© Logan Ly
© Logan Ly

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Real-life Studio Ghibli locations in Tokyo to visit

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Studio Ghibli lovers rejoice - Tokyo is one of the best places in the world where you can live out your favourite animation movies. Growing up, Studio Ghibli were my ultimate comfort childhood films (and still is). From Kiki Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle - the animation style, attention to detail and storytelling simply whisked me to another world. It was a world that I thought was only possible in my imagination and on screen, that was until I moved to Tokyo. Now living as an adult in Japan’s capital city, the different corners I turn in the metropolis make it feel like I’m actually spirited away. Then there are actual places that aren’t just reminiscent of Japan’s powerhouse in animation but actually dedicated to Studio Ghibli itself. Here are all of the places in Tokyo where you can go to live out Studio Ghibli’s magic in real life. Curious? Follow me on Instagram and YouTube for more adventures!

© Logan Ly
© Logan Ly

Shiro Hige's Cream Puff Factory

Do you love My Neighbour Totoro? Then you’re in for a treat (literally). Shiro Hige's Cream Puff Factory are two bakeries where you can enjoy Totoro-shaped cream puffs. They are meticulously made and baked fresh each day in the shape of our beloved Totoro. Each cream puff is delicately decorated with the flavour’s design (for example, the custard flavour has a sugared green leaf adorning its ear). They also sometimes stock other Ghibli character treats, like Catbus cookies too! These are the only stores that are granted official licenses to make any Studio Ghibli-related treats since the owner is actually the sister-in-law of Hayao Miyazaki (the creator of the animations) himself. Every time I come by to get a cream puff, they’re almost too adorable for me to eat! 

The Setagaya location (address: 5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0033, Japan) is tucked away in a residential neighbourhood, where you can feel a peaceful nature akin to the Totoro movie itself. There’s a cafe upstairs, but you’ll have to wait in often a long queue, followed by a one-drink ordering policy. Whereas if you get the cream puffs for takeaway, you can skip the line-up and go straight into the bakery (which is way better designed with cute autograph posters than the separate cafe business upstairs). The second location is Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory - Kichijoji (address: 2 Chome-7-5 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-0003, Japan) which is a purely takeaway spot, but only a few blocks away from the Studio Ghibli museum. 

© Logan Ly
© Logan Ly

Donguri Republic stores

Studio Ghibli merchandise can be hard to get since only select few designated stores can stock the official items. Luckily for us, throughout Japan and Tokyo are Donguri Republic. Donguri Republic are exclusive Studio Ghibli stores stocking everything from character design notebooks, plushies from your favourite films, some apparel, toys, keychains, coin purses, art books, and so much more. There a few Donguri Republic stores dotted all across Tokyo, and the fun thing about exploring all of them is that each one has different designs (including real-life-size characters for photo-op spots). The can’t-miss store is the Donguri Republic located at Tokyo Skytree. Catbus greets you at the entrance and inside there’s a huge Totoro figure that you can take a photo with by the iconic bus stop! The Donguri Republic in Ikebukuro Sunshine City is my close second favourite store, with a whole Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle life-size set to take pictures of. 

The Studio Ghibli stores in Tokyo are:

1. Donguri Tokyo Station - Address: First Avenue Tokyo Station, 1 Chome-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0005, Japan

2. Donguri Tokyo Skytree - Address: Japan, 〒131-0045 Tokyo, Sumida City, Oshiage, 1 Chome−1−2 東京スカイツリータウン・ソラマチ2F

3. Donguri Kyowakoku Diver City Tokyo Plaza - Address: Japan, 〒135-0064 Tokyo, Koto City, Aomi, 1 Chome−1−10 ダイバーシティ東京 プラザ 5F

4. Donguri Ikebukuro Sunshine City - Address: Japan, 〒170-6090 Tokyo, Toshima City, Higashiikebukuro, 3 Chome−1 サンシャインシティ 専門店街アルパ B1

© Updatenerd
© Updatenerd

Studio Ghibli Museum

Out on the western side of Tokyo is Mitaka, where you can step into childlike wonder with the Studio Ghibli Museum. This is a whole grounds within a lush park that takes you into the world of Studio Ghibli, where exclusive never-before-seen short films are played (and rotated through year-round). There are several rooms you can wander through that are created with different themes that reflect the world of Ghibli, along with outdoor areas to explore. If you’re more curious about the Studio Ghibli Museum, check out our full feature story on it and how to score museum tickets here

© Dick Thomas Johnson
© Dick Thomas Johnson
Ghibli Museum, Tokyo
Ghibli Museum, Tokyo
1-chōme-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tōkyō-to 181-0013, Japan

Nitele Big Clock aka Ghibli Clock

Right out on the bustling streets of Minato is a gigantic steampunk clock that’s designed by Studio Ghibli’s creator, Hayao Miyazak. It functions to actually tell the time, but it’s also an art piece that looks like it could have come from the world of Castle in the Sky or the swashbuckling moving castle that belongs to Howl. Attached to the Nippon Television headquarters, the incredible amount of details that went into designing and creating this huge structural piece will impress any onlooker. Be sure to peep the standing metal claw that clenches into the ground below, while staring up - you'll see swirls of staircases, different rooms, and a few tin men suspended in motion. If you come and visit the clock at 12 PM, 3 PM, 6 PM, and 8 PM, each day there's a little surprise that awaits you. Music will start wafting from the clock and the tin men all whirl up in full live motion - working away to make the clock come to life. It’s a beautiful little show to watch out on the streets of Tokyo. 

© Kestrel
© Kestrel

Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

This is one of my favourite gems in Tokyo - and one where a lot of visitors to Japan don’t even think of going (until I take my family and friends there!), making it a true off-the-beaten-path discovery. The Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum lives up to its own name, being a sprawling museum ground that’s more akin to a live-action reenactment of Tokyo’s historical Edo period. You can walk around freely and explore different traditional Japanese houses, and historical buildings and enjoy the architectural design stretching across centuries of restored beauty. 

A main fixture of Studio Ghibli movies are the stunning architecture that is drawn and houses that the characters live in and explore. If you want to feel like you're in Spirited Away, just walk through the open-air museum and soak up the wood shutters and the well-restored and preserved traditional Japanese houses around. 

©  Vanishboy
© Vanishboy

Where to Stay to explore Studio Ghibli in Tokyo

While all of these attractions and Ghibli delights are located in various neighbourhoods all around Tokyo, the best way to get to them is by the handy Tokyo metro system. With that, I would highly recommend staying in accommodations that are close to a metro station stop. Toyoko Inn Tokyo Asakusa Kuramae No.2 is well-located and is affordable for any budget, while First Cabin Ichigaya is perfect for solo travellers. Then there’s APA Hotel & Resort Ryogoku Eki Tower, which not only offers impeccable hospitality but also spotless modernity.

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The author

Logan Ly

Logan Ly

They say “Life is a daring adventure - or nothing”, and having traveled to over 88 countries and lived across 3 continents, Logan’s wanderlust has been an unquenchable thirst that keeps fuelling his curiosities and passions in life.

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