(Image by Ben Stiefel via https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheiligh/14209862463/)
Co-founded by director Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli is behind some of Japan’s—and the world’s! —most beloved animated films, such as “My Neighbour Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away,” and “Ponyo.”
The wonderful Ghibli Museum attracts a huge number of visitors, and tickets are extremely limited. In this article we will go over ways you can get tickets, and other tips on visiting the Ghibli Museum!
About the Ghibli Museum
The name “Ghibli” is from the Italian word for a hot desert wind (ghibli), and it was Hayao Miyazaki’s hope that Studio Ghibli would “blow a new wind through the anime industry.”
Miyazaki aimed to create worlds that were intricate and lush, and with so much attention to movement and detail that viewers might feel that these worlds could be real, no matter what sort of fantastical or amazing things happened in the course of the story.
The Ghibli Museum is dedicated to the studio’s work, as well as to illuminating the mechanics of the world of animation. Even though there are many references to the lovable films within the museum, you do not have to be a Studio Ghibli fan to appreciate the amazing artistry on display or be completely charmed by the exhibits!
Located on the edge of Tokyo’s Inokashira Park, the Ghibli Museum is a multi-storied mansion full of twists and turns, tiny doors, winding staircases, and a rooftop garden — recreating the mood of the enchanting Studio Ghibli universe.
Visiting the Ghibli Museum
Once you have your tickets and arrive, be prepared to wait in a bit of a line before entering. Museum staff will be checking tickets and passports while you wait.
Photography is not allowed inside, which only adds to the excitement and mystery of the place.
Ghibli Museum Exhibits
(Image by Kim Ahlström via https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimtaro/317885327/)
The main exhibition hall demonstrates the magic of animation, with over-sized and intricate mechanical contraptions. Then there are smaller exhibition rooms throughout the building – some permanent, and others that change from year to year.
One permanent exhibition room recreates a Studio Ghibli art director’s studio to include the tiniest details, even down to real bowls of candy on the desk, and pots of gouache paint with paintbrushes used to paint the gorgeous backdrops of these lovable films.
The walls of this “studio” are covered in fine art, and Studio Ghibli is somewhat unique among animation studios in that they place important emphasis on the background, spending as much time developing the mood and details of the world the characters live in, as they spend developing the action elements in the foreground. There are several interesting scrapbooks on display, showing how the artists were inspired by nature, feats of engineering, and abstract art to create these mesmerising films.
Another exhibit area features interactive, life-size recreations of popular film settings, such as the interior of the amazing flying ships of “Laputa” where you can explore the galley, opening drawers and cabinets to find them full of kitchen utensils and cooking ingredients.
Near the top of the museum, visitors have the chance to play with one of the most adored characters in the Studio Ghibli films: a giant plush catbus from “My Neighbour Totoro!” Please note that only children aged 12 and under can climb inside.
In addition to various exhibition rooms, back on the ground floor is a delightful miniature theatre, which shows an animated short from the studio, created exclusively for the Ghibli Museum and only viewable here. The short movie plays several times each hour.
You may be pleasantly surprised that almost everywhere you turn at the museum, you will find English-speaking staff who are extremely versed in all things Studio Ghibli, so any question you might have can be easily answered.
Even though most tickets are for specific timed entries (typically 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, or 4:00 pm), once you are in you can stay as long as you like (until closing). Make sure to arrive on time, and plan to allot at least 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the exhibition halls, view the short, animated film, and explore the gift shop on the top floor.
Getting Tickets to the Ghibli Museum
Getting tickets to the Ghibli Museum is no small feat. Apart from the fact that tickets sell out well in advance, the ticket-buying process is also not as simple as most travellers wish it were!
So, the first thing to do is determine when you want to visit. Make sure to check the Ghibli Museum calendar for closures (which happen at year-end, and irregularly throughout the year for exhibit changes).
Tickets typically go on sale one or two months in advance, but some methods allow you to get tickets even sooner. No matter which method you pursue, keep in mind that tickets sell out very soon after going on sale!
To keep this article short and sweet, here are some of the best ways to get tickets to the Ghibli Museum: –
- Via Lawson
- Via Voyagin
- Via Klook
- Via JTB
- Via tours that include tickets to the Ghibli Museum
1-1-83 Simorenjaku, Mitaka-shi
(Image by Justin Doub via https://www.flickr.com/photos/hikikomori/157532424/)
The museum can be reached from Mitaka Station on the JR Chuo Line (15 minutes, 220 yen from Shinjuku Station). There are shuttle buses from the station to the museum (210 yen one way, 320 yen roundtrip, children are half price), while a taxi ride costs about 750 yen. Alternatively, you can walk in about 20 minutes from Mitaka Station or from Kichijoji Station through Inokashira Park.
Ages 19 and over: 1000 yen
- Ages 13 – 18: 700 yen
- Ages 7 – 12: 400 yen
- Ages 4 – 6: 100 yen
- Ages 3 and under: Free
10am – 6pm