Ghibli Exhibition at Roppongi Hills

Ghibli exhibition
The Ghibli Exhibition: Close Up

Studio Ghibli’s movies have long fascinated me. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to get tickets for the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka during our time in Tokyo.  Instead, we had the luck of visiting Japan while the Ghibli Exhibition in Roppongi Hills was going on. Not only the exhibition was well worth the price,  but the sight from the top of the Mori Tower itself was absolutely worth the everything. I will keep this review short and sweet as the exhibition is best experienced as it is.

Ghibli Exhibition ~ From Nausicaa to latest work, The Red Turtle ~

The exhibition is open from July 7, 2016 until September 11, 2016. This means that there are a few weeks left for a chance to visit the exhibit!  We went there on July 20  sometime later in the evening. The opening hours are from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm, with the last admission being 9:30 pm.

Getting in

When in Roppongi Hills, you have to find your way to Tokyo City View. Each of us paid 1800 yen to get to the top of the Mori Tower. Then we entered the elevator which took us to the 52nd floor of the building. After we got out, a staff member kindly pointed us into the direction of the Ghibli exhibition.

Ghibli Exhibition Entrance Ticket
Ghibli Exhibition Entrance Ticket

We had a chance to have a picture taken of us with the Tokyo Tower right before entering the exhibit. You can either ignore the “booth”, pay for the full photo or come away with a free small photo sample as a souvenir. We opted for the last option. Anyway, the sight was stunning so we stayed there for a while.

The Red Turtle

Then we entered the exhibit. The first section is dedicated to The Red Turtle. Although I hadn’t seen the movie before arriving in Japan, I did read interviews and see some documentaries with Michael Dudok de Wit, the director of the film. To me it was quite amazing to see a fellow Dutchman’s work in an Ghibli exhibition at all. I would lie if I said that I didn’t feel a bit proud.

Still, an exhibition like this one is best appreciated if you have seen the work. In our case we hadn’t, and neither did the Japanese who paid it a visit. This section wasn’t terribly busy, so it would have been interesting to see how the TRT exhibit would be received after its release in Japan.  However, The Red Turtle won’t be in the Japanese theaters until a week after the exhibition is over. I enjoyed this section a lot, and I wouldn’t have minded going again after having seen the movie itself.

A look behind the scenes

When we got there initially the exhibition didn’t look too busy.  We got proven wrong after we entered the main part of the exhibition: lots of people there. If I’m not mistaken we first saw the room with a huge amount of posters, some of which I hadn’t seen before. In the following spaces there were plenty of original drawings, print advertising, a collection of goods, and even a replicated workspace of one of the Ghibli staff members. We also saw a huge Totoro behind a bar and some soot sprites in the “staircase” behind him.

Anyway, up until here no photographs are allowed in a major part of the exhibition.

The World of Ghibli

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Then we got to this section. It was simply magical. I’m a big fan of The Castle in the Sky in particular so this was a joy for me to see. The best part was probably the airship which moved up and down. I seriously didn’t expect that.

The Cat Bus

Cat bus
The Cat Bus from My Neighbour Totoro

This was great. Adults and children alike enjoyed it. Be prepared to wait long for a picture with the Cat Bus.

Bonus: A view of Tokyo

Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower

Like I mentioned before, apart from the exhibition itself we had an excellent view of Tokyo, as we were on 52nd floor of the Mori Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo. It was much better than the view we had on the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building we went to earlier in the week. We came there late in the evening,  so seeing the night view of Tokyo after we ended our walk in the exhibit was an amazing experience.

Ghibli Shop

But it didn’t end there.  We went two floors down and ended up at the Ghibli shop! There’s a nice selection of goods in the shop. They even had The Red Turtle merchandise!

Needless to say, I bought the exhibition pamphlet at the Ghibli Shop:

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The pamphlet.
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A look inside the pamphlet.

The pamphlet contains an interview with Producer Suzuki Toshio and an overview of Ghibli’s works, from Nausicaa until When Marnie was there. Each work has a blurb with a comment with Suzuki as well.

Conclusion

I felt a bit sad about not being able to visit the museum in Mitaka, but this was a really good replacement. The exhibit had a lot more to offer than I initially thought it would. It entertained me for at least a couple of hours. Not to mention the view from the observation deck is great.  If you’re around in the area, I would recommend you to go before it shuts down. It whetted my appetite, and now I look even more forward to going to the Ghibli Museum sometime in the future!

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