Ghibli Museum vs Ghibli Park – Which should you visit?

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Laputa

Two unique Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan bring in fans from all over the world: The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo and Ghibli Park in Nagoya. I visited both the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park and think both are incredible, magical places to visit on a trip to Japan. This guide breaks down some of the key questions you might have when deciding for yourself which to visit by comparing Ghibli Museum vs Ghibli Park. 

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s whimsical and heartfelt movies (including Spirited Away, Ponyo, Totoro, and the latest The Boy and the Heron) will adore visiting both attractions. You might be asking though, which should you visit, the Ghibli Museum or Ghibli Park? 

If you’re a Ghibli fan, be sure to also check out my list of Ghibli things to do in Tokyo too.

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Quick intro to the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park

Before jumping into the Ghibli Park vs Ghibli museum comparison, let’s get the basics straight. What is exactly is the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park? 

The Ghibli Museum is the original place of interest for Studio Ghibli fans visiting Japan. It opened in 2001 in Mitaka near Tokyo, and showcases through permanent and rotating exhibits the work that goes on behind the scenes when developing a world-renowned Ghibli animation film. It is also known for having a small theater, where Ghibli short films are shown that could not be seen anywhere else (now they are also shown at Ghibli Park).

Read more about visiting the Ghibli museum in my post here

Ghibli Park opened in late 2022 in Aichi prefecture near Nagoya. It is built into an existing public park space, the Aichi Commemorative Park, and consists of various ticketed-entry sections spread out throughout the public park. Sections include the Ghibli Grand Warehouse, the Valley of Witches, the Mononoke Village, and Totoro’s Dondoko Forest. Life-size replicas of Howl’s Moving Castle, Satsuki and Mei’s house, and Kiki’s Bakery can be explored here. 

Public park attractions separate to Ghibli Park within the Aichi Commemorative Park include a Japanese garden and tea house, an ice skating rink, and a cycling path circling the park. 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Ghibli Park map

Is it worth going to both the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park on a trip to Japan?

Answer: If Studio Ghibli movies and characters are some of your favorite things about Japanese culture and film and you consider yourself a Ghibli ultra-fan, then yes, visit both the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park! The two attractions complement each other and provide different experiences to Ghibli fans. 

If you are looking for the ultimate, all-in-one Ghibli experience, then Ghibli Park is the full-day Ghibli attraction for you.

If you are short on time but still want to experience some Studio Ghibli magic, then the Ghibli Museum near Tokyo is your time-efficient and cost-effective experience. 

Keep reading for more detail on Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum! 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Elevator

Similarities and Differences between the Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park

Some similarities exist between both the Museum and the Park. They both have a theater that shows Ghibli short films that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world (find the film showing at the Ghibli Museum here and Ghibli Park here). Both showcase some behind-the-scenes animation processes like drawings and storyboards, and both have awesome souvenir shopping opportunities. They both evoke a sense of wonder and magic, like stepping in to another world! 

The most obvious difference between the two Ghibli attractions is their location and layout. While the Ghibli Museum is in Mitaka and a half-day trip from Tokyo, Ghibli Park is a full-day experience in Nagoya, a non-typical stop during a trip to Japan. The Ghibli Museum exhibits are all enclosed within the museum building (including the rooftop and terrace) while Ghibli Park consists of clustered attractions spread out across a public park space. 

Here’s my definition of experiences at Ghibli Museum vs Ghibli Park: The Ghibli Museum showcases animation and the film-making process, while Ghibli Park immerses visitors in the different worlds of Studio Ghibli films. 

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How much time do you spend at the Ghibli Museum vs Ghibli Park?

Answer: You can spend a half-day (2-3 hours) at the Ghibli Museum, and a full day (8 hours) at Ghibli Park.

The Ghibli Museum entry times are set when purchasing tickets: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm, with museum hours from 10am to 6pm. Each time I visited the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, I stayed around 2-3 hours. Pair the museum visit with a wander around nearby cherry blossom-filled Kichioji Park and it’s a perfect half-day excursion from Tokyo. 

Ghibli Park hours are from 9am to 5pm, and you will use every second of those opening hours! When I visited in March, I arrived right at 9am, and by about 4:30 I needed to rush to see sections of the park I had yet to explore! Visitors to Ghibli Park should expect to spend a full day there, and because it’s located about 50 minutes from Nagoya city center, it’s best to stay the night in Nagoya before your entry day so you can arrive right when it opens. 

Which is better for short trips to Japan - Ghibli Museum or Ghibli Park?

Answer: If you are short on time, plan to visit Ghibli Museum in Tokyo instead of Ghibli Park in Nagoya. 

There’s no doubt about it – Ghibli Museum is easier to access on a short trip to Japan versus Ghibli Park. The Museum is located between Kichijoji and Mitaka Stations, which can be reached in about 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. Check out specifics and directions (on an adorable map) on the Ghibli museum website here. Since you’ll probably only spend a half-day at the museum, the rest of your day can be filled with other top things to do in Tokyo, or other cute and kawaii Tokyo activities

Looking for other things to do in Tokyo?

Ghibli Park on the other hand, as mentioned previously, is a full-day excursion. Since you’ll want to enter the park right at 9am when it opens, you’ll likely have to spend the night in Nagoya too. Unless you’re a Ghibli super-fan, and unless you have a day to spare during your Japan itinerary, Ghibli Park might be too much of a detour.

Planning to stay in Nagoya? Check out my Nagoya one-day itinerary for additional ideas on how to spend your time there. 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Howl's Moving Castle

Which is better value for money, Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum?

Answer: Ghibli Museum is cheaper to enter and cheaper to access than Ghibli Park, making it a better value for money between the two. 

The Ghibli Museum ticket is a super-affordable 1000 yen per person (about $7 USD), and can be reached by train and bus from central Tokyo in under $5 USD. Although the museum is smaller than the park and the Ghibli experience is shorter, it’s a great budget-friendly activity for Ghibli fans.

Ghibli Park tickets range from 3,500-4000 yen (~$25 USD) for entry to each of the park’s themed regions, to 7,000-7,500 yen (~$50 USD) for the Premium pass which includes entry to the regions and Ghibli buildings like the House of Witches, Howl’s Castle, and the World Emporium antique store from a the movie A Whisper of the Heart

Factor in an overnight stay in Nagoya, getting to and from Nagoya, and getting to and from the park, makes Ghibli Park a significant time and money cost versus the Ghibli Museum. For super fans of Ghibli though, it’s still totally worth it! 

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Which is better for kids, Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum?

Answer: Both the park and the museum are very kid-friendly and amazing places to visit with kids. Overall, Ghibli Park may be a more unforgettable experience for kids vs the Ghibli Museum. 

Ghibli Park wins this category because it has a larger Ghibli-themed play area for toddlers and more interactive exhibits that kids can touch and explore (especially in the Premium pass buildings, more on that below).  The Valley of Witches and Mononoke Village both have outdoor themed playgrounds for kids, and there’s also a beautiful carousel that kids (and adults) will love. 

Ghibli Park’s location spread out in a large public park means lots of running space and even unaffiliated slides and jungle gyms for energetic young ones too. 

Ghibli Museum has a playroom for toddlers where they can climb on a Cat-Bus, and a small outdoor rooftop space to take pictures with the Laputa robot. It’s also located near Kichijoji Park and a local zoo.

Ultimately, both Ghibli Museum and Ghibli Park are magical places for kids and adults, and kids are sure to enjoy both experiences. 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Ponyo

Which is less crowded, Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum?

Answer: Ghibli Park feels less crowded than the Ghibli Museum due to each ticketed section being spread out across the public park.

Both Ghibli Park and Ghibli Museum are wildly popular tourist attractions in Japan with locals and international visitors. Both locations sell out of tickets in hours whenever they go on sale each month, which means they are at max capacity basically every day of the week that they are open. 

Because Ghibli Park is spread out across different locations within a larger park, it feels much less crowded than the Ghibli Museum. The Museum does not have a large interior, so you can expect to be surrounded by people at all times, while the Park you might find yourself wandering alone through Dondoko Forest or through certain sections of the Ghibli Grand Warehouse. 

That being said, expect to wait in lines or navigate crowds in some sections of both Ghibli attractions, especially when lining up for photo opps. 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? No face

Which is more interactive, Ghibli Museum or Ghibli Park?

Answer: Ghibli Park is more interactive, especially with the Premium Pass to explore Ghibli-famous buildings. 

One of the saddest misconceptions I read about Ghibli Park online is that it’s only for taking Instagram photos and not interactive at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth!!

Within the Studio Ghibli buildings, visitors are encouraged to actually open closets, desks, and bags displayed to see what exactly the characters from their favorite movies could be like. In Satsuki and Mei’s house, you can rummage through the toys that they play with, letters that they wrote, and pump water out from the well in the backyard. In Kiki’s house you can see her drawings at her desk and even peek inside her travel pack to see what she brought with her when she left home. For visitors with a hidden actor or actress inside of them, the photo-opps inside the Ghibli Grand Warehouse are a lot of fun too. 

Ghibli Museum also has its fair share of interactive exhibits, especially the animation room where you can take a peek into how the animations were created and filmed. Their A Film Is Born room also allows guests to flip through books and photo albums of Ghibli world inspirations and storyboards. 

Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which is better? Studio Ghibli attractions in Japan, Visiting Ghibli Park vs Ghibli Museum, which should you visit? Arreity

Which is better overall, Ghibli Park or Ghibli Museum?

Answer: Ghibli Park is the ultimate Ghibli experience, and in my opinion, has more to offer than the Ghibli Museum.

Ghibli Park is a one-of-a-kind and must-visit attraction. The combination of exploring Ghibli icons like Howl’s Moving Castle, experiencing a real Kiki’s Bakery, and exploring the Grand Warehouse (which could be compared to the Ghibli Museum of steroids) puts Ghibli Park above Ghibli Museum in my book. 

However, true Ghibli fans should definitely visit both Ghibli Park and Ghibli Museum because you will love and appreciate both. If you can, visit the museum first to get a first taste of the magic of Ghibli, then fully immerse yourself in the world of Ghibli at Ghibli park. 

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Be sure to check out my Japan home page for Japan travel information, insider tips, reading list, and must-haves for traveling to Japan!

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