TOKYO: Where to Find the World of Miyazaki's Spirited Away at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum

January 8, 2020

TOKYO: Where to Find the World of Miyazaki's Spirited Away
at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum

There are several places claiming to be the setting of Hayao Miyazaki's famous film Spirited Away. One of them is Jiufen in Taipei. But an interview with Hayao Miyazaki in May 2001 by Animage, a Japanese anime and entertainment magazine, finally confirmed from his own words that the world he sought to recreate in Spirited Away was a world depicted at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum.

 The transcript of the interview is shown below:

Why did you set the story in the present time?

 M: It's a world like this Edo Tokyo Tatemonoen (Edo Tokyo Museum, Building Park*) rather than our modern world. I've always been interested in the pseudo-Western-style buildings** you can find here. I feel nostalgic here, especially when I stand here alone in the evening, near closing time, and the sun is setting--tears well up in my eyes. (laughs)

 *Edo Tokyo Tatemonoen: A park with Japanese houses and shops from the Meiji and Taisho era (about 120 to 70 years ago). Miyazaki-San loves the park and often visits there. The interview took place in the park.

 **Pseudo-Western style - A style of Japanese architecture in the early Meiji era. It's a mixture of traditional Japanese design and Western design.

 I think we have forgotten the life, the buildings, and the streets we used to have not so long ago. I feel that we weren't so weak...for example, a life in that house you see there (pointing at one of the buildings in the park) was a modest one. They ate a small amount of food, enough to fit on a small table in a tiny room. Everyone thinks our problems today are the big problems we have for the first time in the world. But I think we just aren't used to them, what with the recession and all. Well, it's enough since everyone is talking about these current problems. Rather, let's cheer up (laughs). I'm making a film with such a feeling.


Below is the Layout of the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum:

This is the layout of the Edo Tokyo Open Air Museum.

You can find it in the link below.

The areas I encircled are the areas/buildings that inspired the buildings in Spirited Away.
Make sure to click the photo to get the full view.

To follow the story of Spirited Away, you only need to visit the East Zone and the Center Zone:

East Zone

E3. Bar Kagiya (information) (virtual tour)

Bar Kagiya is the inspiration for the restaurant in this scene:

This is Bar Kagiya at the Museum

E6. Stationery store (information) (virtual tour)

The stationery store is the inspiration for workplace of Kamaji, the boiler-man:

This is inside of the stationery store at the Museum

E4. Public Bathhouse (information) (virtual tour)

The public bathhouse is the inspiration for this scene:

The front of the Public Bathhouse in the Museum

Inside the Bathhouse

Inside the Bathhouse at the Museum

Center Zone

C3. House of Korekiyo Takahashi (information) (virtual tour)

The House of Korekiyo Takahashi is the inspiration for this scene:

The House of Korekiyo Takahashi at the Museum

Check out the windows similar to the one in the film.

Outdoor exhibit

City train model 7500

Inside the train