you can do it. Next to the Cat Bus, a bunch of soot-black Dust Bunnies are waiting for you to play with them. We wanted to make the Cat Bus as big as it is in the film, but because it wouldn’t fit in the museum, we ended up downsizing him a little bit.
The Cat Bus is for elementary school children and under (age 12 and under) only.
Our Guardian – The Robot Soldier on the Rooftop
From the terrace off the Cat Bus Room, a spiral stairway leads to the roof, and there you will find a grassy rooftop garden. From this lofty post, a serene five-meter-tall Robot Soldier (from “Laputa Castle in the Sky”) looks down on Inokashira Park.
But have no fear; the Robot Soldier is the Guardian of the Ghibli Museum!
Passing behind the Robot Soldier you will find yourself in a patch of wildly growing vegetation which makes you forget that you are on a building and not in the park itself. Please take a moment to experience the seasonally changing plant life.
An Old-Fashioned Hand-Pump Well
A cozy patio is located between the Museum and the Cafe. Surrounded by tiled roofs and colorful flowers, the space is full of sunshine. Looking up from here, you see the vivid orange walls of the Cafe. There is a hand-pumped well in the central gazebo. If you pump it hard, you will be rewarded with fresh, cool water from the well. The well is set in an area full of specially handcrafted ornaments and designs, including a metal hatch cover that looks like a smiling face. Just nearby, stacks of firewood are stored in front of a rustic shed. When winter comes, the firewood can be winched up to the floor above and used to fire the wood-burning stove in the cafe. You may even encounter some of our staff chopping firewood.
A Towering Pine Marks the Terrace of the Cafe.
Surrounded by some of Mitaka’s rare red pines and set off against the bright orange wall and red window frames of the building that houses it, the deck of the Straw Hat Cafe provides you with an open outdoors atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy the natural setting of Inokashira Park. There is a washstand decorated with colorful tiles just to the side of the Cafe deck so you can wash your hands before mealtime.
The Cafe serves both cold and hot meals, snacks and desserts. The menu is simple and the variety is limited, but almost everything comes from organic farms, is very fresh and nutritious, and we cook them with loving care and patience. We specially recommend the jumbo fried pork cutlet sandwich, the fruit sandwich, and the strawberry short cake. From the “to go” menu, there are ultimate hot dogs, gelato and soothing roasted barley tea.
Experience the changing seasons and enjoy the slow passing of time at the Cafe after your visit to the museum.
You’ll Find Your Treasure Here.
The museum shop “MAMMA AIUTO!” was named after the sky pirates in “Porco Rosso”. It means “Mama, help me” in Italian. Here at this shop, you will find your favorite Studio Ghibli character products along with original Museum gift items.
At the reading room “TRI HAWKS”, you will find picture books and children’s books which are recommended reading selected by the Ghibli Museum and its executive director Hayao Miyazaki. This reading room was opened with the wish that it be a place to give children the opportunity to read.
The two places and their window displays are filled with things that are pretty, unexpected, and completely out of the ordinary. Spend some time to look around… you might discover something special for yourself.