Day Two: The Studio Ghibli Museum

Today started off early around 5 a.m.  The jet lag has me all messed up so it’s still hard for my body to get a good night’s sleep.  After waking up, Dad and I decided to walk around town a bit before coming back and going out for breakfast.  We went to a chain coffee shop which I believe was called “Doutor.”  We had sandwiches and coffee and then got on the train to Kichijoji, where we would be going to the Ghibli Museum, which I begged to go to when the idea of going to Japan came up.  To get to the museum, we had to walk through Inokashira Park, where we encountered another small shrine.

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Starting the day off right with a little purification and prayer.

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This shrine had a bell to ring along with the usual clapping and bowing.

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A little bit of the woods in Inokashira park.

After walking around aimlessly in the park, we found the museum!  Unfortunately it was only 9:15 and the museum opened at 10 so we walked around for a bit checking out the area.  As I said yesterday, there is no photography allowed inside the museum, so the pictures below were either shot outside, or taken from a book we bought in the gift shop. 

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We’re here!  The main gate to the Ghibli Museum.

 

I can honestly say, this will be a day in my life I will never forget.  Hayao Miyazaki, executive director/writer/animator and major contributor to the design of the museum said this:

“This is the kind of museum I want to make

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

                                                               Executive Director

                                                               Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

You can really tell that they followed this mission statement, which continues in the book we bought for two whole pages.  Miyazaki had many strong beliefs for this museum and he stuck to it.  Entering into the building feels like walking into one of the worlds Studio Ghibli makes.  Various characters from the movies cover the walls, stain-glass windows, and exhibits.  The tickets you receive upon entering are made of actual 35mm film strips from Ghibli films.  Mine was from “Gedo Senki,” a film which hasn’t been released in America yet, but apparently is coming into select theaters soon.  Be on the lookout!  It looks pretty cool.  At the museum, we also got to see a short film in the Saturn Theater.  We were shown “Chuuzumou,” which will never be seen anywhere outside of the museum.

We spent the morning and most of the afternoon wandering from floor to floor, exhibit to exhibit, exploring the museum.  This was like a dream come true for me since I grew up watching these films.  The museum was not only about the movies themselves, but all the work and awesomeness put into animation.  After galavanting around, we went to the gift shop where we splurged a little bit but everything bought was well worth it, including an awesome statue of a robot from “Castle in the Sky.”

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The Cat Bus Room where children can run through and over the bus from “My Neighbor Totoro.”

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This was a beautiful workshop.  All the rooms were filled with all kinds of drawings, models, books, and art supplies.  It seemed like a really warm and inspirational place to work.

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This is the main hall of the museum, as you can read above.

 

You really get to see all the work that goes into animation.  I’ve always been a huge fan of animation of all kinds but I walked out of there with a whole new appreciation.  If you find yourself in Japan, go to this museum.

We weren’t able to eat lunch in the official cafe but we still were able to eat within the museum at a lovely little hot dog and ice cream shop.

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Nothing says lunch like hot dogs and beer.

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“Valley of Wind” Beer.  A reference to the valley from “Nausicaa.”

 

After lunch, we were able to find our way up to the roof where I was able to take my photo next to the robot.  Aside from being able to visit the museum for the obvious fact that I am a huge studio Ghibli fan, being able to see the robot statue in person was something that I’ve always dreamed of doing.  Now, I’ve finally made it. 

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Em and I next to the robot on the roof.

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Robot!  I was really looking forward to taking this picture.

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I left the wrapping on in case I have to ship it home.  It also plays the main theme from “Castle in the Sky.”

 

The Ghibli museum was something that I will always remember and treasure.  It’s the coolest museum I’ve ever been to, as a fan of the Ghibli films, and as a lover of animation in general. 

After a brief break back at the apartment, we decided to visit Rikugien garden, but first we decided to take a snack break.  I hate to admit it, but…

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I had to stop at McDonalds just so I could try a Teriyaki Burger.

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Its not so different from what we’re used to in America.

Rikugien garden is based off of gardens from the Edo period (1603 to 1868).  It was built to have a poetic theme.  After the long day at the museum and all the bugs that were literally eating us alive, we weren’t able to stay too long but still had a good time walking around the main circle of the historic park,

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A gate in the Rikugien garden.

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The grounds of the Rikugien garden.

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A nice view of the large pond in the center of the garden along with a little bit of the island in the center of it.

 

After dragging ourselves back across two different train lines, we made it home and lay around for a bit before going back out to eat at a place near to our apartment called Otoya.  As tired as we were, we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve had yet and of course, sake was included.  Sake is a rice wine deeply rooted in Japanese culture and since the legal drinking age is 20 in Japan, I’ve been enjoying it immensely. 

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Our dinner at Otoya, sake included and awesome.

 

Tomorrow we’re going out to visit a couple of shrines, an anime museum, and whatever else we can find.  It’s our last day in Tokyo and I’m a little sad to see it go, however, I’m really enjoying myself here and I can’t wait to see more.  I hope you’re all enjoying my blog!  I can’t tell who’s reading it so please leave comments and tell your friends about it!  Arigato gozaimasu!

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7 thoughts on “Day Two: The Studio Ghibli Museum

    • Excellent! I promise you won’t be disappointed. It was unlike any museum I’ve ever been to. It felt very free and relaxing just to walk around some of the creative exhibits. I wish I could have taken some photos on the inside but it was nice just being able to walk around and fully absorb the experience.

  1. Thanks for this post. My husband and I are big fans of Studio Ghibli and we were supposed to go to the museum when we went to Japan this spring, but we couldn’t get a ticket in time 😦 This post gives me some semblance of how it is there. Thanks again! (Must. return. to. Japan) 🙂

    • Thank you for reading! That’s a shame you couldn’t get a ticket in time, it was an awesome experience. I don’t feel like my photos do it justice. If you return to Japan you’re going to have to go, it was everything I was hoping for and more. Plus the gift shop was amazing!
      I’m reading your blog right now, it’s really great. I haven’t gotten through all of it yet but it looks like we’ve gone to a couple similar spots. But I must say, your blog looks a lot more professional than mine. My writing skills need a some work. I loved your Akihabara post, I was only able to spend about an hour there late at night but most of the places were closing, so no Goku for us D:. Did you stop at the Gundam Cafe?

      • hey phil, it was actually clever that you took photos of the pages in the book cause so far those are the only photos i’ve seen of ghibli “inside”. hehe. sigh, i really want to go back to japan to see ghibli. akihabara was really something else but when we were there the gundam cafe hadn’t opened yet… more reasons to go back 🙂 btw, your blog is so much fun to read.

      • Thank you, it means so much to me that you are reading it and enjoying it. All the geeky places to go are definitely the best! If you find yourself back in Japan and you visit the Gundam Cafe, make sure to check out the bathroom. You’ll understand when you get there lol.

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