Visiting Ghibli Museum when traveling to Tokyo is a must-do. It’s one of the most famous museums in the country. It is not a typical museum at all which is why so many people flock there to explore it. Here’s everything you need to know about Studio Ghibli before you go!
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About Ghibli Museum in Tokyo
While kids in the US grow up watching Disney movies, kids in Japan grow up watching anime. Anime plays a major role in Japanese Culture so it comes to no surprise that the most famous animation studio in Japan is the anime studio Ghibli. It is best known for its anime movies such as “My neighbor Totoro”, “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo”. The Ghibli Museum is a tribute to the studio’s many creations and allows you to have a unique experience of discovering the world of anime. Climb narrow stairways, spot anime characters in hidden corners and, naturally, watch anime movies.
What to expect at the Ghibli Museum
The three-story museum, which is an attraction in itself, was designed by Hayao Miyazaki. He is also the director of Studio Ghibli. Immerse yourself in the bizarre and extraordinary world of his movies and many other productions of the world-famous Ghibli Studios.
In the first area of the exhibition, you can learn the optical and technical background in drawing and producing a cartoon. Trying to navigate ourselves through the winding staircases, intermediate galleries, and elevators throughout the house, we moved on to an area where we could watch an exclusive Ghibli movie, only in Japanese though. In fact, the Museum’s motto is “Let’s get lost together”. Other exhibition areas feature life-size anime characters, props and film settings, a giant plush cat bus from “My Neighbor Totoro”, a green rooftop garden and an intimate tour into Miyazaki’s journals and drawings. As it is typical for museums, you will also find a gift shop on the third floor.
Not your average museum!
Ghibli Museum is NOT a traditional museum! Let the executive director, Hayao Miyazaki, try to convince you:
A museum that is interesting and which relaxes the soul
A museum where much can be discovered
A museum based on a clear and consistent philosophy
A museum where those seeking enjoyment can enjoy,
Those seeking to ponder can ponder, and those seeking to feel can feel
A museum that makes you feel more enriched
When you leave than when you entered!
– Hayao Miyazaki
As the statement of Miyazaki emphasizes, the Ghibli Museum is a unique and immersive experience. Rather than just walking from exhibit to exhibit, you will be fully immersed and interact with the museum. It almost feels like entering a fairy tale!
How to get Ghibli Museum tickets
Tickets cannot be purchased at Ghibli Museum!
Many people unsuccessfully travel to Ghibli Museum just to find out that there are no tickets available. Because the Ghibli Museum is located a bit outside the city center, we don’t want you to waste your precious time in vain. Be sure to reserve your Studio Ghibli tickets before you go. You have two options:
Purchasing your tickets online and in advance is surely the most convenient way to secure a visit to Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. Ticket prices start at $47.
Purchasing Ghibli tickets in Japan
You could also purchase your tickets in Japan. While this seems to be a convenient way too, there is a catch. To buy your tickets at the so-called Loppi automatic ticket machines located inside many Lawson convenience stores, you need to have been in Japan for at least a month as tickets are only sold on the 10th of the previous month. For most travelers, buying tickets one month prior is not possible. We still wanted to list this option, however, in case it does apply to some of you. Please also note that the machines are only available in Japanese, so it can be a tricky process until you finally manage to obtain your tickets.
Take a guided tour
Another great way to visit Ghibli Museum is by taking a guided tour. Once you book a tour, you do not have to worry about buying your ticket as the tour already includes everything. I personally can recommend this tour, because it does not include admission to Studio Ghibli but also lunch and a comfortable transfer to Mitaka, where you will learn some interesting facts about the Ghibli Museum. Upon arriving, you can take your time and freely explore the museum.
Regardless of which type of ticket you decide to buy, always make sure to submit the correct personal details for all people joining you. Tickets are personalized and cannot be transferred. Don’t forget to bring your passport or state-issued ID.
How to get to Ghibli Museum
If you are not taking a tour, you can reach Ghibli Studio by public transport. It is located in the Western suburb of Mitaka, adjacent to Inokashira Park. The fastest way to get there is by taking the JR East Line from Shinjuku Station. With this route, you should reach Mitaka Station in about 30 minutes. After that, take the South or Minami exit and follow the signs to Ghibli Museum. From here, you can either walk the rest within 15 minutes or take the shuttle bus that is run by the museum. A one-way trip costs about $2.
Ghibli Museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm except for Tuesdays when the museum stays shut. The Japanese appreciate punctuality, so please try to get there on time! In reality, however, the staff will also let you in if you’re 30 minutes later than indicated on your ticket.
In Japan, always remember: early is on time and on time is late!
Is the Ghibli Museum worth it?
Firstly, let me tell you that Ghibli Museum tickets are some of the toughest tickets to score! Purchasing my tickets online felt like a huge success and made me feel even more excited. Generally, the Ghibli Museum is a must-visit for anyone visiting Tokyo. In fact, it is one of the top Tokyo attractions that you cannot miss, whether you are an anime fan or not. You will be taken on a fun journey starting at the history of anime and ending with the creative process of the studio. The journey was designed in a very entertaining way! Last but not least, if you come here with your kids, you will see their eyes filled with excitement throughout the whole visit.
Another highlight of my visit to Ghibli Museum was the free gift I received. Upon presenting your ticket at the entrance, you will receive a movie ticket. The tickets feature a movie reel displaying scenes from the various Ghibli movies. It’s a fun and free souvenir for you to take home!
Can I take photos inside Ghibli Museum?
Unfortunately, the museum follows a strict no-photo. The policy aims at encouraging visitors to fully immerse themselves in the museum without being distracted by photos.
Is the museum wheelchair accessible?
Yes, it is! All facilities in the three-story museum are accessible by wheelchair. It is also possible to rent a wheelchair onsite.
Are there restrooms inside the Ghibli Museum?
As with most tourist attractions in Tokyo, you will find (wheelchair-accessible) restrooms on all floors at Ghibli Museum.
Are there lockers at Ghibli Museum?
If you want to store your personal belongings while visiting, you can use the coin lockers onsite.
Is there a restaurant inside Ghibli Museum?
There are two nearby places for you to grab a bite: a food truck that sells hot dogs as well as a small café called “Straw Hut” that will satisfy every sweet tooth.
How long do I need at the Ghibli Museum?
How long you stay at Ghibli Museum is completely up to you. I would plan at least two hours to fully enjoy the experience.
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When I first traveled to Japan, I immediately fell in love with the culture, landscapes, and endless fun experiences. Tokyo as the capital fascinated me the most. The city is vibrant and full of contrasts. I'm here to inform you about Tokyo’s major attractions and best-kept secrets.