For our wedding anniversary we did not go for a fancy dinner or make a short trip to the beach, we went to the Ghibli Museum!
I have never been to the Ghibli Museum, but heard a lot about it. Who doesn’t know the great works from Hayao Miyazaki? I think everyone who has an interest in Japan has stumbled about at least one anime made by Studio Ghibli, be it My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle or any other. Studio Ghibli has produced fantastic animated movies, that are inspiring and full of emotions.
It is hard to decide which one is my favorite, though I think one can agree, that My Neighbor Totoro is one of the most popular anime.
The tickets for the Ghibli Museum are just as popular and if you want to visit, you should buy tickets at least one month in advance. Though tickets for weekdays are also to be had on short notice, for a specific day and especially for the weekend they can be sold out pretty fast. The tickets are timed, which means, that they have a entrance time printed on them. Once you are inside you can take your time, but you can’t enter before the time printed on the ticket.
Right after we stepped of the train, we found the first signs of the museum and it added to the anticipation along the walk. The tickets for the day had been sold out and there was already a long line in front of the entrance, but fortunately we didn’t have to wait very long.
The Museum itself is like stepping into anime wonderland and I absolutely loved it. From the stained glas windows with Totoro characters, to the giant statue on the top of the building, there is so much to discover. I think what especially adds to the charm, is that nearly all of the exhibits are handmade and kind of old school. You can really feel the hard work and dedication that went not only into the movies, but also into creating this museum. My highlights were definitely the short movie and the creators rooms.
With your ticket (that in itself is awesome, because it’s a movie strip) you can watch a short animation in the integrated cinema. The current movie was Chou no Sumou (Mouse Sumo) and it was the most adorable thing. As you can probably already guess by the title, the short is about mice doing Sumo. An old married couple discover, that the mice in their house take part in nightly Sumo tournaments and they decide to help them win. The movie is only 13 minutes long, but it instantly became one of my favorites from Studio Ghibli.
On the second floor, you can walk through the creators rooms, which show original sketches and give an impression where the ideas for the anime are created. I could spend hours there. The Museum is really “Hands on”, which is great for children (and adults). There were large books with reference photos of plants, animals, landscapes and people and it was fun to discover the inspiration the animators took from the old photographs in the features of animated characters. Of course the rooms have shelfs full of books – some of the quite old – that can be used for reference.
On the top of the building is a five meter tall robot statue and the Keystone, both from Castle in the Sky. Though unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside at least you can take a picture with the robot on the rooftop.