One place on our list of places to visit since before we came to Japan was the Studio Ghibli Museum. Now that our time is starting to wear down, it is becoming more important that we visit the spots sooner rather than later. So, just about two weeks ago Aaron and I hopped on the shinkansen (oh, shinkansen, how I will miss you) and made our way up to Tokyo.
We were only spending one night, two days and we wanted to make the most of our time. We splurged on a nice place in Shinjuku, a very central area of Tokyo. We bought advance tickets to Cirque de Soleil (more on that another day) and to the musuem. Actually, you have to buy tickets in advance for the museum because they regulate the number of visitors each day and during each time slot to ensure the enjoyment of each visitor. If the place was too crowded it would be unmanageable and a lot less fun.
The entire museum is dedicated to the work and art of our favorite Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is notorious around Japan for the films he has made. The intended audience of his films varies from small children through adults, and the stories are well-crafted enough that almost anybody can enjoy them. One of my personal favorites, and perhaps the most popular in Japan, is “My Neighbor Totoro.” So, I couldn’t help but get my picture taken next to the giant Totoro at the museum.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a person in Japan that hasn’t seen the movie at least once. It is that pervasive, and if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out. It is a remarkable beautiful tale for small children, but one that is easily enjoyed by adults as well.
Most of the museum does not allow photography, which is a shame, because it was a really interesting museum. But, the creators of the space want you to interact and explore the exhibits with your own eyes, not through the viewfinder, so it kind of makes sense. There were a few places where photos were allowed, and we definitely took advantage. The roof-top garden, for example.
The Straw Hat Cafe area where Aaron was happy to get an official Studio Ghibli Beer.
And the little outdoor garden area.
The entire place was amazing, but perhaps what I liked the best, was that the entire museum was filled with small, charming details. Things that made you stop, notice and admire what otherwise could have been mundane and insignificant. It was obvious that they put a lot of time and thought into the place to make sure that it would be one that would bring joy to everyone that came.
Another cute part about the museum was all the insanely adorable small Japanese children running around the place. Particularly in the Neko Bus room. Definitely makes Aaron and I want to go back someday with our own little person. I’m sure they would love it!