Ride the Catbus at the Ghibli Museum

The Ghibli Museum, closed for renovations since May 9, will reopen on July 16 with a new catbus big enough for adults to ride in. If the idea sounds rather strange and fantastic, that’s because it is.

This well-known museum (so popular that tickets have to be pre-booked 3 months in advance) is situated in a big park in Mitaka, Tokyo, where visitors can view real-life models of beloved film characters, including  the striking cat-bus creature from My Neighbour Totoro and this large metal sculpture of the robot from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, the studio’s first official film.

robot soldier - flikr christoph rupprecht

Image belongs to Christoph Rupprecht

The museum also has a small theatre for screening short films by Studio Ghibli that can be seen nowhere else, a cafe, a rooftop garden, and a children’s play area where the catbus is. So far it has been a fluffy 1m-high version just large enough for kids to climb and play on, but the new one is said to be big enough for adults who want to get in on the fun.

The museum’s grand reopening will also coincide with its 15th anniversary celebrations, featuring a year long exhibit, “Ride the Catbus to the Ghibli Woods”, which lets you look out the catbus windows and see 14 exhibits which feature the fantastical worlds of different Studio Ghibli movies, like the ornate rooms of Yubaba (Spirited Away) and Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle). A panoply of updated attractions from the museum’s past will also be on display, among them, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, The View from the Catbus, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Ghibli’s founder, Hayao Miyazaki, says the museum displays will be something even non-fans can appreciate. With a track record of five Academy Award nominations and one win in 2003 for Spirited Away, there’s enough brilliant art in one place to satisfy even the casual anime watcher.

And you definitely don’t have to be a fan to find this fluffy Totoro in a ticket booth adorable.

totoro - flickr Lucius Kwok

Image belongs to Lucius Kwok

With a new cat bus en route, and Hayao Miyazaki personally supervising the renovations, the Ghibli Museum’s 15th anniversary looks set to be an absolute treat for fans and newcomers alike.

Feature image belongs to Kaige