Reasons I love Japan #6: the movies of Hayao Miyazaki and the Ghibli Museum
I don’t think the great movie writer and director Hayao Miyazaki needs a lot of introduction for the audience of this forum.
Miyazaki is a storytelling genius, with a unique style and imagination. His movies overflow from original ideas and designs. They have great pacing as well. Besides having some of the best action scenes in anime, they also dare to be slow when necessary – to show small details and build atmosphere.
Miyazaki created a dozen or so movies. All of them are worth watching, and a handful of these are true masterpieces. Although it is hard to pick a favorite, "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" (天空の城ラピュタ) certainly ranks as one of them.
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Miyazaki co-founded Ghibli Studio’s, an animation studio whose output not only includes Miyazaki’s own movies, but also work from follow directors , most notably anime veteran Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko).
In Mitaka, a suburb on the west-side of Tokyo, the Ghibli Museum is located. This museum is dedicated to the movies of studio Ghibli and the art of animation in general.
It is a lovely museum. Not very large, but created with an absolute love for detail and craftsmanship. The permanent collection features a number of displays that explain (and show) how animation works. Part of the museum contains a recreation of the workplaces of the Ghibli artists, which shows the entire animation production process.
Besides the permanent collection, there is a changing exhibition (currently on Ponyo, Miyazaki’s most recent movie), and a movie theater that shows Ghibli animation shorts created exclusively for the museum.
The museum is about 15-20 minutes west from Shinjuku station (on the Chuo line).
For information on tickets and directions, visit the official site of the museum. For visitors from abroad: I recommend you get your tickets in advance, before traveling to japan. When ordering in advance, you will need to fix the date you will be going to the museum.
Another post on the Ghibli Museum and Mitaka was recently uploaded here by tsuin.t
A video tour of the museum is presented below.
Directions to the Ghibli Museum
This is where this photo tour stops, as there is a strict "no pictures" policy inside the museum (except for the roof garden).
The exclusive movie shorts shown in the museum are all very good, and enough reason alone to pay the museum a visit. Or return visit, for that matter – to see them all.
Only one movie is on display at each moment in time. The movies rotate every couple of weeks (schedule can be found on the Ghibli Museum site).
The movie short that was shown last time I visited the museum was "The Day I Harvested a Star" (星をかった日). I really enjoyed this movie.
In the Museum shop you can buy a picture book and soundtrack for each of the shorts.
On the roof of the museum, there is a garden where you can find the robot from "Castle in the Sky".