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The Ghibli Museum Brings Japanese Animation to Life

Twenty minutes from Tokyo, families can step into the magical world of Studio Ghibli

Don\’t just turn up at Tokyo\’s Ghibli Museum – tickets are only sold in advance and the museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Few places will indulge a passion for Japanese animation like the Ghibli museum in Mitaka, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo. The museum, shaped like a European castle, seems to have come straight from the films produced by Studio Ghibli. Just as their movies do, the museum will appeal to people of all ages, making it an informative and entertaining excursion for the entire family.

Far from the typical museum layout, the Ghibli’s design beckons children to explore on hands and knees, with terraces, bridges, and small spiral staircases throughout. Exhibits narrate the history of animation and then use storyboards and sketches to take you from a film’s genesis through to its finished product. In a studio replica, a zoetrope spins static characters into action. The museum’s theater plays an exclusive Studio Ghibli short for visitors and children under 12 can take part in an interactive exhibit that teams them up with animated Ghibli characters on a climbable, fuzzy cat-shaped bus.

Atop the museum is a whimsical rooftop garden with a statue of a Robot Soldier from the film “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” and the gift shop is a treasure trove of DVDs, books, toys, and puppets. A café serving both Japanese and Western-style dishes serves as the perfect place for an intermission.

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