This post is a lengthy narrative of my ghibli saga in Japan. Key points have been bold faced so you can skip through the fangirling. Thank you for your patience.
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Japan is beautiful and different. But what makes Japan truly enjoyable for me is fangirling. Seeing places or things in person that I used to only see them in pictures or drawings is awe-inspiring.
I’ve been exposed to Japan culture since I was young through animes, mangas and dramas. And more recently Ghibli films. While planning for the trip, I found out that there was Ghibli museum, just an our away from Tokyo! (I was obviously excited 😃 ) Initially I thought getting the tickets would be complicated, they needed to be booked in advance and from what I read initially it was only provided through tours or through Lawson convenience stores in Japan.
I was already thinking of ways how to get a friend to buy them for me but after googling again they are now available online. Yeyyy! Lawson has provided an online site this is linked thorugh the official Ghibli site (sites below).
The tickets still needed to be booked in advance because admissions for the next month are only released on the tenth of the previous month at 10AM Japan time. For example, tickets for May released on April 10, 10AM Japan time. You will choose your time slot upon buying the ticket. Admission times are: 10AM, 12NN, 2PM, 4PM. Ticket price is JPY1,000 for 19 and older.
Ghbli official site: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
Direct link to where to buy the tickets (operated by Lawson): https://l-tike.com/st1/ghibli-en/sitetop
I didn’t expect it to feel like seat sale! The site was lagging once the tickets were released. And the tickets for the time slot we were targeting were sold out minutes after they were released. After a moment of panic, I decidedly kept my cool and waited for the page to load. It was taking some time to load once the tickets were released and I kept on refreshing, which I should have done. Instead of the morning tickets, we booked afternoon tickets of our target date. I was happy nonetheless.
I needed to create an account to retrieve the confirmation out with the QR code. I printed the confirmation out (with the QR code) and bought this together with my passport to the museum.
On the day itself, getting to the museum is easy enough. It’s thirty minutes or so from Tokyo. We took the train to Mitaka station then took the South exit. The terminal for the museum bus was a short walk from the exit and visible from the bridge. It’s hard to miss the museum bus because it’s yellow with catbus’ face printed on the sides. The bus comes around approximately every 10 minutes. The bus ticket (320yen roundtrip) can be bought beside the terminal.
We arrived at the museum early (around 30 minutes before the admission time). We didn’t want to risk it because you can only be admitted 30 minutes after your admission time.
They give us movie ticket that’s like a strip of film from a Ghibli film. It was the cutest ticket ever! Okay, so that was a slight exaggeration but I appreciated the attention to detail.
We saw this attention to detail was reflected in everything inside the museum. The stained glass at the entrance was Ghibli related. The toilet kept with the theme. There were little doors you had to stoop into. There’s a catbus where you can sit on in one floor. Mostly it was about the process of creating animation. It was very interesting. You can also browse through drafts and references for the films. It was too bad pictures weren’t allowed inside.
There was shop for Ghibli merchandise on the topmost floor. It was filled with too many people, though. I would recommend to visit a Ghibli shop outside the museum if you’re set on buying something Ghibli since you can relax more while browsing. I only bought a pin from the museum. But for linens or towels the merchandise was almost the same from Donguri Republic Ghibli Stores, we visited one in Kamakura and enjoyed it. There’s also a small Ghibli corner in Kotobukiya in Akihabara. There would be stuff toys, figures, towels, garden décor (Kamakura Donguri Republic), kodama bobble heads (Kotobukiya) and crystal jigsaw puzzles (Kamakura Donguri Republic). Most were for Totoro and Jiji, I missed my Kaonashi.
List of other Donguri Republic stores: http://benelic.com/english/service/#donguri
The picture below is the ghibli corner in Kotobukiya Akihabara.
There’s also a café but it was already full when we got there. There’s no time limit though so you can stay in the museum as much as you want. A must visit for a Ghibli fan or anybody who is interested in animation.