Mori Art Museum at Roppongi Hills
Following an early morning spent exploring Tsukiji, Tokyo’s fish market, the weather did not look like it was going to be in our favour. Therefore, we made the decision to visit the Ghibli exhibition at the Mori Art Museum. Jerome has grown up watching Ghibli films, and he, is now also a big fan. His favourite is “Pompoko”, mine has always been “Grave of the Fire Flies” and Chris’s is perhaps “Laputa, Castle in the Sky”.
Kaikai Kiki Gallery by Takashi Murakami
On the way to the Mori Tower heading for the top of Roppongi Hills, we passed the Kaikai Kiki Gallery by Takashi Murakami. The gallery was showcasing video installations entitled “The Rebirth Of The World” by Chiho Aoshima. The videos showed us a fantastic, colourful world, of surreal skyscrapers with eyes, and crazy creatures growing until natural disasters struck. We enjoyed watching the videos end to end several times – there were so many little details to be discovered.
Once we were back outside we could see that the grey clouds had turned to black and we could even smell the rain in the hot air. As drops started to fall we almost ran the last few meters to the Mori tower. Inside we made our way to the ticket office, and we obviously were not the only ones trying to escape the rain.
It took a while before we had our tickets and were whizzed up in the lift to the 52nd floor. The 52nd floor not only housed the exhibition but is also the viewing deck, so the surrounding windows give an amazing 360º view of Tokyo’s cityscape.
A Spectacular Sight
At the very moment we arrived nature was showcasing a spectacular sight, with heavy rain and grey clouds hanging over part of the city, while contrasting in the distance we could see sunrays coming through. Occasional lightning was also visible between some of the clouds.
Tokyo City View
Some people might have been disappointed that the sun was not shining, but we did not mind as we had seen the view from here many times. If you do visit the Tokyo City View, you may also want to consider for an additional fee to go to the Roof Top Sky Deck where you are 270m high and outside for the perfect view of Tokyo.
The Ghibli Exhibition
The view was not the main reason for our visit and we walked on to see the Ghibli exhibition. There were many sketches of Hayao Miyazaki (co-founder and animator of Ghibli) and some of the original film posters to see. Sadly all descriptions were in Japanese only. They did have some cool models, plus Jerome loved the giant neko bus (catbus) from Totoro and queued to go inside. We all also liked the huge wooden ship from “Laputa, Castle in the Sky”. It was an impressive sight to see it slowly moving up and down with dozens of rotating propellers, which made the ship appear to be floating towards Laputa – a super “Steampunk” imaginative ship.
Around the corner we found a life sized Totoro behind a café bar, surrounded by eager kids to take selfies with him. The next room was dedicated to the latest Ghibli film, “The Red Turtle”. A film Jerome and I were able to watch weeks later at the London Film Festival. A definite must see when it comes to the cinemas, but unlike most other Ghibli movies probably more a film for adults than children. The final part of the exhibition was a room that displayed Hayao Miyazaki’s office and Ghibli merchandise over the years. On exit we passed the exhibition shop and Jerome chose a Totoro T-shirt as a souvenir.
Ghibli Museum in Mitaka
Unfortunately the exhibition is no longer on at the Mori Art Museum but if you are interested in Ghibli films I highly recommennd a visit at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. You would need to book tickets well in advance, either at LAWSON’s convinience stores or for foreigners at the JTB website.
Back downstairs on the ground floor, the rain still kept on falling, we walked over to the display of Doraemon statues. There were one hundred of Doraemons dotted around the front of the Mori tower. Doraemon is a cute robot cat from the same named manga series. This blue cat has been a big hit with children and has become a Japanese icon since it was first published in 1969.
The Rain Spoiled our Fun
The rain rather spoilt our fun and made walking around to look at the different Doraemons a challenge, therefore we decided to go back to our house in Hiroo for a bit of rest before our planned show at the Robot Café.