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Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo – Exploring inside and out

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/11 Entertainment , ,

In my previous post here, I talked about how to get the tickets and directions to Ghibli Museum. This time, I will share some details about the museum itself — inside and out.

Ghibli Museum - covered with plants

The building is covered with ivy plants.(Photo taken from balcony on the way to the rooftop)

Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to check all areas in the museum and its vicinity. As I mentioned before, my entrance ticket is scheduled from 4 PM. And, since I arrived there almost 5 PM, I have only an hour to explore around until its closing time. If possible, reserve for morning admission or early in the afternoon. So, the list below is just based on what I have seen and some that I would have wanted to check out and try.

Inside the Ghibli Museum

(Again, since photography is not allowed inside the museum, I can’t provide any photos. )

Giant Totoro (At the reception)

I’ve seen some photos on the web that are taken at the museum where a giant Totoro is stationed in a ticket booth (not the real reception). I’m not sure if the giant Totoro I saw at the real reception is the same Totoro in those photos or there are two of them. If the ticket booth is still there, then it’s one of the spots that I just missed out and you shouldn’t.

The Saturn Theater (First floor)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I got a ticket to watch a short film that is shown exclusive inside the museum. The place where to watch is called “The Saturn Theater” and it’s located in the first floor. It can accommodate  up to 50 people at a time. Just like a regular theater, there are schedules. It’s a first-come-first-serve basis, so you need to line up. During my visit, it was a 12-minute film entitled “Mr. Dough and The Egg Princess”. I won’t get into details of what the story is about, but one thing I noticed is, you don’t need to know any Japanese words to understand and enjoy the film. It is actually a non-dialogue film.

Permanent Exhibition Room (First floor)

One of the highlights in the museum. In this room, you will see different films running through projectors. Looking at each section, seeing with your own eyes how things work inside is such an amazing experience. I spent too much time here that I’ve missed some areas.

Classic Elevator

It’s located at the center of the building. I was quite thrilled to try this one. It’s classic design just bring a special feeling to me.

The Restrooms (First floor)

One of the things that I didn’t expect. Upon entering their restroom, I was welcomed with a delightful surprise. It’s designed to match the atmosphere of the museum. This one will surely put a smile on your face. Even if you don’t need to go the restroom, it’s something you should check out.

More Exhibition Rooms (Second floor)

And just when you think you’ve already seen all the exhibitions, there are still more surprises in store waiting for you in the upper floor. There are several rooms replicating an artist studio where you can find displays of original arts from different Ghibli movies. You can even browse some of them.

The Cat Bus Room (Third floor)

It’s an open room but only kids can go inside and play with the giant, plush cat bus from My Neighbor Totoro.

Mamma Aiuto Souvenir Shop (Third floor)

There are so many good stuff and for sure you’ll be spending a lot of time here on deciding which one to get. Don’t miss the chance to buy some souvenirs not only for your friends but for yourself as well.

Here’s what I got.

Ghbili Museum Souvenir - Jiji

A pin with Jiji character design (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

Outside the Ghibli Museum

Rooftop Garden

After checking out the Cat Bus Room, I went outside the main building, heading to the rooftop garden. There is a caged spiral staircase that will lead you to the garden.

Ghibli Museum - spiral stairway

A caged, spiral staircase covered with ivy plants

And, there you are, the five-meter tall Laputan soldier surrounded with plants — such a picturesque view.

Ghibli Museum - Laputan soldier

A statue of the robot soldier from Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

On its left side, you can see a narrow pathway. This will lead you to the spot where the replica of the Command Cube can be found.

Ghibli Museum - pathway to Laputa's command cube.

You can take photos in this area and have your solo shot with the Laputan soldier. Although, you need to wait a bit for your turn when it’s crowded. And, it’s kind of embarrassing to pose when everyone is looking at you, waiting for you to finish.

Straw Hat Cafe

When you’re done exploring the museum and getting those souvenirs you’ve been wanting; grab a meal, sweets or drink at their Straw Hat Cafe. Relax and enjoy the ambiance inside the cafe.

Other spots you shouldn’t miss

  • Faucet with Jiji design
    Ghibli Museum - Jiji character design faucet
  • Unique benches
    Ghibli Museum - unique benches
  • Signs and lamp
    Ghibli Museum - direction and lamp
  • Post clock
    Ghibli Museum - post clock at the entrance
  • The yellow bus and bus stop
    Ghibli Museum - bus and bus stop
  • Inokashira Park- where the museum is located.

Lastly, if available, get a pamphlet that contains a map with details of the museum at the reception. I would highly suggest to check it beforehand, not to miss any areas.

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A gaijin in Okayama who enjoys viewing cherry blossom in spring, fireworks in summer, eating grilled sanma (Pacific saury fish) in autumn and oden in winter.

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