||Studio Ghibli Museum||
|Ticket and Travel Guide by Warren Savage
Information current as of 1 January 2003
According to the Ghibli Museum website, "Entrance to the Ghibli Museum is strictly by advance purchase of a reserved ticket which specifies the appointed date of the reservation." So, if you are planning on traveling to Japan, you need to purchase your ticket before you go. Here's how to do it:
FIRST, when you buy the voucher, be very sure of the day you want to go. Once the voucher is purchased, you are stuck with going on that date. There are NO exchanges of date and NO refunds if you find you can't go.
This page has information in English on ticket purchase and links to exclusive ticket agents in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. This page also has a link to the Museum's open-for-business calendar. Generally, the museum is closed on Tuesday.
As I live in Northern California, I visited this page and contacted the JTB office in San Francisco. The travel agent confirmed that reservations were still available for the day I wanted. She e-mailed me the Ghibli Museum request-and-purchase form, and asked that I fill it out, sign it, and FAX it to their office (they wanted the signature for the credit card transaction.) I did all this, and 2 days later received a letter from the agency containing the invoice and the voucher. The cost was ¥1000 rounded to the next whole dollar amount at the current exchange rate, plus a $5 servicing fee.
The voucher was two identical forms stapled together with my full name and passport number, and the date of admission. There is room on the form for up to six names, so one voucher is used for family purchases.
DO NOT LOSE THIS VOUCHER! It is the only way you will be admitted to the museum, and only on the day you purchased it for. I folded the voucher up and stuck it inside the zippered pocket of my wallet.
Tokyo's train system is vast and efficient - there is almost always more than one way to get somewhere from any given starting point. As most foreign visitors will probably pass through Shinjuku station on the way to the Ghibli Museum, I'll describe that part of the route. If you know your starting and ending stations, this webpage will give you multiple routings and tell you the cost of each routing and each leg of the routing.
There are three different train companies at the Shinjuku station - the Odakyu, the Keio and the JR National. You want to take the JR trains. Go to the ticket machines and purchase a ticket for ¥210. Use the ticket to go through the barrier into the station. Stick the ticket in the slot of the barrier, walk through and retrieve your ticket from the other slot. Keep your ticket with you - you need it to get through the barrier at the end of your trip.
The JR Shinjuku station has 14 platforms. You want Platform 10, for the Chuo line Rapid service. Mitaka is the ninth station from Shinjuku. Some of the trains don't stop at the first and second stations, saving you two minutes on the trip to Mitaka.
At Mitaka, use your ticket to get through the barriers (the machine keeps the ticket if the fare you paid is at or over the amount to travel to that station, otherwise, it closes the gate, makes a loud, embarrassing noise and gives you back the ticket to take to the Fare Adjustment machine or the Station Agent.)
Once through the main barriers, go out through the South exit. There's a flight of stairs to the right that go down to the street level. On the east side of the bus terminal area (on the other side of the road,) is a green sign like the one shown on this webpage.
The busses DO look like those shown on the web page. If you're still confused, you can ask a local "Neko-basu-tei wa doko desu ka?", and they'll point you to the proper bus stop. According to this web page, adult fare is ¥200 one-way and ¥300 round-trip; children are half the adult fare.
I arrived about 10 minutes before opening time. Museum employees were asking attendees to show them the admission vouchers, to make sure they had vouchers and that they were for the correct day. I presented my voucher and passport, she checked them to make sure I was admittable, handed them back and thanked me.
The next station is what I call the ticket desk. I was waved to the next available clerk where I presented the voucher and my passport. She checked the information thoroughly, then kept the voucher and returned my passport to me.
Next she gave me the Museum Information guide. She took the time to point out there was a page in English, and also pointed out that there is no photography allowed in the museum. Finally, she presented the 'Film ticket' - this is a cardboard frame that contains three frames of 35mm film from an actual Studio Ghibli Movie theatrical print. (Okay, mine is from the Whisper of the Heart fantasy scene where Shizuku is just about to step off the floating island.)
Finally, I started down the flight of stairs into the first floor of the museum. . .