Ghibli Expo at the Mori Arts Center

I’m pretty stumped at how anyone in Japan gets tickets to visit the Ghibli museum. My friend spent months trying to no avail, but while I was visiting Roppongi Hills was having an exhibit for Ghibli and a cafe to go with it which blew up on my Facebook feed. My friend, her boyfriend and I went to Roppongi Hills which was just a mall and housing area. I think I had actually expected it to be a hilly part of Tokyo, possibly reminience of Korea’s art mural towns with steep stairways. But no, it was a fancy mall. At the Mori Arts Center was where a couple different exhibits were being held, like the Ghibli one.

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We bought tickets for the Ghibli expo and observatory and went up, first wandering around taking pictures of the view before going in after which we weren’t allowed to take photos for about 90% of the expo. And well- you’re not missing much.

The first part of the exhibit is posters, then a room or two covered in more posters from Studio Ghibli movies with a few sketches to go with the movies or newspaper clippings. It was crowded, making it difficult to see well because they covered the walls, so there was stuff to look at at your feet. Then there was a super congested hall way of just writing. Japanese notes, more information about the movies, but not interesting if you can’t read Kanji. There was a nice replica of one of the artists work desks but beyond that was just a room with merchandise. Which was interesting. There were beautiful statues and flyers and advertisements from the movies, creepy original plushes of Totoro and tons and tons of toys and posters and dvds. Beyond that were spaces where you could take pictures. A crowded catbus as everyone tried to get a picture aboard or on it, it was super soft which and then the coolest part of the whole exhibit. A working replica of the ship from Castle in the Sky.

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I watched that ship go up and down several times before finally moving forward and out of the expo to get in line in the cafe. The cafe only really had one item from the movies. There was a black burger, curry, noodles,salad and then egg toast, which I ordered.

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The egg toast is from Castle in the Sky, which is more of a piece of texas toast and a cooked sunny side up egg sitting on top. But the one I ordered was like a sandwhich, with a plastic-y egg yolk on top, a ton of cheese and ham hidden in it. I had to eat it with an egg and fork. It also came with a side of meatball soup. This Laputa meal 1,080 yen, aproximatly $10.80. It wasn’t bad tasting, but it wasn’t really worth that much to me, especially with a weird egg yolk.

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I also ordered their cheapest specialty drink which was a sky blue drink. It was 700 yen, or about $7 and honestly I couldn’t drink it. It was bitter, a bit like the left behind dredges in a soda machine that’s out of soda. My friends liked it but they like bitter things, and I was told it’s a familiar Japanese flavor and there’s a similar tasting candy.

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You can’t just go to the cafe. You have to pay admission to go up and to see the Ghibli exhibit is 1,800 yen (~$18). Overall the entire thing felt disapointing and over priced. The cafe didn’t feel very themed, only posters hanging from the ceiling and not really very many of the “iconic ghibli foods” were on the menu. As for the expo maybe if you can read Japanase you can get more out of the exhibit but as someone who can’t even read hiragana it just wasn’t worth the price, even as a Ghibli fan. The exhibit continues until September 11th after which it will probably rotate to something else, the previous being a Sailor Moon exhibit which I’m bummed I missed.

 

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