Visiting Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum And The Director That Changed Anime Forever

The Ghibli Museum from Ghibli Studio is great for fans and film lovers alike, showcasing beautiful works of art from an innovative mind like that of Hayao Miyazaki. They offer a number of exhibits, such as the Tri Hawk’s Reading Room, the Saturn Theater, and the Straw Hat Cafe.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the fascinating features that this museum offers, and we’ll look at the director behind this entire wonderland of film and animation.

What is the Ghibli Museum?

The Ghibli Museum of The Forest of Mitaka is an animation museum in Tokyo. The official name for the museum is the Mitaka Municipal Animation Museum. The idea for the museum came from Hayao Miyazaki and he began initial developments, which later led to a grand opening on October 1, 2001.

The building was designed based on a sketch by Hayao Miyazaki depicting a cross-section of the building.

Along with permanent exhibitions, Studio Ghibli has also created short features,  such as Film Guru Guru, that are viewed exclusively at the museum.

How Much Are Admission Tickets for the Ghibli Museum?

Tickets are ¥1,000 ($8.70 USD) for adults and ¥700 ($6.09 USD) for individuals aged between 13-18. Tickets are ¥400 ($3.48 USD) for individuals aged between 7-12 and ¥100 ($0.87 USD) for ages 4-6, and below the age of 4, tickets are free.

Upon reaching the museum’s entrance, your reservations are switched out, and you are given the official Studio Ghibli ticket which has a 35mm film strip with a scene from one of the studio’s films. 

These are actual film strips that are no longer used and have been creatively recycled into a memorable ticket.

You can find tickets at Lawson Ticket to reserve a day at the museum a month in advance, for example, tickets for July 1st – July 31th go on sale on June 10th.

Lawson Ticket Official Website

What are the Main Attractions in the Ghibli Museum?

What are the Permanent Exhibitions?

The lowest floor of the museum showcases a permanent exhibit featuring the legacy and laws of animation. There is also a permanent exhibit that features Film Guru Guru.

On the main floor is an exhibit of a mock animation studio, called ‘Where a Film is Born’. The exhibit consists of five rooms that show the steps of film-making.

Another exhibit shows how to create films, along with examples of sketches, storyboarding, keyframing, coloring, and painting of the background.

What are Special Exhibitions?

Special exhibitions are always changing so as to give the museum a fresh and intriguing feeling. Currently, the ‘Sketch, Flash, Spark!’ exhibit from the Ghibli Forest Sketchbook is on display as the special exhibit, showcasing “Spirited Away” and how Studio Ghibli decided to create a museum through detailed illustrations.

As a bonus, you also get to see the museum’s blueprints with Miyazaki’s last-minute changes penned in.

What is the Saturn Theater?

Down in the lower levels of the Ghibli Museum, you will find the Saturn Theater where you can watch original short animated films from Studio Ghibli.

To see what’s playing, you can view their website listing here:

Saturn Theatre Ghibli Museum Official Website

There are small red benches to sit on to see the big screen. When the film ends, the windows open and the sunlight comes in. 

What is the Tri Hawks Reading Room?

Tri Hawks is the reading room inside the Ghibli Museum. Books that are especially recommended by Hayao Miyazaki and the Museum can be enjoyed here and browsed through freely.

What is the Straw Hat Café?

The Café serves cold and hot meals, snacks, and desserts. Almost everything comes from organic farms, and some of the recommended dishes are the jumbo fried pork cutlet sandwich and the strawberry shortcake.

What is “Mamma Auito!”?

This shop contains all of your favorite Studio Ghibli character products and other original museum gifts. The museum shop ‘Mama Auito!’ is named after the likeness of the sky pirates in ‘Porco Rosso’, the meaning being “Mama, help me!” in Italian. 

It’s like stepping into a wonderland while you are browsing. The displays are filled with unique, unexpected, and extraordinary objects to tantalize the imagination.

If you spend enough time browsing you may come across a special item that’s perfect to take home.

The art collection of the Ghibli Museum is also available for sale at this shop.

The Art Collection of the Ghibli Museum includes unique artwork and hand-painted cels of scenes from cherished and popular Studio Ghibli films.

Who is the Director of Studio Ghibli?

Studio Ghibli, the highly acclaimed Japanese animation film studio, started from the ground up with directors Hayao Miyazaki and Takahata Isao and producer Suzuki Toshio in 1985. Hayao Miyazaki is seen as the head of Studio Ghibli and is the mind behind most of Studio Ghibli’s iconic films.

More About Hayao Miyazaki Via IMDB

Studio Ghibli, located in Tokyo, is known for its artistry and unique story-telling. Its feature films have won critical and popular praise, and have influenced other animation studios and how people view animated films in general.

What did Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli do to Change Japanese Anime Forever?

A number of the successful feature films from Studio Ghibli, such as ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ gained global recognition, changing people’s views on anime and animated films, making anime mainstream in the US, and creating timeless classics that have received Academy Awards.

How did ‘Spirited Away’ Showcase Studio Ghibli’s Success?

Spirited Away’s themes of hope and transformation after a loss made anime relatable in a way U.S. audiences hadn’t previously experienced. The fantastical creatures and beautiful palette of imaginative, perfectly coordinated color meant it would be memorable for years to come.

‘Spirited Away’ also delicately touched on themes of destruction of the environment and consumption of resources, which resonated with its audience.

Dogo Onsen Official Website

The Real Spirited Away Onsen Dogo Onsen

It paved the way for the next titles such as ‘Ponyo’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ in the same way ‘Princess Mononoke’ had paved the way for ‘Spirited Away’. 

‘Spirited Away’ (‘Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi’) received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003.

Its competition was against titles such as Lilo and Stitch, Ice Age, Treasure Planet, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, proving that Studio Ghibli had the power to move its audience in a rare and special way with universal truths and powerful themes.

How did ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ Showcase Studio Ghibli’s Success?

‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, the tale of a girl named Sophie drawn into a romantic and epic adventure with the sorcerer named Howl, earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2006.

Watch Howl’s Moving Castle Via Youtube

How did ‘The Wind Rises’ Showcase Studio Ghibli’s Success?

In 2014, ‘The Wind Rises’ was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but ended up losing to Disney’s Frozen. 

Watch The Wind Rises Via Youtube

How did ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ Showcase Studio Ghibli’s Success?

Totoro, who is Ghibli’s mascot and world icon from ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is Studio Ghibli’s most iconic and popular film, which follows two young girls as, in the forest near their new home, they make friends with the neighbors of the forest: Totoros of various sizes and a catbus.

Watch My Neighbor Totoro Via Youtube

Why Do Film-lovers Enjoy Studio Ghibli Films so Much?

The attention to detail and hidden Easter eggs made Hayao Miyazaki’s body of films meaningful and enjoyable to watch. Almost all of Miyazaki’s films focused on a female lead. As we were becoming more aware of the enjoyability of female leads, this also set up a launchpad for Hayao Miyazaki’s success.

What About the Top Media Distributors Competing for the Rights to Studio Ghibli’s Films? 

HBO Max added all of the Studio Ghibli films to its North American titles, and Netflix also conducted a deal with Studio Ghibli, asking for the rights to run a 28-language subbed version of ‘Spirited Away’.

Hayao Miyazaki didn’t learn the key to unlocking global success by random chance or catering to interests.

He invited the world in with beautifully crafted stories, vision, well-developed characters, and quality screenplays that care for their audience.

How Does Studio Ghibli Keep its High Standards in Film-making?

In an interview recently, Hayao Miyazaki said “We take… animation and digitize it in order to enrich the visual look, but everything starts with the human hand drawing.

The color standard is dictated by the background… Without creating those rigid standards [we’d] just be caught up [in] the whirlpool of computerization.”

A Look AT Hayao Miyazaki

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.