Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Museum is tucked away in Mitaka’s Inokashira Park in Kichijoji, Tokyo. On a beautiful autumn afternoon we began our journey to the museum and entered the park under a canopy of changing leaves. We passed people of all ages enjoying the sunshine. Swan paddle boats sailed by on the pond next to us and a feeling of happiness sparkled in the air. Is this the way to the land of Ghibli? Most certainly it must be!

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We arrived at an old fashioned lamp post with a hanging clock, and an official man in uniform collecting tickets. The museum entrance is very strict. You must purchase tickets one month in advance and there are a limited number of people allowed in each day for a specific time slot as to not crowd the museum. At 4pm on the dot, our reservations were validated and we were in. Our first encounter was with a large Totoro sculpture, well hello there! We rounded the corner and came in view of the museum for the first time. The outside resembled a round ivy covered beast with with many windowed eyes, each holding a specially designed stained window pane depicting a scene from a Ghibli film. The entrance felt like an open mouth inviting us to come inside the enchanted belly.

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Once inside our initial tickets were exchanged for authentic pieces of the 35 mm Ghibli films used in theatres which had been cut into individual ticket souvenirs  We were told that these tickets allowed us access to a special Ghibli screening during our visit, a choice of short films only shown at the museum (we later saw a delightful and emotional film about a runaway puppy). The museum is made up of various floors with unexpected winding wood staircases, bridges leading you from one part to the next, hidden nooks and passageways. The entire experience gives you a feeling of unlocking secret doors to new dimensions, and that for the duration of your stay, you can become part of the Ghibli world.

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There is a very strict “no pictures” rule inside the museum which helps keep the mystery and magic inside protected. Here are a few pictures from our adventures in the grounds surrounding the museum.

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Although we can’t share all the museum’s secrets, highlights included a life size Catbus for kids to play in, a recreation of Miyazaki’s studio with walls covered in sketches from his films, collections of inspirations ranging from toys, bits of nature, scraps of found treasures, piles of books and many (faux) cigarette filled ashtrays!! There is a fantastic library of books selected by Miyazaki for visitors to look through, and the most AMAZING bouncing Totoro zoetrope which conjured pure awe in all who encountered it. As the magical zoetrope device started spinning, bringing our favourite characters to life, an overwhelming feeling of joy filled each of us. A true wonder of the world we will never forget.

Thank you Miyazaki-san and the Ghibli Family!

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Shop limited items from the Ghibli Museum and our special range of products from Japan here.

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