Studio Ghibli is without a doubt the most famous animation studio in Japan. The studio has produced some of the most beautiful and fantastic films that have stood the test of time, transcended language barriers and inspired millions. Ghibli fans visiting Tokyo, these are some of the places you should definitely include in your itinerary, and tick off your bucket list.
Donguri republic is the official Studio Ghibli merchandise store. If you are unable to visit the museum (more on that later!), this is probably the next best thing, as all items sold are approved by the Studio, ensuring quality.
There are a ton of items to choose from- puzzles, key chains, flower pots, music boxes and plushies, all themed after your favourite ghibli films! There are also seasonal items. For all locations, click here.
Shirohige cream puff factory
I mean look at them. These adorable cream puffs are sold in a cute little cafe owned by a relative of Hayao Miyazaki himself. These famous cream puffs come in 2 main flavours- custard and chocolate, with other flavours sold on a rotational basis.
Besides the cream puffs, the cafe also sells lunch sets and other pastries. You can choose to dine in or take out. Visit their official website here. Location
Animate and other anime stores
Most anime stores around Tokyo will have a small section within them dedicated to Studio Ghibli, just because of how popular some of the characters (Totoro & Gigi in particular) are in Japan.
Animate, for example, is a great place to scout for Ghilbi goods, and so is Kotobukiya. If you happen to be in Akihabara or Ikebukuro, these stores are everywhere, so finding Ghibli merchandise is made easy! For official goods, look out for the small round sticker shown above.
The Ghibli museum is the hand crafted legacy of the legendary studio Ghibli, which was carefully envisioned by Hayao Miyazaki himself. The museum is an absolute wonder, and each ticket also gives you access to the screening of an exclusive short film. It’s a definite must see for Ghibli fans!
For information on ticketing, click here. Prior booking is required, and tickets can strictly only be used on date & time booked. I recommend you try your best to buy tickets online (tickets are sold a month in advance) instead of at Lawson. You can take a look at my guide to the museum here. Location
Edo- Tokyo Open air Architectural museum
The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is an open air museum which exhibits historic buildings, which have all been relocated to one area. Miyazaki was a big fan of the museum, and much of its architecture has inspired the setting of Spirited Away.
In particular, the Tokyo Toden 7500 series train and Public Bathhouse Kodakara-yu are both pictured with no face at the museum’s reception. Korekiyo Takahashi’s Mansion is said to have inspired the bath house’s sleeping quarters. Takei-Sanshoudou (Stationery store) is the inspiration for Kama-ji’s quaters, where he used his spider legs to reach the shelves. Visit their fantastic English website here for more information. Location
Designed by Miyazaki, this giant clock has an insane amount of detail and weighs a whopping 28 tonnes. The clock resembles Howl’s moving castle and showcases a cute show every day at 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 8pm, and there is an extra morning show on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am. The clock starts moving about 4 minutes before the hour, so be sure to arrive a little early! Location
Studio Ghibli Corporate office
This one is for all the hardcore fans, as the building is an actual office, and is hence not open to the public. There are also no specific Ghibli motifs outside the office. Still, there’s a little sign indicating ‘Studio Ghibli’ and the building is really pretty, so feel free to take pictures of the exterior! Location
Whisper of the heart film location: Seiseki- Sakuragaoka station
If you want to visit a ghibli film location, this is definitely one of the most accessible and convenient, as the train station and the neighborhood around it is located only 20 minutes away from Shinjuku Station!
The residential area is a great place to explore on your own, although there are also film tours (Japanese only). Before going, be sure to take a look at the map, which I will leave here, so that you can visit all the places in Whisper of the heart. There is also a map in front of the station. Location
Bonus: Totoro Forrest in Saitama!
Just 50 minutes away from Shinjuku station is Fuchi no Mori, the beautiful forrest Miyazaki grew up around, and the inspiration for the forest shown in My Neighbor Totoro. The forrest has since been officially nicknamed Totoro forest. Miyazaki himself is actively involved in its conservation. Location
Kurosuke’s House, also in Saitama, is said to be the home of the little soot spirits. The traditional Japanese house is free to enter and has small ghibli displays. The house is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only, from 10am – 3pm. Location
[Adapted from my now missing Odigo page]
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