During my recent trip to Tokyo, I was finally able to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka - and to say it was great, is a huge understatement. The Studio Ghibli Museum is a must go for any Hayao Miyazaki fan. You can enjoy a special showing of an early Ghibli short film, see how a Ghibli film is made, and take a picture with a life-size version of the robot solider from Castle in the Sky. But don't expect to make a spontaneous trip there. The number of visitors is limited per day, so you must do some serious planning! In this post, I’m going to explain how to get Studio Ghibli Museum tickets, what JR Rail line to take to get to Mitaka from Tokyo, and what to expect upon arrival.
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How to get Studio Ghibli Museum Tickets
Studio Ghibli tickets are known to be very hard to get and are usually sold out weeks in advance. There are three way you can get Studio Ghibli tickets. Either through a JTB agency prior to arrival, a Lawson convenience store in Tokyo, or through the Voyain website for last minute tickets. I'll explain each below in detail.
- JTB Agent: Prior to your trip to Japan, you can purchase Studio Ghibli tickets at a JTB (same place where you get the JR Rail Pass). This should be your first step in trying to find tickets for the Ghibli museum. JTB has great customer service; they are efficient and reliable and you’ll avoid paying a hefty fee. Details on how to the get Ghibli tickets from JTB and how the ticket system works can be found here.
- Lawson Convenience Store: If you’re already in Tokyo or was not able to score a JTB ticket, this should be your second step. Stop by any Lawson store in Tokyo (they're literally everywhere) and look for the Loppi ticket machine. Now here's the tricky part. Although there is an "English" button, the Loppi machine is still very difficult to navigate through. This page from Lawson will prove helpful. After you filled out the information needed, you'll need to confirm everything and print out a receipt. Note: this is NOT the ticket. You must bring this receipt to the cashier. That's where you pay ¥10 for each ticket in exchange for the real Studio Ghibli ticket(s).
- Voyagin: This is for the desperate and should be used for last minute tickets. The service fee is five times the original price plus a delivery fee to the hotel. You can find more information here.
How to get to the Studio Ghibli Museum from Shinjuku Station
Getting to the Ghibli museum is really easy. It’ll take about a total of 30 minutes if traveling from the Shinjuku station.
From the Shinjuku station:
- Take the JR Chuo Line towards Takao
- Get off at the Mitaka Station
The train ride will take about 15 minutes.
From the Mitaka station, you can either walk or take a designated Ghibli bus to the museum.
- Walking takes about 15 minutes from the Mitaka station. If you choose to walk, don’t worry about getting lost as there are signs everywhere guiding you to the museum.
- You can also take the Ghibli bus which takes about 5 minutes. Just note, if you buy a 2 way ticket, don’t throw away your ticket! Hold on to it because you’ll need it on the way back. However, if you bought a 1 way ticket, throw it into the box prior to exiting.
What to expect at the Ghibli Museum
There are 3 floors of Ghibli goodness! There’s a mini-movie theater, a restaurant/cafe, a roof garden, and a gift shop. 2 hours is ample amount of time for the museum, but you can stay as long as you’d like until closing time at 6:00 PM. Everything in the museum is in Japanese and has no information in English. All the staff members speak English, so you may ask them questions. Cameras are allowed, but no photos can be taken inside the museum. However, there is a roof garden with a robot solider from Castle in the Sky where you can snap away.
After handing your ticket voucher to them, you'll receive the real ticket, which is a negative from a Ghibli film. Mine is from Howl's Moving Castle.
On the first floor, you’ll find the mini-movie theater. I would recommend heading there first to view the short film. You'll need your ticket, as they stamp it to watch the short film. The short film is about 15 minute and is in Japanese, with no English subtitles. But don't let this detour you from watching. It still has that Ghibli Magic.
The second floor is filled with art reference and materials from various Ghibli movies. The third floor has the cat bus (only for kids), the gift shop, and it’s where you’ll find the stairs that leads to the roof.
The roof garden is where you can finally bust out your camera and take some photos with this guy.
The gift shop is usually very busy and can be uncomfortable to browse around. There are no special Blu-Ray or DVD box sets, but they do have awesome stuff like this stain glass postcard!
© Copyright All photos were taken by Eric Bravo Photography