Saturday, 12 April 2008

Day 3 - Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館)

Today was one of the planned highlights of our Japan trip - a visit to the Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館) - it's actually an "art museum" dedicated to the creative output of Studio Ghibli (株式会社スタジオジブリ) - the premier animation film studio in Japan featuring director Miyazaki Hayao (宮崎駿).

We pre-puchased the tickets prior to arrival from JTB - one of the few places where you can buy the tickets overseas. In Japan they can be purchased from a vending machine in the Lawson convenience stores, but the user interface is completely in Japanese.

The Ghibli Museum is located in the suburb of Mitaka (三鷹) which has a train station on the Chuou Main Line (中央本線) - one of the major trunk lines in Japan - 中央線 is the title of a song by one of my favourite singers - Yano Akiko (矢野顕子). There's a shopping centre built in the station itself:

And this is the station's ticket gate:

View of Mitaka station and Dila shopping centre:

Outside the station is a bus terminal with bus stops around a roundabout:

A canal runs past the station and if you follow it to the east it will lead you towards the museum. This canal is called the Tama River Water Supply (玉川上水) - it was dug up to provide drinking water to the city's inhabitants during the Edo period. The street running alongside the canal is poetically called the Walking Path of the Wind (風の散歩道):

And some dogs took advantage of the path (accompanied by dog walker):

Our objective is to board a special city bus that takes us to the museum. We were told to look for a yellow ticket machine, and we found it:

Bought the tickets:

And the bus arrived, looking somewhat reminiscent of the cat-bus from My Neighbor Totoro (隣のトトロ):

We soon arrived at the museum, and even though it hasn't opened yet, a queue was already forming at the entrance:

The museum itself looks like something that could have been drawn in a Studio Ghibli film:

With a curving metal staircase that leads to a replica of the robot from Laputa - Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ):

The robot itself in full glory:

Next to the robot is the control cube for Laputa:

View of the museum entrance from the top of the building:

Near the main entrance is a single lamp post (reminiscent of the lamp post from Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) which itself was derived from Pixar's lamp):

Not the entrance but a lovely door nevertheless:

No photographs were allowed inside the museum, but exteriors were fine:

The Ghibli Musem Cafe - called The Straw Hat (麦わらぼうし) after Mei's hat in Totoro:

The overhead pedestrian bridge reminds me of Spirited Away:

The entrance to the outdoor sitting area:

There's an inner courtyard ...:

With a water pump well (also featured in Totoro)

Which of course was very popular with kids:

This reminds me of either Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便), or Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば)

View of the plants from above the staircase:

But on second thoughts the broom reminds me of Kiki:

The bird that Kiki had to deliver:

And Jiji sitting by the window side (or is that the Baron?):

There's a huge cat-bus for the children to play in:

We left by the alternate entrance:

Into the surrounding park:

And saw this old man on the side of the museum:

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Full album on Picasa:
[2008-04-12] Japan - Ghibli Museum

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