Anyone who grow up watching Ghibli’s spellbinding movies would have heard about the Ghibli Museum, or Mitaka no Mori Ghibli Bijutsukan, in Tokyo, Japan. It’s the museum where Hayao Miyazaki, the director of Ghibli studio, brings his animation and art into life. The studio Ghibli itself is often dubbed as the Disney of Japan, co-founded by Haao Miyazaki himself with his two friends, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki. Together, the trio has produced dozens of animation movies with worldwide distribution. Some of their notable animation that made a huge hit in world’s movies industries are My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Hayao Miyazaki was practically nobody before Princess Mononoke was aired in 1997. The epic historical fantasy war was an instant blockbuster in American market and received hugely positive critics and applause from experts. The following movies continued to impress global viewers. many adored the chubby Totoro and the young witch Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. But it’s not before the heartwarming and imagination-rich Spirited Away (also goes by Chihiro’s Journey) won the Oscar that Hayao Miyazaki was finally admitted as one of the greatest anime director of all time.
A Glimpse Behind The Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum we know and cherish would probably never exist without Hayao Miayazaki. Without doubt, he is one the most influential and brilliant animation directors in the world. He was born in January 5, 1941, and is a Japanese director, producer, screen writer, animator, author, and artist to date. He picked Studio Ghibli’s name from Italian word of hot desert wind, ghibli, wishing the hope that Ghibli would “blow up a new wind in the cartoon industry”.
Miyazaki aimed to create complex and lush worlds in his every animation. He brings a great deal of attention to movements down to littlest details so viewers would feel that these worlds are real. No matter how whimsical and fantastic it is if the event happened in true real life. Later on, these tidbit details are incorporated on every nooks and crannies of the museum—bringing up the fantasy into something we can touch and see.
What’s Inside the Museum
Entering the Ghibli Museum is like going into an entirely different dimension. This multi-storied mansion would take you into a whimsical journey full of twists and turns, stained glass, winding staircases, and tiny doors where fantasy creatures awaits you behind. It’s the separated cosmos where Ghibli universe blooms. Every corner of the museum is an adorable references to the movies—but you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy them. The excellent artistic talents presented in the museum are so wonderful that they can seduce anyone—even someone who haven’t see the movies yet.
On the first floor of the museum, you would see a bit history of Ghibli and learn some animation technique used at the studio. It has a small theater that shows short films created by Studio Ghibli specifically for the museum. The second floor displays temporary exhibition—they change the theme every year! On other part of the museum, you would find characters of Ghibli movies, like the cuddly spirit Totoro and a the giant robot from “The Castle in The Sky” on the garden roofs. There is also a café, a children’s park and a souvenir shop should you wish to bring home a momento of the museum.
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During your arrival, be prepared to wait a bit when the museum staff will check your ticket and passport. Beware, though, photography is not allowed inside the museum. You could still take pictures of the museum exteriors—but every cameras should be shut down once you enter the door. The museum itself is explained by Japanese-inscription labels. But you do not worry that you do not understand a description at each exhibition, because they have English-speaking staffs ready at your requests.