The shrine to Hayao Miyazaki’s anime studio famously doesn’t allow guests to take photos or videos, but now it’s sharing its own!

For fans of anime, and animated cinema in general, the Ghibli Museum is one of the most enticing attractions in Japan. The Tokyo facility is not only a shrine to the art and artists of the Hayao Miyazaki-founded Studio Ghibli, it’s also the only place to see the My Neighbor Totoro sequel short.

But perhaps the museum’s strongest allure comes from the aura of mystery created by its no-photography policy. Guests aren’t allowed to take pictures or record video inside the museum, in order to keep the focus on the exhibits and emotions in the moment. Right now, though, the Ghibli Museum has taken the unprecedented step of giving the rest of the world a look inside its walls by starting a video diary series.

The first video starts in the garden right outside the museum’s front entrance in Tokyo’s Mitaka neighborhood. As we step through the door, we enter the reception area where guests show their tickets, while standing in the light streaming through stained glass windows depicting scenes from Ghibli films. Look up, and among the branches of the fresco that stretches to the ceiling you’ll spot some of the studio’s biggest stars, such as Totoro sisters Mei and Satsuki and flying deliverywitch Kiki.

The second video takes us through the museum’s first-floor permanent exhibit “Where a Film is Born.”

Filled with an eclectic collection of art and literature from around the world, plus some amazingly detailed cutaway illustrations and a model of the main character’s flying boat from Porco Rosso, the Japanese captions describe the exhibit with:

“In this room, taken over from his grandpa, a boy lets his imagination grow. This is where movie starts, with ideas and concept sketches.”

The third video, titled Night, shows a side of the museum that many guests don’t get to see, since most make their visit to the facility in the afternoon hours.

“When the sun goes down, the atmosphere of the museum changes completely,” the captions inform us. “The eyes of the Catbus shine, like it’s come to pick us up, and the light of the stained glass stretches across the walls.”

As for why the Ghibli Museum is offering these rare peeks inside, the facility has been closed since late February due to the coronavirus outbreak, and there’s still no firm timetable for when it will reopen. With Japan currently in the middle of the country’s Golden Week spring vacation period, ordinarily a visit to the museum would have been a highlight of many people’s time off, but at least these videos will be of some comfort to all those whose planned visits have been delayed or cancelled.

“That’s all for the museum for tonight,” the final video so far signs off with, while holding out the promise that there will be more to come as we all wait for the day when we can visit in-person.

Source: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA via Anime News Network/Kim Morrissy
Top image: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA
Insert images: YouTube/三鷹の森ジブリ美術館 GHIBLI MUSEUM, MITAKA (1, 2, 3)
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he highly recommends the pork cutler sandwiches at the Ghibli Museum’s cafe.