Ghibli Museum Opens Its Virtual Doors

Japan's legendary animation company opens its doors online: tour the Ghibli Museum, draw your own Totoro, work on a Ghibli film, download a Forest Spirit to help out in a Zoom meeting.

The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka city, Tokyo, has opened its doors online — offering visitors virtual tours of some of its rooms and exhibitions for the first time since its inception in 2001. It’s a rare chance to take a peek at what’s inside the museum, which has long maintained a strict no-photography-indoors policy. Typically, fans of the studio’s heartwarming films created by Hayao Miyazaki would have to purchase museum tickets one to two months in advance.

The short videos can be found on the museum’s Youtube page. In one clip, you’re invited to the permanent exhibition “Where a Film Is Born”, a recreation of an animation studio that’s complete with cozy vintage furniture, sketches and paintings from numerous Ghibli films found on nearly every surface, as well as an impressive mini library. A recent video walks you through the light-filled Central Hall of the museum, where you’ll find a delightful steampunk-inspired elevator and elaborate stained-glass doors featuring characters from Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Then scratch your creative itch by following this tutorial by Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki on how to draw the most iconic character associated with the studio: Totoro, the fluffy, feline-esque forest spirit from the eponymous 1988 film. There aren’t any closed captions available as of now, but you can find the translated English instructions here.

Getting ready for your next Zoom meeting? Show up to work with any of these beautiful Ghibli wallpapers as your video background, recently released for free downloading by the studio. The artworks, from films such as the more well-known Princess Mononoke to TV movies like Ocean Waves, can be used across a variety of video-call platforms.

It’s the perfect lead-up to what we’re really looking forward to — in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer Suzuki revealed updates on the slow but sure development of two new Studio Ghibli films. Miyazaki is currently working on a “big, fantastical” feature film, How Do You Live?, and his son Goro — who directed Tales from Earthsea and From Up on a Poppy Hill — has an untitled project in the works. Both films do not have a release date yet.

Written by

Hannah Ooi

We use cookies for a number of reasons, such as keeping Smile website reliable and secure, personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to analyse how our Sites are used.