Japan 2016, part 8: Ghibli Museum

November 17th, 2016

This is the end of my Japan 2016 entries! We ended with something I’ve been really wanting to do: visit the Ghibli Museum. For those who aren’t familiar with Studio Ghibli, it’s an animation studio in Japan that has made many beautiful, award-winning Anime films. Their most well known ones include Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle. (Full list here.)

I actually tried to get tickets two years ago, but sadly, they sold out. This time, I put in my request 3 months in advanced, which is the earliest they allow, and managed to get tickets for my third choice in date. On August 11th, we went to Mitaka to see the Ghibli Museum!

The first thing we saw as we got close was Totoro greeting us through a window. That immediately put a smile on my face, and I felt so excited to be there.

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As you can see, the building has a very whimsical feel, and I wish I could show you photos of the inside… but I can’t! The museum does not allow photography inside because they want you to take in the experience with “your own eyes and senses, instead of through a camera’s viewfinder”. (Check out their website instead for photos.)

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The whimsical and charming feel of the outside also translates inside. Many of the windows are stained glass designs with their characters in it. The walls are painted in a way that remind me of the small, cute towns like in Kiki’s or Howl’s. They also don’t have a set path in the museum, so you can wander in whatever order you want. Everything just felt so thoughtful. Even our admission tickets were from their film reels!

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The first thing we did was watch the short feature film, which changes monthly and can only be seen at the museum. They were showing Mei and the Kittenbus, which I was so happy for! I had heard that they made a short film based on Mei in My Neighbor Totoro, and I really wanted to see it. It shows how she befriends a kittenbus, who takes her to see the other cat buses. Aahh, it was so cute.

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We were also fortunate to go after the new Catbus display finished! They’ve had a smaller Catbus display for children that they could play with, and now they have another one that is for everyone. It’s a replica of the inside of the Catbus with large soft and furry seats! You can also go to the rooftop via a spiral staircase, where you’ll find the Robot Soldier from Laputa Castle in the Sky.

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Though the museum is great for Ghibli fans, I think it’s great for animation fans in general too. Most of the displays were actually focused on the art of animation, and there were many interactive displays. I’ve probably gushed about it enough, but it is one of my favorite things we saw in Japan. A definite recommend!

From there, we walked back to the station and had lunch nearby at a chain called Ginza Lion. I ordered an omurice, which is an omelette with rice inside.

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Then we headed to Akihabara! Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time shopping there two years ago, but I wasn’t as excited this time. (Though, I did have to stop myself from spending hundreds of dollars on rare One Piece figures.) I only bought a few small things before leaving.

At night, we went back to Tokyo Station for dinner and chose Donburiko. We heard that it has an amazing Oyakodon, which translates to “parent and child rice bowl”. It’s named as such because it has both chicken and egg (haha, get it?). It’s probably the best oyakodon we’ve had! So simple, yet so satisfying, and the egg was perfect.

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The next day (8/12) was our last in Japan. We started off by having sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market. We walked around, trying to pick a place, and ended up doing omakase (chef’s choice) at Tsunao. This was good! Though last trip, we went to Sushi Sen, and I think I liked that one more.

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Before we left for the airport, we took a quick trip to Artnea, which is a Square Enix cafe. It’s pretty small, and part of it is a display area of Square Enix figures. The other part is a store and cafe. Unfortunately, there was a wait to eat the cafe, and we had to catch our flight, so we didn’t stay.

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And that’s the end of my latest trip to Japan! My Flickr album and my food tumblr have more photos that I haven’t posted here, and if you missed any entries, they’re all in my Japan category. Japan still remains one of my favorite places to visit, and I’m pretty sure this won’t be my last time there :)

18 Responses to “Japan 2016, part 8: Ghibli Museum”

  • Rezina says:

    Omg!! I’m so jealous. Way to be prepared! I had no idea you had to reserve everything in advance. Not that I’m prepared to go to Japan anytime soon but that’s good to know. Everything is so cute – the admission tickets look awesome. I like how they’re different! Now I want to go visit, haha.

    Looks like you had a lot of fun (the food looks really yummy too).

    • Cat says:

      Fortunately, most things you don’t have to book in advance! The Ghibli Museum lets in a small number each day, and they limit how many tickets are sold overseas. They end up selling out quickly! That was really the only attraction we had to reserve beforehand :)

  • Kenny says:

    It sounds like you had a fantastic time in Japan, Cat. I’ve been wanting to go for years. Love collecting Japanese stuff and exploring Japanese culture.

    • Cat says:

      I hope you’ll be able to go one day! Japan is amazing! Also, not sure why, but your comments went into moderation, so I approved the first one. I’ll delete the duplicate one :)

  • Gretch says:

    Oh my goodness, Japan is gorgeous! And your photos are really stunning! I’d love to visit there one day.

    I’d love to visit Ghibli Museum too. I’m a fan of their studio works and the place looks fun.

    I’ve only ever heard Akihabara in animes, I’d love to visit that too.

  • Georgie says:

    I am not a die-hard fan of Studio Ghibli but I do love SG films. A lot. I love My Neighbour Totoro! I don’t know if it’s my favourite one (I really do love Laputa) but I love the character of Totoro. It totally makes sense that photography is not allowed. It is a shame when you want to show people what a place looks like inside, but I’m sure you had a great experience especially without people taking photos on their iPads and being engrossed with sharing pictures on social media. It’s crazy how some attractions are just riddled with people trying to take photos or videos of everything.

    I don’t think I have heard of omurice! I will have to keep an eye out for it next time I visit Japan.

  • Katy says:

    Oh my gosh, the Ghibli Museum looks amazing! I’m watching Spirited Away right now. I love the fact that they don’t let you take photographs, what a great attitude! I love the colours of the building, and then the greenery climbing up the walls. Even from the outside, it looks magical – as does the Square Enix cafe, but in a totally different way!

    The Oyakodon looks delicious! Your trips to Japan always look amazing!

  • Tara says:

    I am not a Studio Ghibli fan, but this place looks great and perfect for those who love SG! :D I love that building covered in green! Kind of a shame they won’t allow photography inside of it, though I sort of see where they’re coming from.

    Yum at the food photos! Omurice is one of my favourite rice dishes when I’m in the mood for them. The Oyakodon looks so good! I want some now :D

    That SQENIX Cafe looks AMAZING. I’d totally stop by there just to see the interior.

    Thanks for sharing all of your trip, Cat! What a fabulous adventure! ^^

  • Pauline says:

    Wow, well done on getting those tickets, I can imagine them being really high in demand! :-) I love Studio Ghibli! Very jealous. I love Spirited Away!

    Thank you for sharing your Japan adventures, I would love to explore the Japan and the Japanese culture soon :-)

  • Nancy says:

    It’s awesome that you finally got a chance to visit the Ghibli Museum! Every time you blog about Japan, I feel the need to book a trip asap XD. The admission tickets look pretty cool with it being film-styled. My boyfriend and I went to a little animation show at Disney yesterday and we were into the whole thing. I’m sure we’d love the Ghibli Museum too.

    The food looks delicious! I like how the oyakodon you pretty much sums up the parent and the child XD. Come to think of it, I never had chicken with eggs before! The nigiri looks AMAZING!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your experience of Japan! I literally enjoyed everything through the pictures you shared :D.

  • Karin says:

    Aah, I’m so envious you got to see the Ghibli Museum!! D: I would love to go there myself, and the way you describe it it sounds just as awesome as I imagine! Bummer you weren’t allowed to take photos of the inside though.

    Mei and the Kittenbus must’ve been a cute film. I’m glad there’s more than one catbus, and from the picture it looks like there are also cattrains, haha!

    I’ve never heard of omurice or oyakodon, but both dishes look very nice. I’d definitely eat it :)

  • Loved this! These photos are gorgeous and the food looks amazing.

    Hugs & Hope you have a great week!
    Hannie from Missing Wanderer

  • Liv says:

    OMG that is the cutest museum I have ever seen! It looks like something that could exist in the Ghibli world! As expected from Studio Ghibli, I am not disappointed! I haven’t seen all their films but Totoro is just <3 <3 <3 <3 <3. I'm also a fan of Spirited Away. I would love to visit the museum someday, putting it on my list right now. I also want to see some other films or rewatch Princess Mononoke – I didn't really understand it the first time around and also fell asleep because I was too tired from watching two films back to back. :P

  • Claudine says:

    I haven’t seen a lot of Studio Ghibli films but I would love to see this museum too! The outside looks great and I can just imagine how much cooler it would be to see the inside. I think that the no photography rule makes sense, sometimes when people travel they just lose themselves in their cameras, struggling to take the right photos and failing to take in the moment in the process.

    Thanks for sharing your Japan trip with us! It was great reading all about your adventures and the places you’ve visited; I now have some ideas if ever I want to go to Japan someday ;)

  • George says:

    I just stumbled on your blog and squealed because I’m going to Japan next year!

    The Ghibli Museum sounds amazing. I think we’re planning to go to Kyoto and Tokyo?

    I am a bit worried about food, though. I am a *whispers* vegan and it looks like it’s going to be difficult to avoid fish and maybe also egg.

    Going to go back and read all the other Japan posts now…

    • Cat says:

      I went to Kyoto two years ago and loved it! I have entries on that as well in my Japan category.

      Fortunately, the large cities, especially Tokyo, have a very wide range of cuisines and restaurants, so I think you’ll be able to find places with vegan dishes :) They can probably substitute the meat in dishes with tofu or vegetables too. Have fun on your trip!

  • Michelle says:

    OMG!~ I think the first Ghibli film was Princess Mononoke! I loved it now more than ever, though I do appreciate their older films, too. I think they got better as they aged, and there is no one better than them. Even Pixar can’t hold a candle to Studio Ghibli. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Carolynne says:

    My neighbour totoro was one of the first animated films I remember seeing as a child. It’s still one of my favs. I searched high and low for the non Disney version because it is far superior. I think that museum would have been so amazing!! What a great trip you had. You did and saw and ate so many wonderful things!!!

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