Ghibli Museum, Tokyo
I left my Ate at Ginza after she painfully toured me for hours at what she called "the biggest Uniqlo". I LOVE the brand so much, but that time I was already feeling antsy-anxious for my first commute alone in Tokyo. I was going to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka!
The night before, I already researched and Googled how to commute to Mitaka. Ate's friend (our host in Tokyo) also helped me and made me download the efficient Tokyo MRT Map app. I just rode the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku, then went off to Mitaka.
Here's the complete guide on how to get to Ghibli Museum.
So many mishaps happened along the way! The train ride took forever, was longer than I expected, and I was running late (Ghibli Museum entry is by batch, so it's best to come on time!). I paid the wrong amount for my train ticket (kulang), buti nalang I asked the train guards and they allowed me to pay for my balance before exiting. Even after asking for directions, I got lost, and can't figure out which bus to take ...so I took the other option, I walked. Longest brisk walking in my Tita life! Haha!
"When you see a GIANT Totoro, that's it!" - said the Japanese girl I asked for directions.
Hello, wonderland! I got there just a bit past my entry time (4pm).
I almost fist pumped, cried when I saw that there were lines padin outside the museum, hindi pa ako late! I was ecstatic, excited, hyper from all the walking (and nobody to talk to about it!). Haha.
So dinaan ko nalang sa selfie, wahaha!
This is how my ticket looks like, and it has its own story! My Japanese-Pinoy blog friends Gervin and Ashley got it for me:
Gervin bought the ticket in Lawson (a Japanese minimart) after I consulted them and learned that it's cheaper than online published rates. Since we weren't meeting before my Ghibli schedule, he gave the ticket to Ashley on her last day in Tokyo, and with perfect timing, Ashley and I were able to meet in Kobe on my last day in Osaka (before Kyoto)! Whew! Thank you friends!!!
In short, avail your tickets EARLY! You won't be getting tickets as walk-ins.
Meanwhile, if you really, really want to go to the Studio Ghibli theme park but don't know anyone from Japan, you can avail Ghibli Museum tickets online via VOYAGIN. They offer the best price online, and read so many good reviews about their great service. Best to pre-order your Ghibli Museum tickets one month in advance!
Upon entering, they handed me my map and real ticket. This cute tiny film ticket features scenes from a Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki animation. Too precious!
Ghibli Museum strictly implements a no photography and video policy. They have bantays everywhere, though I know in my ninja heart (haha) that I can sneak some shots but hindi ko kaya out of respect. Anyway, in the map are these words:
Let's lose our way, together.
This is our theme for the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka. A peculiar building, carefully designed exhibits, original short animated films that can only be seen here, a cozy cafe... You will discover many interesting things in the Museum. There are not any set routes that you must follow. You are the one to discover your own way. Those who can lose their way and fully enjoy the space are welcomed at the Museum.
My first stop was an exhibit room featuring a lot of play of lights and animations, it was "blinding" and beautiful. That time, hindi ko alam if I was just tired or excessively happy to be there, but I felt my eyes hot and teary as I looked at a three-dimensional zoetrope "Bouncing Totoro" or a photo of Kiki and Jiji, complete with sentimental background music! Huhu, it was all magical and I captured them vividly in my memory. Narealize ko the no-photo rule is really for the guests to experience the museum as if like kids again, with our own eyes and not with a camera lens or phone blocking our sight.
Another room that I went in Ghibli Museum is the Saturn Theater, where they show Studio Ghibli animations there that you won't be seeing anywhere else! Screening is limited to one per person per visit. There were no titles and subtitles, but everyone (locals and tourists) inside the quaint cinema were laughing by mid-film. Sobrang GV!
Through Google, I learned that we watched A Sumo Wrestler's Tail:
Cameras are allowed outside the Museum. I snaked and sneaked through spiral staircase and holes to get to the Roof Top Garden:
Almost nighttime! Can you see the moon behind the 5-meter tall robot from Castle in the Sky?
Another route lead me to a room where the Cat Bus can be found, ang cute! The playroom is for kids only, though, so I looked further till I saw the Mamma Aiuto! shop. I bought pasalubongs, habilins, and my own souvenirs from the visit.
The place is almost empty, and most of the recommended items from the menu were already sold out! When I read reviews online though, I realized I was lucky to be able to go in the cafe without its usual long lines!
Also, yey for taking photos inside the cafe! Somehow, the blogger in me missed the documentation part while in the museum, haha! Look at this:
I sat at the counter area to watch them cook, bake, and make coffee:
The place looks great! Every detail, from the lamp to the tissue to the plate, there's a touch of "Ghibli" characters or scenes.
What I had: Straw Hat's Chocolate Parfait (Y 790) and Coffee (Y 420). I just asked my server for her recommendations! Also, they have English menu at the Straw Hat Cafe.
Souvenirs you can avail at the cash register, before exiting the cafe:
I tried to maximize the remaining minutes by going around the museum one last time. I was able to enter a room with a mock-up animation studios where they showed the creative process of Hayao Miyazaki, from illustrating sketches, storyboards, to creating an animated film. Ang dami pang pwedeng makita!
When I went out of the restroom (which is also themed and cute, btw!), guards and museum personnel were already walking around and politely directed the guests toward the exit of the vicinity, before they allow the next batch the enter.
Before heading for the gate, tinapangan ko na and asked a guy who was taking photos of his friends to also take my picture with the giant Totoro manning the ticketing booth with the soot sprites, hehe:
With more time to spare, I opted to miss the bus again and just walk back to the train station, this time just strolling and in moderate pacing. Just outside the gates, I saw this cat looking at me (as if I was part of a Ghibli animation, hehe). Air was cool, it was almost dark, and the huge park I passed by going to Mitaka Station smelled like damp leaves and earth - everything's perfect in my standards.
Btw, I really forced myself to blog about my Ghibli Museum experience today so I can celebrate Studio Ghibli's Anniversary (June 15, 1985) here in the blog! Hehe. To more beautiful stories! Cheers!
Read more of my posts for: Japan 2015.
Purchase Ghibli Museum tickets online