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As a self- proclaimed Studio Ghibli nut, the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo has got to be one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a magical and heartfelt place anyone can enjoy even if you don’t believe in Totoro.
Unlike the usual commercialized theme parks which are built upon revenue, the Ghibli Museum clearly stays true to the visions of Miyazaki-sensei with the sole purpose to inspire, educate, and entertain. The scale of the museum would not be considered large according to traditional standards, but every panel of the wooden floor, every curve of the craftsman metal, and every piece of the stained glass windows is made and placed with precision, intention, and lots of love. It’s very much a reflection of Studio Ghibli films.
The experience of traveling to the Ghibli Museum has always been very special to me as well. From the moment I step on the train to Mitaka, I try to do things to prepare myself for the special visit. To intensify the experience, I listen to soundtracks of past Studio Ghibli films by Joe Hisaishi along the way. As a result, my favorite scenes from each film appear as a slideshow in my mind. This way I’m emotionally prepared as I reach the front entrance and ready to fully appreciate all the wonderful things the Ghibli Museum has to offer.
There’s no photography allowed inside because Miyazaki-sensei wanted the Ghibli Museum to be a place where kids can explore freely and not have to stop for photo ops from parents. I might be biased, but I think that’s the best thing ever. So for the first time on this trip, I decided to bring along my sketchbook and try to document this personal experience with some messy lines. My sketches don’t do any justice to the magic of the Ghibli Museum, but hopefully they will spark some interest in exploring this incredible place for you.
Take the Chuo Sobu Line and get off on Mitaka. Now it’s the time to put on your headphones and press play for Studio Ghibli soundtracks.
A short ride to Mitaka from Shinjuku Station takes about 20min. Enjoy the view, think about your favorite Ghibli films, and look out for the Catbus.