A virtual trip to the Ghibli Museum
February 5, 2018 8:39 PM   Subscribe

If you can't make it to the Studio Ghibli Museum (Museo d'Arte Ghibli) in Japan (Google streetview), you can take a (low resolution, mostly text) tour or see someone else's video recording of a tour (no audio, but good video, with some stroboscopic animations), or enjoy three audience recordings of the exclusive shorts: Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess (Vk.com), Water Spider Monmon (Daily Motion), and Mei and the Kittenbus (Daily Motion, with English subs). If that last shuttery video is hard to watch, enjoy the soundtrack and two similar (YouTube) but different videos (Bili Bili) with stills of the short.
posted by filthy light thief (23 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
KItten bus! Kitten bus!
posted by Artw at 9:03 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


The short animated films that only screen at the museum are a highlight of a visit (which should be on everyone's bucketlist). The pilgrimage is part of the magic, so stealing bootleg copies and distributing them is very disrespectful to Hayao Miyazaki and his painstakingly handdrawn art.
posted by fairmettle at 9:09 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Really? They ask that you don't take pictures, let alone share them online. These links seem to violate that request.

The video short was fun, but for me the highlight was the mockup of Miyazaki's studio on the second floor, which will always stay with me--especially the huge bucket full of colored pencil stubs and the overflowing stacks of books everywhere.
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 9:31 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Any friend of Totoro is a friend of mine.
posted by Catblack at 9:32 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


If you ever find yourself in Tokyo and have even a passing interest in Miyazaki movies, I highly recommend a visit. It isn't huge, but it is a very beautiful museum and very intimate. The entrance ticket you get is actually a single frame from a film and the replica workroom has bin after bin of Miyazaki's hand drawings there for you to peruse (fairly quickly, there's a line). The fact you can just pick up drawings and handle them with no real security is mind-blowing as an American.

People compare Miyazaki to Disney, but his museum felt more like a visit to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood - intimate, child-like, trusting and pure.
posted by lubujackson at 11:54 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


I found Ghibli to be easily the most over-rated attraction I've ever visited in Japan. And I love Ghibli! It's ridiculously small for the number of visitors that they get, and unless things have changed, there's no limit to how long you can spend in there. Which means that families who turn up in the morning are still gammying up the place well into the afternoon. You end up with insane queues to peer for 5 seconds at what little they do have on display. /rant

The only (and I really do mean only) saving grace was the short I got to see in the basement. I think people were sitting on the stairs, it was that busy. If you don't care about the short, maybe just watch the tour video and skip.

But even so, I'm not a fan of linking to the "exclusive"shorts here.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 12:31 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


As far as I know, the tickets are for two-hour slots, four times a day. In my experience it gets less crowded towards the end of the slot as people leave early.
posted by Umami Dearest at 2:24 AM on February 6


Anecdote: When we went a couple of years ago, we didn't feel it was overly crowded - obviously it will depend a lot on the time of year you go. It is fairly small, so it's worth setting your expectations appropriately (we knew this going in, so we were fine). Also, it's a pleasant walk from the train station.
posted by adrianhon at 3:24 AM on February 6


I went several years ago, and one thing I would also caution is that the museum is a bit of a hike from Tokyo and there weren't a lot of other attractions nearby, so it can take up a half of your day, and may stress you out if you've got a long list of must-see stuff. With that said, if you're less structured about your vacation and open to spending an afternoon, it's really sweet and lovely.

My particular highlights were the studio replica and the stroboscopic animations.

There is a catbus but it's more of a cat sofa. Though it probably would be a legit catbus in the imagination of an eight year old.
posted by bl1nk at 4:22 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


This museum is kind of a “bucket list” life goal for me.

(I’m not watching these videos)

I WANNA SEE THE CATBUS
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:40 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Visiting the Ghibli Museum was the closest I’ve ever come to wandering through someone’s really amazing sketchbook. I work in museums, and help create exhibit experiences that are immersive and hands-on and even I was amazed at how much you could really touch and experience in the studio tour. I’m also generally strongly in favor of letting visitors take photos in museums, but I actually appreciated the no-photo policy there, because everyone there was more focused on the actual experience.
posted by heurtebise at 5:42 AM on February 6


Fiiiine, I won’t watch these and I’ll go to Japan instead....

Kitten bus!
posted by Artw at 5:43 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


As a not-rich person this is the only possible way I'll ever get to see the shorts, so I like them here.

I can, sort of, maybe, if I really stretch, see the point in keeping them exclusive. But to me it feels very classist to say that they shouldn't be available except to those wealthy enough to take a vacation to Tokyo just to see them.
posted by sotonohito at 6:17 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of Studio Ghibli was also the 3D Zoetrope, which can't really be captured on film.

The cat bus was so covered in delighted children that I couldn't even really see it, let alone enjoy it.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:16 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I'm glad the videos are available to watch here. I will probably never be able to visit Japan. If I lived there I would visit the museum.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:11 AM on February 6


If you are planning to visit, note that you've got to buy tickets well in advance. Also you've got to be an actual child to play on the cat bus. We went earlier this year and the short film playing was so good. No Japanese language ability is needed to enjoy it.
posted by ejoey at 9:32 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The cat bus was so covered in delighted children that I couldn't even really see it, let alone enjoy it.

Sounds like the catbus is operating perfectly.
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


My daughter was able to play on the catbus (you have to be under a certain height to play on it) and she was thrilled.
posted by mogget at 11:07 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I was there in December 2016, and though there was a catbus limited to kids, there was also a general catbus that adults can sit in, too. I have never been more delighted. Everything in this museum made something in me hum.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:05 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I also found it a bit disappointing when we went, as a huge ghibli fan. It's in the middle of nowhere, it's very small, getting something to eat at the cafe was pretty much impossible or was just too packed, and it's literally in the burbs so there wasn't much to eat around.

The furniture and mise en scene, for lack of a better word, is really pretty, but it's not really a museum, nor is it really a gallery. It's more kind of like a large ghibli themed house - and like a house there's some cool art on the ways and nice furniture bit it's not really for playing or interacting with, and little of what you see is original.
posted by smoke at 12:37 PM on February 6


But to me it feels very classist to say that they shouldn't be available except to those wealthy enough to take a vacation to Tokyo just to see them.
a resident of Kyoto doesn't have to be that wealthy to visit Tokyo.

I think it's kind of easy to forget that there are a lot of cultural attractions in Japan that are primarily for the Japanese to enjoy for themselves. And if it's difficult for foreigners to access, well: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I wonder how often American theaters or music venues worry that they're not accommodating enough to Chinese tourists.
posted by bl1nk at 6:49 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


I wonder how often American theaters or music venues worry that they're not accommodating enough to Chinese tourists.

It's not a theater or music venue. It's a museum. Museums in the U.S. worry an awful lot about how accessible they are to foreign tourists.

It's also incredibly difficult to get tickets to this high demand museum. If you don't live in Japan, you have to visit a specific travel office that you may or may not have in your city (if you live in a city) or even in your country. You have to visit that office four months before the day you want to go as that is when tickets are released and they sell out insanely fast.

It makes sense that a museum in Japan wants to remain accessible to the people who live in the country. The question is whether those who may not have been fortunate enough to be born in the same country as a particular museum and may not have the means to visit that country ought to be obstructed from viewing a museum's contents via the internet so they can marvel at it. Of course with films this raises the question of intellectual property and therein lies the eternal conflict of copyright and freedom of information.
posted by donut_princess at 7:42 PM on February 6


It's also incredibly difficult to get tickets to this high demand museum. If you don't live in Japan, you have to visit a specific travel office that you may or may not have in your city (if you live in a city) or even in your country. You have to visit that office four months before the day you want to go as that is when tickets are released and they sell out insanely fast.

It's tough when you live in Japan too. When I bought my ticket at the convenience store, it was about a month before my visit. If I recall correctly, that's when the tickets are released for sale domestically. Even so, I could only get ticket for the afternoon entry slots. Honestly though, if you can afford the trip to Japan, there are many, many places you should visit before even thinking about this museum.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 6:44 PM on February 7


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