KCP students at the Ghibli museum.

Ghibli Museum Virtual Tour

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, parts of the outside world are starting to slowly awaken. People who have been cooped up in their homes for weeks to stem the spread of the latest virus are beginning to venture outside.

Ghibli Museum exterior

Studio Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Japan.

Businesses are reopening, public transportation resumes, and life goes on. Although it seems the process of going back to a semblance of a normal life may be moving at a snail’s pace and adjusting to the new normal may take some time, there are ways to still appreciate many things while staying put at home.

A virtual tour is a simulation of an existing location usually made up of a sequence of videos or still images. Some also use other multimedia elements such as sound effects, narration, music and text.

Virtual tours have been around since 1994. Before COVID-19, virtual tours weren’t exactly at the top of the list of things to do. Nowadays, it seems to be the only option if you want to visit a popular destination until a vaccine is available.

Ghibli Museum Faucet

The very first virtual tour was a museum visitor interpretive tour that consisted of a ‘walk-through’ of a 3D reconstruction of Dudley Castle in England in 1550. The whole set-up made use of a computer controlled laser disc based system designed by Colin Johnson, a British-based engineer. Queen Elizabeth II was set to open the visitor center in 1994. Prior to the opening, the Queen’s officials requested titles, descriptions, and instructions of all activities. The system was thus named and described as: “Virtual Tour, being a cross between Virtual Reality and Royal Tour.”

Faucet at Ghibli Museum.

Ghibli Museum virtual tour

With many of the world’s attractions currently closed, virtual tours are a wonderful way to check out the places that you would otherwise need to travel to. One such place is the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, west of Tokyo, Japan. For Japanese anime fans, visiting the Ghibli Museum (三鷹の森ジブリ美術館, Mitaka no Mori Jiburi Bijutsukan, Mitaka Forest Ghibli Museum), is a dream come true.

The museum showcases the works of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli. The museum opened in October 2001. Studio Ghibli director Hayao Mizayaki designed the museum himself using storyboards similar to the ones used in the creation of his films.

European architecture was used as an inspiration in creating the museum from the hilltop village of Calcata in Italy, interior bridges, balconies and iron winding staircases that lead to the various exhibits featuring all the Ghibli favorites like Nausicaa on her glider (from Nausicaa And The Valley Of The Wind from 1984), Kiki on her broom (from Kiki Delivery Service from 1989), The Catbus (from My Neighbor Tototo from 1988) and several other beloved characters and many more.

The Ghibli Museum virtual tour is available in a series of YouTube videos with a new video uploaded every week. Visit their website for updates.

Studio Ghibli also released a series of backgrounds available for download to use during virtual meetings. The backgrounds were taken from scenes from Castle In The Sky, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Spirited Away, and more. It would surely liven up any virtual meeting with friends or family.

KCP Anime and Manga Summer 2012 students at Ghibli Museum.