The Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館) is a unique museum showcasing the work of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli. It is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka.
Lovers of Studio Ghibli animation films flock to see this whimsically designed museum, which does not look like a traditional building but a mish mash of various architectural styles. The front is multi-colour with rounded surfaces reminiscent of a fairytale house, but part of the museum is actually beneath ground level and covered with vegetation creating the impression of a hobbit hole. The back of the museum is a courtyard with a vaguely European look blending different Europeans styles, reminding me of Bavaria fused with a hilltop Italian village. The rooftop, reached through an exterior metal spiral staircase and trellis, is a recreation of Laputa complete with the robot and the control cube.
Inside, the museum showcases the art and technology behind Studio Ghibli films, complete with a mock up of a crowded animation studio. There is a catbus room for children to play in, and a theatre shows short animation films (exclusive to the museum). There is a large hall with multiple levels that somehow reminds me of the bathhouse in Spirited Away.
All this means nothing if you are not a fan of the films or have never seen any of the films, but if you have seen at least one there is much to enjoy in this museum. Tickets to the museum must be purchased in advance, either from your travel agent or from a vending machine located in Lawson stores (but you need to understand Japanese).
We visited the museum in 2008, and nine years later in 2017. The museum has not changed much in between visits, which is good, but it also meant we pretty much saw most of it in the first visit and there wasn’t much new to entice us.
Shibuya is a major commercial and retail hub, but also famous for 3 things: Shibuya crossing (the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing), Hachiko the loyal dog, and Shibuya 109 (a fashion mecca for young girls).
Kamakura is a small town popular with tourists because of attractions such as the Hasedera temple located on a hill with great views of the town, the Great Buddha bronze statue and other temples and shrines.
We discovered the Sasuke Inari Shrine by accident while walking around in Kamakura. A set of bright red torii gates lead up a hill into a shrine full of statues of foxes and fox dwellings with families.
Huis Ten Bosch is a gigantic theme park in Sasebo (near Nagasaki) that is intended to be a mini version of Netherlands, including famous buildings such as the Huis Ten Bosch palace, Stadhuis and the Domtoren.
Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period, when the city served as an important rice distribution center. In fact, “Kurashiki” roughly translates to “town of storehouses” in reference to the rice storehouses.
Chris Tham is a co-founder of Visual Voyager Pty Ltd, the Principal Voigtländer Ambassador for Mainline Photographics and a Workshop Instructor for Mainline Photo Academy.
She brings over 35 years of experience as a photographer to her role, starting with a Yashica rangefinder belonging to her dad, joining the Photography Club in school, and developing her own photos.
More recently, Chris has been taking photos during her travels, and as a result has experienced some of the most interesting places in the world.
Chris focuses on nature, street, and urban architecture subjects in her photography.