When traveling, we always look for places that meet our interests. Seoul is one of the best places to visit, as the city grew to be a place where you can find attractions for all kinds of interests: food, comics, history, nightlife, hiking, and much more. Today’s post is for those who have an interest in Japanese animations, more specifically Studio Ghibli animated movies. Being a very globalized capital, you will be able to find a lot of stores related to Japanese animations in Seoul, and all of them will be very cute and pleasant to be at! The store I will introduce to you today is a store with collector’s edition merch of Studio Ghibli’s movies.
The store is located in Hongdae (Hongik University) area. ‘Hongdae’ stands for the abbreviation of Hongik University (홍익대학교). The word joins the first syllable of “hongik” (홍) and the first syllable of “university” (대). The neighborhood is famous for its crowded nightlife, shopping areas, and also famous restaurants. Getting to Hongdae is pretty easy since it’s located in green line number 2. Just be careful to check the right direction to take the train, because the Green Line has 4 different ends. I suggest you use the “kakao metro” app (available for both android and ios)
The store is a few blocks away from the subway, so make sure to check the way to it on a Korean map application. I recommend Naver Map because you can also check for reviews on the places you look and opening and closing times – which can be very convenient when planning your day out! Be careful of using google maps or other google applications, since they don’t work as well as the Korean apps. The address of the store is 110 Wausan-ro, Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul and it’s opened every day from 11:30 to 21:00.
The store itself
The whole store is decorated with Ghibli’s cottagecore aesthetic – which means they tried to preserve the care Ghibli has when picturing magic forests and gardens. They have fake trees all over the place, and the sealing of the store will make you feel like you’re actually inside a forest, since it’s all covered with dark green leaves and flowers. The aesthetic is very true to what Studio Ghibli delivers in their movies, so it’s like you’re walking into the Ghibli universe. There are also some flowers ornating the trees and complementing the decoration. Everything put together gives out really warm and welcoming vibes and I’m sure you won’t want to leave the place.
When it comes to the merch they sell, you better go prepared. Prices are high even for Koreans. Even the cheapest items tend to be way more expensive than what it would be in other stores. But they also have unique products that you probably won’t find anywhere else – not even the internet. As said at the beginning of this article, they hold a huge variety of collector’s edition merch from many of the Ghibli movies. The movies with more merch are Ponyo, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle – but you will also find merch from all of the other movies.
Read more: Where To Get The Cutest Korean Souvenirs
There is also a huge variety of products. You can find stationery items such as erasers, folders, notebooks, and pens to action figures and plushies. Other items like keychains, photo frames, books, and concept arts can be found at the store. The most expensive items are definitely plushies and action figures, the prices start at 50,000 won. But don’t get scared with such a high number. With around 10,000 won you can leave the store with at least one small merch to take as a gift for yourself. It’s totally worth it because you will see some exclusive merch and even some merches that came straight from Japan.
Putting the merch aside, the store also has some interactive decorations. As you walk in, you will see a recreation of one of the most famous “My neighbor Totoro”, in which the little girl is sitting on top of Totoro’s belly while he sleeps. If you press a button, Totoro’s belly will move as if he were actually breathing, and you will also hear the sounds from the movie. You are free to take pictures and record it. They made it as if you were looking from the outside to the inside of a tree – super cute. The other interactive decoration is the Bus cat in large size – you can even go insde to take picutres of yourself in there.
So, if you are a huge Ghibli fan who would like to take some exclusive item back home, this store in Hongdae is a must visit on your list of places to visit in Seoul. I recommend you visit it when the weather isn’t very cold, since you will have to walk a little bit from the subway station to the store.