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by viv viv
Los Angeles, California
December 8, 2006
From journal Japan Trip
January 3, 2005
To an anime fan, especially fans of Hayao Miyazaki, visiting the Ghibli Museum ranks as top priority. This museum has one theme: "Let's lose our way together." Truly, this unique building seemed to be almost lost amidst the towering oak and cedar trees. Visitors are greeted by enthusiastic staff members who direct you to the main gate-keeper, a life-size Totoro. Alas, Totoro is well-protected from the fans' eager hands (*sob*).
Allow 2 hours to explore the museum. This includes a one-time entry to a short animated clip not available elsewhere. Visitors are given a cute movie ticket in a form of 3 consecutive slides; it makes an interesting keepsake. We were fortunate to catch the short movie "Mei", a sequel of sorts to the animation "My Neighbour Totoro" .
Elsewhere in the building, look for the life-size cat bus (open for children only), dead-end doors, and stairs that go nowhere. Check out the toilets too (we did), which have different themes, and ogle over the souvenirs on sale on the third floor.
Head for the rooftop for a photograph session with the guardian of Laputa. Search for the giant levitation stone that kept Laputa afloat. This is the only place, apart from the ground-floor garden, that allows photography.
The museum is well-planned for easy access to the old, young, and the handicapped. There are benches scattered along corridors for tired visitors, sinks with foot-stools for the little ones, and ornate water fountains for the thirsty—the details are impressive.There are permanent and special exhibits in the museum. The special exhibits at the time of our visit were "artifacts" borrowed from Pixar. One drawing drew my attention and a smile. The Pixar animators had drawn Totoro, a blue monster from "Monster, Inc.", and a one-eyed alien, all holding one umbrella each a la Gene Kelly (a send-up of one of the scenes from "Totoro" and "Singing in the Rain").
This museum is for the young and the young at heart. Visitors do not need to understand Japanese, as his animations transcend language.
Visitors must pre-purchase tickets; the museum does not entertain walk-ins. To purchase tickets in Japan:Go HERE .
To purchase tickets outside Japan: Go HERE .
To get there:Take the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku station to Mitaka station (approximately 20 minutes). Mitaka station is the last station. Exit from the south exit, turn left, and look out for a green tent with Ghibli Museum emblazoned atop. This is where you can catch the "cat bus" to the museum. A one-way bus fare costs about 200 yen (US$2). We decided to walk back, passing the scenic Inokashira Park and the Tamagawa Josui. The walk was about 15 minutes.
From journal Hokkaido, the JR Express Experience
December 25, 2004
How to Get There:
Getting to the museum requires a train ride from the center, which takes about 20 minutes on the Chuo Line. From the Mitaka South Exit, it's about a 15-minute walk. There are signs that make it pretty obvious – essentially, you need to walk towards Inokashira Park and then turn right to walk along it for a stretch. Alternatively, there's a special bus that runs between the station and the museum and charges a couple hundred yen per person.
The museum sells only advance tickets, which means you can't just show up. On any given day, it's packed, with a queue waiting to get in (though it doesn't take too long), so it's advisable to get tickets before you leave on your trip if possible. There are offices around the world where you can do this. For more information on that, go to the website at http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/welcome.html and click on the only thing in English, "Ticket Information." There's other useful stuff there too. The charge is ¥1,000 for anyone over 19 years old (about US$10).
The space is very original in its design. Great care seems to have been taken to reflect the type of worlds one finds in the films. It’s been decorated and outfitted with a very fun, imaginative style. There are a few floors, and though it requires some dodging of groups of school kids, the whole place can be seen in an hour or two. There’s a good, if expensive, gift shop on the top floor, and there’s a restaurant outside. There’s also a place to leave any bags you might have. As a bonus, admission includes the screening of an animated short (about 15 minutes) that generally hasn’t been released anywhere. What they show cycles every once in a while. Throughout the museum is a lot of interesting stuff, some of which takes you through the production of one of their films and some of which features the characters they’ve created in some really cool exhibits.
If you’ve made the trip out to Mitaka and are done with the museum after a couple of hours, you might like to spend some more time walking around Inokashira Park, which surrounds the museum. Mitaka has a much more relaxed atmosphere than the center of Tokyo, and the park is an equally relaxed, pleasant place to hang out in.
From journal Tokyo, Archetypal Modern Metropolis