The awe-inspiring worlds of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki have always been a little hard to access, especially for those who aren’t living in Japan (or who didn’t collect all the DVDs back when they were released in the early 2000s). But 2020 and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bring them a little closer to the rest of the world. Following the addition of all of Ghibli’s catalog to HBO Max, the Ghibli Museum is giving the internet a rare peek inside its foliage-covered doors with a virtual tour hosted on its YouTube channel.
Get ready to get spirited away to Tokyo, Japan, with a virtual tour of the Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka. The museum has been closed indefinitely in response to government restrictions to the coronavirus pandemic, but to make the world a little more whimsical, the Studio Ghibli team have opened a new YouTube channel to give a free virtual tour of the museum.
In a series of videos that run around a minute long each, the Ghibli Museum channel spotlights a different exhibit or feature of the museum, from the breathtaking mural in the “Space of Wonder” room, which has lovely little paintings of the Catbus and Kiki, to the exterior recreations of the houses from My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Stained glass windows (with designs of the forest creatures from Totoro) bring streams of light into nearly every room. The museum’s permanent exhibit “Where a Film is Born” is filled with props, models, books, and stacks of artwork from films like Castle in the Sky and The Wind Rises. There’s also a peek at the Straw Hat café that offers Ghibli-themed snacks (which sadly, we cannot try).
The virtual tour gives a rare peek inside the museum, which is closed off to anyone who doesn’t have a ticket. Visitors have always been prohibited from taking photos, and the museum’s website doesn’t feature pictures of the exhibits. There are 12 videos total as of now and you can see the rest on the museum’s official YouTube channel and site.
It’s a wonderful way to visit the Ghibli Museum without buying a ticket to Tokyo, which we won’t be able to do anytime soon anyways. Still, it’s exciting to see the Ghibli Museum finally lift its veil of secrecy a little and show us the magic inside. And it will tide us over while we wait for that Ghibli theme park to open.
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