[TOKYO] Ghibli Museum: Totoro Animation Fantasy Land

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - direction

Dear Food Diary:
I fell in love with My Neighbor Totoro the first time I saw it back in the 90’s. It’s charm and cuteness overload have captured the hearts of millions, specially those in Asia.

I’m watching it as I’m typing right now, they have dubbed versions, but the original in Japanese is definitely the way to go.

With just one film, it has grown into a merchandising machine over the past 20+ years. Here in Japan, you can literally find Totoro everything, from chopsticks to bibs. Naturally Ghibli Museum, Mitaka aka Totoro “land” was on my must list for this trip.

About an 1.5 hr away from Akihabara Station, it took 2 trains, a bus and some confusion along the way. Thankfully, the locals wer there to help. From the moment I entered, it was like getting lost in a story book. An animated fantasy of Tororo land…

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - garden 2

If  Studio Ghibli doesn’t sound familiar, their films Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, Ponyo and Grave of the Fireflies (another favorite of mine – be warned it’s really sad) may ring a bell?

It took quite a bit of planning since they don’t sell tickets at the door. Advanced tickets are only sold at the local Lawson convenient store, which seemed easy enough, until I got to the store and the most important parts were in Japanese! Thankfully the girl at Lawson happen to speak Chinese and helped me fill out my name (in Japanese) and her number (I don’t have one in Japan).

My ticket was more than 2 weeks in advance, so you might want to get them before coming.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - giant totoro
The minute I entered and saw the giant Totoro I was smiling for ear to ear. This is my kind of “Happiest Place on Earth”.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - giant totoro 2
Kawaii!!! Even the dust bunnies underneath! Love, love, love. I was a child again… *jumping up and down*Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - giant totoro 3

They limit the amount of visitors per day. And no photos inside the building. I guess for those cute Totoro effects, the different animations and artist studio, you’ll have go see for yourself.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - totoro stain glass window

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - totoro stain glass window 2
The main entrance has Totoro stain glass windows. I was told no photos after I snapped these two. The funny thing is the colors are only seen from the inside, there’s no pigment on the outside.


Ghibli Museum entrance
The whole space is covered in green. Really dreamy and relaxing.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - storybook garden
Everywhere I looked, it seem to come out of a story book. I though Instagram would capture the ambiance best…
Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - outdoor area 2

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - outdoor area

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - story book well
Both the young and old had grins on their faces. Fascinated by little details around the garden as well as the cool animation rooms.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - outdoor area 3

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - robot from Laputa Castle in the Sky
The giant robot on the roof. Lapuda from Castle in the Sky.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - totoro dust bunnies
The dust bunnies/puffs from Totoro everywhere. Too cute!

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - movie film ticket
The movie ticket was an animated film strip. As you walked through the different areas of the museum, you could watch it on a little projector. Quite neat.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - garden

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - around the garden
Loved discovering every corner of the outdoor area.

Ghibli Museum Japan - old school soda
Old school soda pops for a really hot day.

Ghibli Museum Japan - restaurant
Lunch at the Straw Hat Cafe was about 1hr wait outdoors, in the summer heat.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - Straw Hat Cafe  interior and menu
Friendly and cool (thank God for AC, I was melting away), I finally had my table for one overlooking the little garden area.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - tototo katsu curry at Straw Hat Cafe
The menu wasn’t unique per se, but they suggest fresh ingredients and farm to table. I ordered their version of my beloved Katsu Curry. Rice and grains with a sweeter more tomato tasting curry. Fried pork cutlet. Nothing out of this world, but it did the job and I was hungry. Plus, the plate was super adorable.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - tototo katsu curry on totoro plate Straw Hat Cafe
I was scrapping the plate so I could see the full design. I later found the plate set at the gift shop.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - straw hat latte art
Straw hat latte made me smile at the end of the meal. It was hot outside but I just had to order it.

There’s a giant cat bus for kids to jump on, no fair! I would of loved to be on that giant plush, it occupied a whole room! Again, no photos allowed.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan 3
I’m not usually a sucker for souvenirs, but how could I resist…

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - garden totoro characters souvenirs

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - tototo trunk decoration

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - souvenirs gift shop
Came home with a mug, two of the cutest towels, magnets (I collect magnets from everywhere I go).

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - totoro keychain
And this cute keychain! Love the ramen bowl, Totoro and my favorite taiyaki.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - bus stop
Even the bus stop is cute.

Ghibli Museum Japan - bus
On my way back after a fun day, I took their designated bus to the train station.

Ghibli Museum is highly recommended for Totoro and animation fans. A perfect day to spend away from the city, in a sweet fantasy land.

To get tickets and for more information

Watch my Neighbor Totoro online


Saw this girl by the train station, thought she jumped out of the animated films… too cute right?

Ghibli Museum Mitaka, Japan - little japanese girl

5 Responses to [TOKYO] Ghibli Museum: Totoro Animation Fantasy Land

  1. softrice says:

    I hate the no photos rule! Makes no sense too!

    • well at the museum, I can understand, but a few of the high end restaurants here, don’t allow photos when you pay like $300 for a meal! that’s a bit crazy… i can understand if they ban flash… right?

      • softrice says:

        So you’ve been hitting all the high end restaurants! 😉

        I disagree with no photos regardless if it’s the museum or restaurants … they don’t lose anything from the photos!

        • Nah, I just read about them… and with my lack of Japanese, I’m waiting for another time to try it out =)

          Yeah, some photo policies are just ridiculous and obnoxious… that’s why when I went to David Chang’s Ko, I brought a sharpie and drew it LOL they didn’t look happy about that either, cuz it actually took me longer LOL

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