Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Japan Day 3: The Ghibli Museum

Anyone who's a fan of Hayao Miyazaki's movies (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro) couldn't pass up an opportunity to go to the Ghibli Museum. The museum is designed to look like a house in the Italian countryside and is covered in Ivy and the area has a cheerful and peaceful feeling to it. I read in an interview with Miyazaki where he said that his ideal yard would have uncut grass and be full wildflowers. You get a sense of that aesthetic when you see the building and grounds.

There's only a limited number of tickets to the museum available each day and also a limited number that can be purchased outside of Japan. We checked two month in advance and all the foreign tickets were sold out. Through a tip from my brother, who went with his family last spring, we got our tickets through Bridge Japan . They purchase the tickets in Japan for you and can send them to any address in the country or abroad.

My favorite part of the museum by far was pushing the little kids out of the way and climbing into the cat bus! Just kidding! My real favorite part were the exhibits that were set up to look like an animation studio with sketches, Miyazaki's inspiration books filled with picture clippings, watercolors, and stacks of books. I loved how the rooms took you through the creative process of Miyazaki's mind and it was very inspiring for me as I thought of ways I could apply this to my approach to photography. 

Waiting at a station to get to Mitaka. 

A friend suggested that we walk to the museum from the station and we were really glad that we did. It was relaxing and fascinating to stroll through a Tokyo suburb and see the homes and daily life of the people there.  

There's no photography allowed inside the museum so we have some of the exterior.

The museum houses a small theater where you can watch unreleased short films. The tickets are actual film strips from Ghibli movies. They're a great little souvenir. 

The ivy covered spiral staircase that leads up to the roof. 

The famous robot from Castle in the Sky.

We crashed at our hotel that afternoon and may have fallen asleep for too long. We woke up starving and had some misadventures trying to find a good food hall in Shinjuku Station. Japanese department stores have something similar to a food court on their bottom floor. The food is purchased at different counters, each specialized for a different type of food that are higher quality than what you'd find in a typical mall food court in the states. For example one counter may have just French desserts, another just Chinese bao and dumplings, and another tonkatsu. They also have a restaurant floor on the top filled with nicer sit down places to eat at. We went to the Odakyu station but their food hall was more of a gift market with izakaya type restaurants below that. We ended up going to the top floor and having some excellent tonkatsu although we may have almost fallen asleep while eating it. 

1 comment:

Emily said...

Loving your pictures and adventures!