A Glimpse of Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is the name of a pretty famous Japanese animation studio based out of Toyko, Japan, run by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki. Most of the films put out since the studio was built (in 1985) were written and directed by Miyazaki but all three play a hand in the overall films.  There is a huge Ghibli Museum in Japan but if you want to go you’d better plan ahead because ticket reservations will have you wait about a year until it’s your turn to go in. These guys are kind of a big deal.

The guys at Studio Ghibli have been known to lend out some of their life-sized film recreations to other countries who host the mini Ghibli  Museum exhibit in their country for a few months. This time, Studio Ghibli has lent their work to Seoul, so Studio Ghibli is here! For those fans of Miyazaki who live here in Korea, this is not hot-off-the-press-news as it’s been here since September, but for those of you around the world who are also fans but haven’t had the exhibit come to your city yet, this article is for you.

I’ll include how to get to the exhibit later but for now let’s let the photos tell the rest of this story. Let us begin with one of my favourites, the movie made after a book by the name of Howl’s Moving Castle.


Calcifer the fire demon, waiting for Sophie to get home.


A very tiny Howl (not sure what was up with that-he’s actually quite tall in the book and movie) and the scarecrow outside the window.


Howl’s actual moving castle. This display had moving parts as well!


A 3D photo behind glass, showing Sophie’s workshop.

Next, we walk into the world of Princess Mononoke where forest gods battle man’s desire for consumption.


Prince Ashitaka and his trusty steed, an elk named Yakul.


San and her family, a pack of wolves. She is judging you and all of mankind from her rock ledge.


The great forest god appearing behind a screen of fog as we walk by.

Next let’s visit everyone’s favourite neighbour, Totoro! Let’s go!

Totoro sleeping in the forest, as forest spirits often do.

Totoro sleeping in the forest, as forest spirits often do. This view can be spied through a hole carved into a huge tree trunk or stone wall, I wasn’t sure which.


Satsuki and Mei wait for their Dad to come home from work. Totoro comes by to keep them company on the darkening road.


Mei and Satsuki sit with the scary cat-bus from My Neighbour Totoro.

From one enchanted forest to another, we now wander into a spirit town in another dimension where a young girl by the name of Chihiro gets lost and must work her way back to her parents.


Chihiro crosses the bridge into the spirit world.


The witch and villian of the story, Yubaba. Hard at work turning people into animals and taking people’s names.


The spirit known as “No Face” who is the spirit of a polluted river. Bet you never thought a river could have a spirit.


My dear friend Jennifer (see Japan travels) and I have a seat with No Face on the boat.

There were other life-sized recreations from other movies such as Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, but they didn’t make the cut. Some photos didn’t turn out as we weren’t even supposed to take pictures so when we did, we tried not to use the flash as to remain discreet. See what I do for you, Dear Readers? I break rules for you! That’s real love.

Here are the stats on how to get there if you’re in Korea:

*The exhibit is inside the Yongsan I’Park Mall on the 6th floor. The mall can be accessed by getting off at Yongsan station (Jungang line and line 1).

*Leave through exit 3 and head right. You’ll see a set of glass doors and an escalator. Take that escalator and you’re in the I’Park mall.

*Admission is 15,000 won for adults and the hours are 11am-8pm. The exhibit hosts suggest you need an hour to walk through the recreated scenes, so last admission is at 7pm.

*It’s open now until March 1st, 2015.

It didn’t take that long for us to walk through because we went on a long weekend Saturday and also after it had already been open about a month. My only complaint is that I wish there was more and perhaps some characters from the underwater story of Ponyo. Regardless of my greedy wishes, it was a truly enchanting walk through the worlds of Studio Ghibli creations and I know I’m lucky to have had a chance to see any of it without waiting a year and budgeting a trip back to Japan. I hope Studio Ghibli comes to your city next!


3 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Ghibli

  1. Kar Loo Loo – always interesting and unique, thanks, Uncle Rand

  2. Hi Sweetheart:
    Another adventure without leaving your current home. Enjoyed the pix and history and culture.
    nana and the Husband xxxxxxxxxxxxooo

  3. Hugs…well this just made me want to see it even more. It’s a shame they didn’t make Howl true to size. My favourite pics are the ones with no face and you on the subway with him. Also you princess pic description was hilarious.

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