Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館, Mitaka no Mori Jiburi Bijutsukan?, Mitaka Forest Ghibli Museum) is a museum featuring the Japanese anime work of Studio Ghibli, and is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, a western suburb of Tokyo, Japan.

The museum is a fine arts museum, but does not take the concept of a usual fine arts museum. With many features that are child-oriented and a sprawling and occasionally mazelike interior, the museum is a playfully created place. Centered around the motto appearing on the museum's website "Let's become lost children together" (迷子になろうよ、いっしょに, Maigo ni narō yo, isshoni?), or 'let's lose our way together' as it is translated in the English leaflet. It has no set path or order of viewing. While the museum brochure contains a variety of languages, the signs within the museum are in Japanese only.


Planning for the museum began in 1998. Construction started in March 2000, and the museum officially opened October 1, 2001.

Hayao Miyazaki designed the museum himself, using drawn storyboards similar to the ones he makes for his films. The design was influenced by European architecture, such as the hilltop village of Calcata in Italy. Miyazaki's aim was to make the building itself part of the exhibit.

Permanent exhibitions

On the bottom floor is an exhibit room showing the history and science of animation. One of the displays is a zoetrope, with models of Ghibli characters, each in a slightly different pose, arranged in rings on a spinning table. A flickering stroboscope flashes in time with the rotating models, illuminating each as it passes the same spot, creating an illusion of movement that shows how animation works.

On the first floor is a mock-up of an animation studio, with sketches, story boards, reference material and more to look at. Also shown is the process of creating an animated film, from sketches, storyboarding, keyframing, cleanup, coloring, background painting, etc.

Special exhibitions

In addition to Ghibli-oriented exhibitions, the museum hosts an area where it brings in other animation work.

Short films

The museum shows one of the following Ghibli short-films in the Saturn Theatre:

  • Koro's Big Walk (コロの大さんぽ, Koro no dai-sampo?)
  • Water Spider Monmon (水グモもんもん, Mizugumo Monmon?)
  • Mei and the Kittenbus (めいとこねこバス, Mei to Konekobasu?)
  • The Day I Harvested a Star (星をかった日, Hoshi o Katta Hi?)
  • The Whale Hunt (くじらとり, Kujiratori?)
  • Looking for a home (やどさがし, Yadosagashi?)
  • Chūzumō (ちゅうずもう, Chūzumō?)
  • Pan dane to tamago hime (パン種とタマゴ姫, Pan dane to tamago hime?)
  • Treasure Hunt (たからさがし, Takara Sagashi?)

Each guest to the museum is only permitted to watch the short film once during a single visit.

Other features

The museum also includes an animation bookstore, souvenir giftshop and a theme restaurant called The Straw Hat Cafe. There is also a playroom for children aged 12 and below with a giant catbus toy to play in. On the museum's roof there is a garden with a life-size statue of a robot from the final episode of Lupin III Part II and Castle in the Sky.

Tickets and access

The museum requires tickets be purchased in advance for a specific day, either from travel agencies outside Japan or Lawson convenience store ticket kiosks in Japan.

The museum is a 15 minute walk from Mitaka Station. There is also a shuttle bus that goes from Mitaka Station to the museum. From Shinjuku Station in Central Tokyo it takes approximately 20 minutes to Mitaka Station on the JR Chūō Main Line.


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