Anime and Manga are Japanese words, but they are used now throughout the world when someone talks about Animation or Japanese Comics (Manga). Unlike most of the other countries that produce Anime or Manga, Japan produces them not only for children, but also for adults.
You can see adults reading Manga on the Trains, and people of all ages watching Anime on their iPhone or other devises.
One of the most famous of all Anime producers in Japan is that of Studio Ghibli. One Anime movie of Ghibli called “Spirited Away” or “Sen to Chihiro no Kami-Kakushi” is known World Wide and is one the top three movies ever, when it comes to the highest Grossing Animation movie. Made in 2001, Spirited away received awards in Berlin and even at the Academy Awards in America.
In the same year, October 2001, The Ghibli Museum was opened in a local suburb of Tokyo called Mitaka, about 45 minutes from Central Tokyo. It has been going to date for over 15 full years and has brought so many smiles to both Children and Adult fans of Studio Ghibli works. (By the way, Ghibli means the Hot winds blowing in the Sahara Desert).
The Ghibli Museum will go under a revamp from Mid May this year and will be out of action for a little while, so I took up the opportunity and headed out to Mitaka in Early April. In order to get an entrance ticket to the Ghibli Museum, you have to either ring direct or book via the internet. Tickets for the following month all go on sale on the 10th of the previous month. So for me, even though I wanted to go in April, I had to book my tickets on the 10th of March. (By the way the person who buys the tickets has to go on the day to the museum and must have some ID to show who you are). Anyway, with tickets in my hand I was now in line to wait for the Ghibli museum doors to open. There were many overseas visitors and Japanese families alike. It just showed me again, on how popular Ghibli is all over the world.
Photos can’t be taken inside the museum, but up on the roof and outside in the garden area, you can take as many photos as you want. There is no particular route to follow once in the museum, but for me it was off to the mini theatre first, to see a 15 minute Ghibli Movie. The movie changes each month, but as there generally are no words spoken in the movie, it doesn’t matter what nationality you are. After the movie it was free to move around the 3 floors of the museum.
As I am not under 12 years old, I passed on sitting and playing on the fluffy Cat Bus (Neko Bus), and went straight out on to the roof, where there stands a giant robot, the same robot you can see in the movie “Castle in the Sky” or “Laputa”. I took several photos of the Robot, and also being forever a child at heart, I asked a couple of Japanese girls to take my picture with the giant robot.
Back inside the museum, I did a bit of shopping first to avoid the crowds, and then went down to the 2nd floor. (Over half the gifts, souvenirs in the shop can only be found at this museum, so I suggest you have a good look). On the 2nd floor, there is an amazing few rooms that show you just how each and every movie is thought up and then drawn by the artists. Here you can actually see many of the hand drawn scenes of several movies, which just blows your mind away as the detail and time put into even one page, it just unbelievable. Here I was able to come face to face with drawings of my most favorite movie, “Prinicess Mononoke”, a story about humans living together with fairies and other types of living beasts. These are the areas that the true fans just love to look at.
On the other side of level 2, was another area with objects of other movies on display and another Cat bus to actually sit on and have a rest. The 1st floor is where the movie theatre is, but outside there is a café that sells hot dogs and other things and also an ice cream shop.
There are several other rooms to discover at the Ghibli Museum, and even a reading room, so you can pick up your favorite story and read to your hearts content.
For me, it was another great dive into the world of Ghibli, and with the admission still being only 1000 yen per person, it is well worth every yen spent. Ghibli keeps to its main concept, and tries not to allow too many bus loads of people in, which makes the whole Ghibli experience that little bit more personal. The Ghibli museum is only 3 stories tall, and if you spend 2-3 hours here, that should be enough to discover this world of Anime. For me, 120 percent satisfied.