Stop Everything: You Can Ride the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro!

cat bus

By Phuong Pham

If you’re a fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work then surely, you’re familiar with the famous “catbus” from My Neighbor Totoro. Well, now the iconic feline automobile is on display at the highly anticipated Studio Ghibli Museum opening in Mitaka, Japan. The Studio Ghibli Museum is home to not only My Neighbor Totoro memorabilia but other Studio Ghibli works, as well. Hit the jump for more details. Studio Ghibli has produced some timeless animated classics: Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc. Chances are if you’re a fan of anime then you’ve probably been exposed to a Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki work. If you’ve ever wanted a chance to experience any of the fantastical lands from the imagination of visionary Hayao Miyazaki, however, you were out of luck…until now. There are many exhibits to check out in the Studio Ghibli Museum for fans of all kinds. For book enthusiasts, there is the Tri Hawks reading room/bookstore. Here, Studio Ghibli bookworms can enjoy books that have been personally recommended by Hayao Miyazaki, himself.

Mei and the Kittenbus

For budding botanists, the museum features a rooftop garden. In addition to sprawling plant-life, the garden boasts an intricate statue of a 5 meter tall robot soldier from the film, Castle in the Sky. Not only does the museum feature physical attractions but the short, Mei and the Kittenbus, a sequel to the beloved My Neighbor Totoro, can be viewed here. Because there is no DVD, BluRay, or digital release of the short, Mei and the Kittenbus is exclusive to the Studio Ghibli Museum. Mei and the Kittenbus is merely one of twelve shorts that are exclusive to the museum and rotated monthly so be sure to check the film schedule!

Rooftop garden with Castle in the Sky statue.
Rooftop garden with Castle in the Sky statue.

But perhaps the most exciting exhibit at the Studio Ghibli Museum is its newest addition: a full size catbus! Fans of Miyazaki will recognize the cat bus from the film, My Neighbor Totoro and now they will be able to go and have a look at it from the inside at the Studio Ghibli Museum! The “catbus” is scaled down from the size of a normal bus in order for it to fit in the museum. Previously, the museum hosted a “catbus” exhibit that was only available to children 12 and under but now adults will be able to have a bus of their own.


Children's size catbus exhibit.
Children’s size catbus exhibit.

For myself, a film major and fan of Hayao Miyazaki films, the museum is an incredible place. Prop replicas and exhibits are an amazing thing because they allow fiction to become non-fiction. This is the exact reason I became a prop collector/creator. Some of the items in my collection include a Sailor Moon sceptre, Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ gun, a key blade, and an arc reactor, to name a few. However, I never imagined that I would be able to step inside something as ethereal as the iconic “catbus.” I hope that what Studio Ghibli is doing with their museum will pave the way for other film studios to create similar attractions that will allow fans to fully experience their favorite films. Imagine being able to step into Korben Dallas’ taxicab from Fifth Element or exploring the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology from Big Hero 6. The opportunities would be endless and stand to bring in a substantial amount of money for the respective studios.


Ticket prices are as follows: ¥1,000 for ages 19+, ¥700 for ages 13-18, ¥400 for ages 7-12, and ¥100 for ages 4-6. Children 4 and under get in free. According to the official Studio Ghibli Museum website, “Tickets go on sale from the tenth of each month for the following month” so be sure to plan accordingly!

Tickets can be purchased at any LAWSON convenience store in Japan or at the following: information/

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