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Architecture museum's Ghibli exhibition a major hit in Koganei

by Kenta Koyanagi

Kyodo

The Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in western Tokyo is drawing big crowds with a special exhibition of unique buildings and structures that appear in Studio Ghibli’s famous animated films.

“Studio Ghibli: Architecture in Animation,” which opened in mid-July and was to close in December, has been extended to mid-March in light of its continuing popularity.

According to the museum in the city of Koganei, about 300,000 people came to see the exhibition in the first six months, dwarfing its average yearly attendance figure of 230,000.

In the “Tonari no Totoro” (“My Neighbor Totoro) section is a miniature of the Kusakabe family home, where sisters Satsuki and Mei live.

Also making an appearance is the towering Aburaya bathhouse in “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (“Spirited Away”).

Some 400 items related to 21 Studio Ghibli films from “Kaze no Tani no Naushika” (“Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”) to the company’s latest production, “Omoide no Marnie” (“When Marnie Was There,”) are on display, including background art, concept art and other production material used to make the virtual worlds dreamed up by director Hayao Miyazaki.

Tomoyo Yoshida, a university student from Sapporo, said she was most impressed by the Aburaya bathhouse owned by the witch Yubaba.

“I was able to see the back side of the buildings you cannot see in the films. I enjoyed looking at them while imagining the movie characters were inside,” Yoshida, 22, said.

The exhibition, which closes on March 15, is open every day except Monday. Admission is ¥400 but free for children through elementary school age. Discounts for senior citizens and other types of students are also available.