Move over, Disney! In Japan, there is a museum dedicated to Studio Ghibli, the most famous Japanese animation and film studio in the world.
Japanese locals often compare Miyazaki Hayao, founder of Studio Ghibli to Walt Disney for his sheer imagination and excellent animation films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Because of this, a Studio Ghibli art and animation museum was built.
The museum, officially called Mitaka no Mori Ghibli Bijutsukan or The Forest of Mitaka Ghibli Art Museum, is located in Mitaka, Tokyo. It is a must-see place for all Studio Ghibli fans, where all the Studio Ghibli animations seem to come to life.
Inside the museum, visitors aren't allowed to record videos or take pictures. According to their website, Studio Ghibli said: "The Ghibli Museum is a portal to a storybook world. As the main character in a story, we ask that you experience the Museum space with your own eyes and senses, instead of through a camera's viewfinder. We ask that you make what you experienced in the Museum the special memory that you take home with you."
In the entrance, a life-sized Totoro will welcome you to the door of the museum's interior. And if you look around the portholes, dust bunnies are there to welcome you as well.
Inside the museum, fans will be amazed by the colorful paintings spread across the walls and windows of the building. If you look closely enough, some Studio Ghibli characters are hidden in the drawings, especially when you look up at the fresco-painted ceiling, such as Kiki on her broom, Nausica on her jet glider, and other famous characters.
The most distinctive features in the museum include the Saturn Theater, where guests can watch an original short animated feature from Ghibli, and can only be viewed at the museum. The Reading Room is an interesting addition as well, where books that are especially recommended by Miyazaki Hayao are open for free browsing.
In the second floor, children can enjoy riding a real-life Cat Bus, one of the famous characters in "My Neighbor Totoro." And if you go up a spiral stairway in the terrace of the Cat Room, a grassy, rooftop garden will welcome you with a five-meter-tall Robot Soldier from "Laputa Castle in the Sky".
If you're hungry from all the browsing, dine at the museum's café. Aside from the animation exhibitions, the museum also offers a children's play area, a rooftop garden, and a gift shop.