Fans of Totoro, Spirited Away and other Hayao Miyazaki films may have heard about the storybook-like Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. Since the museum has been specially designed according to the same storyboards Miyazaki used for his films, you will feel as if you have just stepped into his amazing fantasy world.
However, actually getting to the museum may not be so simple, so we are here to guide you with tips and tricks to fully enjoy Ghibli Museum!
It’s possible to get your tickets inside AND outside of Japan!
What makes it difficult to go to the ever popular Ghibli Museum is that you need to buy the tickets in advance, and there is only one way to do so. You can get the tickets at any LAWSON convenience store from the Loppi machine. The tickets will have a designated entrance date and time written on them, and you can only enter Ghibli Museum at one out of four listed times per day.
When you arrive at Ghibli Museum you can exchange this reserved ticket for a “film” ticket. There is a capacity of the number of reserved tickets per time, so it is recommended to buy your ticket in the morning.
Also, residents of Mitaka which is the neighboring vicinity of the museum can access special deals such as being able to reserve on certain dates.
Outside of Japan
Did you know that even if you are not in Japan, you can still reserve the tickets? Tickets are sold at designed travel counters/agencies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, North America, Korea and Australia. Tickets for each month up to 3 months ahead are sold from the 1st of every month. You can find more information here.
Ghibli Museum shows a different short animated film every month so it might be a good idea to decide on the date based on which movie you are interested in. Also, there is an exhibition that changes monthly as well.
In addition, common sense it may be, but of course the museum is more crowded on weekends and weekday afternoons so we encourage you to try weekday mornings!
There are two options to get to the Museum: by bus or by walking. Unfortunately there are no parking spaces so please don’t go by car.
First you must get to Mitaka Station by train, and there is a special Ghibli-designed community bus that will take you straight to the museum. (Tip: Buying round-trip is cheaper than getting two one-way tickets!)
To get back, go to Bus Stop #9, South Exit from Ghibli Museum. Find the Bus schedule here.
Want to save money by walking from Mitaka Station? The Tamagawa josui “Waterworks” Route is our recommendation. First look for the sign: Kazenosanpomichi
Just go straight for about 15 minutes. The street will look like this.
Keep going until alas, you find the Ghibli Museum sign!
The Museum’s cafe uses seasonal vegetables and foods, so you can expect something new and fresh on the menu whenever you visit. (As long as you come during different seasons).
Be sure to get there early as the waiting time can be up to 1 hour! However, takeout is an option so you can eat and drink while basking in the glory of Ghibli.
Another fun fact: If you thought anime is only for kids, you are wrong! Ghibli strives to cater to all sorts of customers, even releasing the special “Valley of the Wind” beer, which has an illustration designed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro. We recommend pairing this with a tasty hot dog.
The highlight of the Museum might very well be the gift shop MAMMA AIUTO! There are many rare items you can only purchase here. Although we will try our best not to reveal too much, here are some examples of Ghibli goodies to add to your collection.
Find more goodies when you actually get to the museum shop!
Although you may be tempted, taking pictures is not allowed inside the museum although you can feel free to do so in the outside areas.
Also, if you don’t want to carry around your baggage, you can use the museum’s free lockers!
It might be hard to find the bright green lockers so be sure to ask the staff.
If you are a Ghibli fan, certainly you should come and visit the museum. Now with these tips in mind you can be sure to enjoy the fantasy storybook world that only belongs to Hayao Miyazaki and his films.