If you’re a Ghibli fan, the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka is probably high on your bucket list of places to visit. Sadly, you won’t find any Ghibli-themed roller coasters there, but various attractions are housed in the museum, where you can also learn about how Ghibli animation is made, meet the giant robot from Castle in the Sky, and do much more. Adults can even enjoy unique “Valley of the Wind” beer, so it’s a place that visitors of all ages can enjoy.
One thing you’ll definitely want to do if you go to the museum is to check out the gift items and souvenirs sold at the museum shop MAMMA AIUTO. That’s exactly what one of our Japanese reporters Daiichiro Tashiro did, and he was quite impressed with what he saw — so impressed, in fact, that he’s come up with a list of 10 items only available at the Ghibli Museum shop that he would definitely recommend.
1. Ornamental stand in silhouette design (1,620 yen [US $13.60] for the Kiki design)
These lovely stands are made from thin metal sheets cut into the shape of Ghibli characters in silhouette and come highly recommended by our reporter. They should be a pleasure to look at, especially if you place them by an open window with the parts moving gently in the wind.
▼We bought the Kiki’s Delivery Service version showing Kiki on her trademark broom accompanied by her cat Jiji.
2. Cushion with Ghibli Museum Emblem (2,592 yen [$22])
This classic looking cushion is decorated with the emblem of the Ghibli Museum and is made using a distinct weaving technique known as Chenille (“caterpillar” in French). Chenille fabric is typically made by first creating a tightly wound yarn core, around which short lengths of fabric, called piles, are then wrapped. This makes the edges of the piles stand upright, which gives the fabric a characteristic “fuzzy” look, hence the name “caterpillar”. The chenille weaving seems to give the cushion a very warm look, and since high-quality extra-long staple cotton is used, the fabric also has a lovely, velvety soft texture as well.。
The museum emblem, by the way, consists of three hawks and a boar, taken from Mitaka (三鷹 which means “three hawks” in Japanese), where the museum is located, and from the name of another near-by location, Inokashira, the beginning of which sounds similar to inoshishi, the Japanese word for boar.
▼This is what the back of the cushion looks like, and yes, it’s extremely soft to the touch!
3. Ghibli Museum Shop Tote Bag【No.3】(1,620yen [$13.60])
This tote bag features the Mamma Aiuto, a gang of air pirates that appear in the Ghibli film Porco Rosso and are also the symbol of the Ghibli Museum. The design is not too fancy and simple enough for men to use, and it’s a good size, so you can carry plenty of stuff in it too!
▼Here’s what the bag looks like.
▼The museum’s Mamma Aiuto logo is prominently printed on the bag. Mamma Aiuto means “Mama, help me!” in Italian, by the way.
▼The bag certainly comes in handy when you have a lot of things to carry.
4. “Tabi-shita” socks (1,296 yen [$10.90] )
These socks, created in collaboration with Kyoto-based traditional Japanese clothing maker SOU・SOU, are decorated with adorable Ghibli designs and should make delightful gifts or souvenirs if you want to take back something from Japan for your friends. The unique socks have been specifically marketed by SOU・SOU as “tabi-shita” (literally, under the tabi) socks, which are designed to be worn inside traditional jika-tabi footwear.
▼The socks come in a set of two pairs in different colors. The playful design of the Ghibli illustrations seems to match the traditionally Japanese shape of the tabi shita unexpectedly well!
▼We tried these on too, and yes, they looked just as cute!
▼The name of the museum and the brand SOU・SOU are printed on the bottom. The socks also come in children’s sizes, so you can give them as presents to families with kids too!
5. Pop-up post card (large size: 432 yen [$3.63], small size: 324 yen [$2.70])
At first glance, these cards look like regular post cards, but they’re actually highly artistic creations that you can build and turn into three-dimensional dioramas. Their intricate designs are based on the exterior and interior of the Ghibli Museum. What a great card to send to a Ghibli fan!
▼Believe it or not, this post card can be turned into a diorama!
▼There’s also a card recreating the famous “Totoro ticket counter” that guests see upon arriving at the museum.
6. The baby-size “Boh” T-shirt (3,456 yen [$29.10]/ 90cm [two-year-old] size)
Now, this is something you’ll want to get for anyone with an infant at home. It’s an adorable baby T-shirt with the same design as the bib worn by the “Boh” character in Spirited Away. We’re sure you’ll love the practical design and delightful details on this item!
▼There are buttons on the shoulder so you can dress your baby in it easily.
7. Museum Emblem Cookies (1,728 yen [$14.50])
These cookies are not only sweet to taste but a pleasure to look at as well! They’re decorated with the museum emblem and other Ghibli character motifs, and the can they come in is also lovely and can be used to store other things once you’re done with the cookies.
8. Stained glass-style postcards (Large size: 756 yen [$6.40], Small size: 648 yen [$5.50])
These gorgeous postcards show lovely images from much-loved Ghibli movies in stained glass style. Place them near a window and the pictures should catch the light beautifully. Why not collect a set of them and create your own “Ghibli space” at home?
▼The brightly colored postcards come in a variety of designs.
9. Ghibli chopsticks (2,592 yen [$21.81])
Like the tabi-shita socks, this is also an item with a Japanese taste which may make for a nice souvenir for visitors from abroad. The chopsticks are finished in Japanese lacquer, which should add to their appeal, and come with accessories including a small Totoro charm and a cloth carrying pouch.
▼The traditional lacquer finish gives the chopsticks an authentic Japanese look, making them an ideal gift to take home from Japan.
10. Paper Craft Letter Card (410 yen [$3.45])
Of all the items we saw at the museum shop, we have to say, this is the item that impressed us the most. Yes, the pop-up postcards we showed earlier were amazing too, but this topped it all, because this letter card actually allows you to create a piece of animation in 3D!
If you’re a Ghibli fan who’s visited or done some research into the museum, you’ll probably know that one of the notable attractions there is the moving three-dimensional “Bouncing Totoro (Totoro Pyon Pyon)” Zoetrope. Well, this letter card is a recreation of that zoetrope. It’s quite reasonably priced too, at 410 yen, so if you visit the museum, we highly recommend you purchase one of theses and try making the replica of the museum’s zoetrope.
▼The Paper Craft Letter Card which we were thoroughly impressed with!
We hope you enjoyed our selection of must-buy items from the Ghibli Museum shop. We think they’re fun, original (and in some cases quite hands-on) products befitting a creative outlet such as Ghibli. If you plan on visiting the museum in the future, we hope our suggestions may be of some help when you’re shopping there. Or, if you’ve already been to the museum and have some favorite gift shop items of your own, we’d love to hear about them as well! And most of all, we wish anyone visiting the museum a truly magical time – we wouldn’t expect anything less from Ghibli, would we?
Related: Ghibli Museum website
Photos © RocketNews24
Original article by: Daiichiro Tashiro