It comes as a surprise to many of my readers—and especially, those who hire me to plan their trips to Japan—that I’m not much of an anime or manga person. I don’t dislike these art forms; I’ve just never gone out of my way to partake in them.
Indeed, my desire to visit the Ghibli Museum just outside of Tokyo wasn’t because I’m a Ghibli super-fan, or that I’m a fan at all. I honestly just wanted to know if I could do it, given how difficult it is to get tickets (more on that in a minute).
So, is the Ghibli Museum worth it? That will depend not only on how much you love the studio’s work, but more fundamentally if you’re lucky enough to be able to visit in the first place.
Getting Ghibli Museum Tickets is Almost Impossible
Whether or not you find the Ghibli Museum worth it, in the end, you’ll have to get tickets in the first place to make that call. The good news? I know from recent personal experience that it is possible to get these tickets. The bad news? I have dozens of clients who’ve failed to get them, in spite of logging onto the website where they’re sold right at or even before the designated time.
Tickets for the Ghibli Museum go on sale on at 10 AM JST on the 10th of one month, for admission during the subsequent one. So if you want to visit in November 2024, you’ll need to be logged on at (or, ideally, a bit before) 10 AM JST on October 10, 2024. As you’re calculating the corresponding time where you live, keep in mind that Japan does not observe daylight savings time, even if your country or state does.
Things to Know About Visiting the Ghibli Museum
You can’t take pictures inside
As you might have read online prior to visiting this website, you can’t take pictures inside the Ghibli Museum. You can, however, take pictures in the various outdoor areas, so if you’re like me and need photographic evidence that you visited somewhere, you can relax.
(And there’s a silver lining to this)
Thankfully, what you find inside it more than makes the Ghibli Museum worth it, photos or not. Indeed, the reason photos are banned inside is that the museum operators want you to be present and focused on the exhibitions themselves. And it works! I was absolutely enthralled.
The short film is worth sitting down for
Right after you enter, one of the first places you’ll pass is a small theater, which shows a 20-minute short film. Which one is up to chance, but all were created especially for the museum. Even if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I urge you to sit down for it. It sets the mood for your visit perfectly!
The food is mediocre
On the other hand, the food at the Straw Hat Cafe is not part of what makes the Ghibli Museum worth it, in my opinion. The cafe itself is charming, of course, but I recommend that you at something near Mitaka or Kichoji Stations after visiting the museum, rather than eating on site.
It will wow you, even if you’re not a Ghibli fan
While I’m not in a rush to watch all of Studio Ghibli’s films following my visit, I must say I have a new appreciation for the worlds that Hayao Miyazaki has created. Certainly, it’s made me want to try and score tickets to Ghibli Park the next time I’m in Nagoya!
How to Get to Ghibli Museum (if You Get Tickets)
Once you have your tickets in hand, it’s easy to get to the Ghibli Museum. Simply get yourself to any station along the JR Chuo Line, such as Tokyo or Shinjuku, and board a westbound Rapid service. While the official museum website will advise you to get off at Mitaka Station, Kichioji Station is actually the exact same walking distance from the museum entrance.
TIP: If you find the Ghibli Museum worth it, make sure to stop either on the way there or on the way back at Nakano Station. A 5-minute walk northward from here takes you to Nakano Broadway, an unassuming shopping mall that may be Tokyo’s most exciting hub for anime and manga paraphernalia. A visit here makes for an unforgettable 1-2 punch!
Other FAQ About Visiting the Ghibli Museum
How hard is it to get Ghibli Museum tickets?
It is almost impossible to get Ghibli Museum tickets, at least if you don’t speak Japanese and reside in Japan, in which case you can get tickets on a website with greater availability. However, I do know from personal experience that it is possible to buy tickets on the English website, so please don’t give up hope!
Why can’t you take pictures in the Ghibli Museum?
The operators of the Ghibli Museum want guests to be fully immersed in the exhibitions on offer there. This, and not any desire to protect intellectual property or restrict behavior, is the reason that you can’t take photos in the indoor areas of the Ghibli Museum (although photography is permitted in outdoor areas).
What is the difference between the Ghibli Museum and the Ghibli Park?
The Ghibli Museum exists within a small (but dense) building in Mitaka, in the western suburbs of Tokyo. Ghibli Park, on the other hand, is a sprawling amusement area outside of Nagoya. As you might expect, getting tickets to Ghibli Park is just as difficult as procuring them for the Ghibli Museum.
The Bottom Line
Is the Ghibli Museum worth it? Honestly, it knocked my socks off, and I’m not even what most people would call a Ghlibi fan. Well, I wasn’t before I went—seeing the work of Hayao Miyazaki and company brought to life within the magical museum just outside of Tokyo was something of a conversion experience for me. Of course, it was pure luck that I got tickets in the first place; many travelers (and many Ghibli super-fans) are not so fortunate. If you’ve seen Spirited Away more times than you can count, I’m crossing my fingers that you get tickets! Whether or not your trip to Japan stops here, I do hope you’ll consider hiring me to plan it.