Now, I'm sure they're out there. But at the moment, I've yet to meet a person who hasn't been impressed by, if not become a fan of, Studio Ghibli after watching one of their productions.
One of the most endearing attractions for both locals and overseas visitors, Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, on the outskirts of Tokyo, is a must see for fans; opened in 2001, the museum, with its reservation-only ticket purchase system, is still going very, very strong. And if you're planning to visit from overseas, then securing tickets has just gotten that little bit easier.
Visitors can not only purchase their tickets online but they can now do so whilst outside of Japan. Previously, fans of the world renowned animation studio had to organise their tickets through tour sites or purchase their tickets in Japan. The price these tickets commanded were - and still are - a strain on the budget.
Fortunately, the ever-ubiquitous Japanese convenience store has come to the rescue. Lawson, one of Japan's more iconic convenience stores, now offers overseas visitors the opportunity to buy tickets online.
By following the prompts on the Museum website, you'll be directed to a Lawson-run ticket purchasing site. Don't fret, it is all above board. Once you enter you'll be prompted to choose the month, day and time of your visit, the number of tickets, and some customer details.
Some important information to keep in mind: there's a limit of six tickets per order, tickets for each month go on sale at 10:00am (Japan time) on the 10th day of the preceding month, tickets range from free (for children 3 years and under) to JPY1000 for adults (there is a small surcharge), and tickets are non-refundable and cannot be changed to a different day. Tickets are often sold out within an hour of going on sale. Yes, Ghibli Museum is that popular.
The website is fairly straightforward. Just remember to bring a printout of the details featuring a barcode and the reservation details, and the passport of the person whose name the reservation is under. And give my regards to Totoro.