Studio Ghibli Food: What Is It and Where To Find It in Japan

By Ryan Noble
Updated: April 2, 2024

Why does Studio Ghibli food look so good? If you’ve ever watched one of Miyazaki Hayao’s life-changing films, you’ve asked yourself this question. Now, while we don’t know the answer — we’re still wondering ourselves — we can tell you what each tantalizing anime food dish is and where to find its real-life counterpart in Japan.

So, hop onto your closest Cat Bus and join us on this journey through some of the most popular Studio Ghibli food appearances and where to try them for yourself!

9 Studio Ghibli foods and where to find them in Japan

1. Spirited Away food: Japanese feasts (tabehoudai)

No-Face in the bathhouse of Spirited Away, raising his arms and welcoming a feast.

When you think about Studio Ghibli food, you can’t help but get flashbacks of No-Face in the bathhouse of Spirited Away, surrounded by eye-catching dishes of all kinds. If you’ve ever been to Japan, you may have felt a similar magic during your trip — the magic of tabehoudai, or “all-you-can-eat.”

With the temptations of tabehoudai, you too can get that No-Face feeling! All you need is our trusty Tokyo tabehoudai guide, taking you around the best all-you-can-eat spots in Tokyo.

2. Spirited Away food: Onigiri

Chihiro crying in front of a green bush while eating an onigiri rice ball.

When Chihiro is crying in this moving Spirited Away scene, you may have found yourself distracted by the intriguing rice ball in her hands: the classic Japanese onigiri (rice ball).

As a staple of traditional Japanese food, onigiri have been around for centuries, and there is no end to the many different types of onigiri available, with all manner of fillings wrapped inside fresh rice and crispy seaweed. 

These handy on-the-go snacks are perfect for lunchboxes, available at every konbini (convenience store), and new flavors come and go with each season to keep things interesting. 

But if these onigiri are so available, are they even worth the trip? Well, not all onigiri are created equal. For an onigiri worth adding to your Tokyo itinerary, head to Onigiri Bongo, the 60-year-old onigiri shop with around 60 different onigiri — each of which will be generously packed with your chosen filling, which might be why some people wait for up to 5 hours for these seaweed-wrapped delicacies.

Follow Chihiro’s footsteps to Onigiri Bongo.

3. Spirited Away food: Japanese cafes.

Chihiro and No-Face sitting at a table with Zeniba. In front of them, the table is covered in cakes, biscuits, and tea.

Ever wanted to feel like you’re sitting down for tea, cake, and biscuits with Zeniba and No-Face like Chihiro in Spirited Away? Well, we can’t promise that, but we can get you pretty close with a selection of Tokyo’s best cafes and afternoon tea experiences.

So, before you face off with Yubaba, decide what you want from your cafes in Tokyo:

  1. Tokyo cafes with the best coffee
  2. Tokyo cafes with the best pancakes

For a more luxurious experience, check out our Tokyo afternoon teas, filled with incredibly Instagrammable savories and sweets that change with the season:

  1. Book the cutest afternoon tea in Tokyo
  2. Book a chic afternoon tea experience in Tokyo

4. Arriety food: Cheese on toast (plus honey toast!)

Arrietty sitting with her parents, enjoying cheese on toast and tea by the fire.

On the smaller side of Studio Ghibli food, Arrietty brings cheese on toast to the table. Served with a cup of hot tea, this snack looks especially cozy, but where can you find it in Japan?

Tokyo is no stranger to cheesy dishes, as you might already know if you’ve read our blog on the wildest cheesy foods in Tokyo, but cheese on toast itself is rare. More popular is the equally beloved grilled cheese, and we know a place that takes this classic up a notch! Le Shiner on Harajuku’s famous Takeshita Street gives you all the flavors in a grilled cheese, but in eye-catching rainbow colors.

A rainbow grilled cheese from Harajuku's Le Shiner, with multi-colored cheese stretching between two slices of toast.

If, like me, you originally thought this was honey on toast and it appealed to your sweet tooth, you’re in luck!

A loaf of bread has been hollowed out and filed with cubes of toasted bread and fresh cream. On the front is the Honey Toast Cafe logo of a bee.

At Honey Toast Cafe in Akihabara, you’ll find a memorable dessert that will make you feel as small as Arriety, filling an entire loaf of bread with whipped cream, toasted bread, and honey for pouring at your leisure.

Made for sharing: Speaking from experience, one Honey Toast could easily be shared between two or three people as it is incredibly sweet and filling. 

5. Ponyo food: Ramen.

A steaming bowl of ramen from Ponyo, with cooked ham, a soft-boiled egg, and spring onions.

In the world of Studio Ghibli food, Ponyo’s ramen is one of the most memorable for anime lovers. Not only does it look delicious, but the preparation and reveal captures everything that’s most captivating about anime food. 

So, where can you get something just as tempting?

Ponyo and Sosuke in awe of their steaming bowls of ramen, sitting on the floor next to a low table.

For starters, we’d recommend heading to our guide for the best ramen in Tokyo, including Michelin star ramen, halal ramen, and vegan and vegetarian ramen.

Or, if you’re traveling outside of Tokyo and still want to get your Ponyo ramen craving ticked off, browse our full list of ramen restaurants in Japan and you’ll be screaming, “Ham!” in no time.

6. From Up on Poppy Hill food: Japanese curry.

Japanese curry and beer on a checked picnic table in Miyazaki's From Up On Poppy Hill.

Another comforting classic is the Japanese curry, as seen in From Up on Poppy Hill, the post-war anime film set in Yokohama. With curry powder traveling from India to Britain and over to Japan with the Royal Navy in the 1800s, it was quite the journey before curry became the popular Japanese dish that it’s become today.

There’s no shortage of delicious Japanese curry restaurants in Japan, but we’d have to recommend Shimokitazawa for three of the most unique curry restaurants in Tokyo, as seen in Shizuka’s curry tour above.

Or for a more traditional Japanese curry that’s made by your very own hands, join our Japanese curry cooking class in Japan!

7. The Wind Rises food: Siberian cake.

Two slices of Siberia cake are wrapped in newspaper, showing red bean paste sandwiched between two slices of castella cake.

Made popular by Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises, Siberia is a combination of the Portuguese-inspired castella cake and Japan’s love for yokan (sweet bean jelly), sandwiching this bean jelly between two slices of castella. 

The siberia cake stand at Studio Ghibli Park, serving bottled milk and fresh siberia cake.

Though it’s not that well-known across the world, this Nagasaki specialty is served at the Studio Ghibli Park in Aichi Prefecture, where you can buy a slice of Siberia cake and an adorable bottle of milk at a small SiberiAn stand (combining “Siberia” and “An” the Japanese word for red bean). Located in Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse, these unique treats sell out quickly, so you’ll want to head there earlier in the day to try it for yourself.

8. When Marnie Was There food: Vegetable-picking farm stays in Japan.

Anna picking tomatoes while wearing gloves and a straw hat. They look shiny and fresh.

One thing that Studio Ghibli films often capture so well is the beauty of simple things, like the pleasure of picking fresh vegetables in the countryside. But don’t just let this moment live forever in movie magic — join one of our Japanese farm stays and tours!

If you asked us to recommend a few, we might point you in the direction of this wasabi farm tour in Okutama, Tokyo, where you’ll learn the culture and history of wasabi, harvest it yourself, and then taste the freshly-grated flavors of authentic wasabi.

For the full farm-stay experience, join this farm stay in Yamagata, where you’ll spend the night in a 100-year-old farm, harvest crops alongside local farmers (and a guide), and then use your harvested produce in a Japanese cooking class.

 One final farm stay that truly captures the countryside charm of When Marnie Was There is this mikan picking and marmalade-making experience in Yawatahama, which will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into Miyazaki’s wonderful world. 

9. Personalized Studio Ghibli food tour

Ponyo sticking a spoon in her mouth, with her cheeks flushed in excitement.

If you’re trying to create the temptations of Studio Ghibli food within your own dream Japan itinerary, we’re here to help. With our VIP Gourmet Concierge service, you can tell our expert team everything you need, from timings and locations to specific dietary requirements and we’ll work our own magic to find the perfect cafes, restaurants, and experiences for you.

Heading to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka soon? We’ve dotted a few nearby experiences in the ads throughout this article, so make sure to check those out for a few extra memories near Studio Ghibli’s museum.

Studio Ghibli FAQs

How many Studio Ghibli movies are there?

At the time of writing, there are 24 Studio Ghibli films in total, beginning with Castle in the Sky in 1986 and ending (for now) with The Boy and the Heron in 2023.

Where is Studio Ghibli?

Studio Ghibli, the animation studio itself, is located in Koganei, Tokyo.

Where is the Studio Ghibli Museum?

The Studio Ghibli Museum is located in the leafy suburbs of Mitaka, Tokyo. It takes approximately 20 minutes from JR Shinjuku Station to reach Mitaka Station, and from there it’s a pleasant 15-minute walk to the museum.

Follow these directions to Studio Ghibli Museum.

Where is the Studio Ghibli Theme Park?

Studio Ghibli Park is based in the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, also known as Moricoro Park, in Aichi Prefecture. The closest city is Nagoya, where you may find it easier to spend the night before or after visiting the theme park. 

Follow these directions to Studio Ghibli Park.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Ryan Noble
Ryan’s love for Japan may have begun with Naruto — something he refuses to hide — but it only grew once he truly understood the beauty of this country’s language, culture, and people. He hopes to use that passion to bridge the gap between Japan and the rest of the world, shining the spotlight on its hidden gems and supporting the revitalization of rural regions.
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