The giant Ghibli clock is Tokyo’s only Vaudeville-cuckoo clock-steampunk-Victorian curio cabinet timepiece

Tokyo’s Only Vaudeville–Cuckoo Clock–Steampunk–Victorian Curio Cabinet Timepiece

Tokyo’s Only Vaudeville–Cuckoo Clock–Steampunk–Victorian Curio Cabinet Timepiece

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Nov. 24 2016 8:30 AM

The Giant Ghibli Clock

19276314205_1b59826841_o
The clock is at the Nippon TV tower in Shiodome, Tokyo.

Jessica PattersonCC By 2.0

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Officially called the “NI-TELE Really BIG Clock,” four or five times a day this wacked out symphonic mega machine spins, dances, whirs, and clanks. And as a side gig, it also tells the time.

The giant clock is in the Shiodome section of Tokyo, at the Nittele Tower (headquarters of Nippon Television). It was designed by Hayao Miyazaki, the renowned director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and while it’s not exactly drawn from his 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle, it’s been likened to the aesthetic of the anime classic.

14947576538_476f7fbbe9_k
There are over 30 separate mechanical actions.

Dick Thomas JohnsonCC By 2.0

Advertisement

The clock is huge: over 20 tons of copper and steel, three stories high, and 60 feet wide. Besides chiming out the time, there are over 30 mechanical vignettes at appointed hours, including cannons, a couple of blacksmiths, a wheel spinner, boiling teapot, and two bell-headed piston crankers. They all move in a delicate and industrious ballet, some reminiscent of a cuckoo clock and others like 19th-century tin toys.

The clock springs to life four times on Monday to Friday, with an extra show on Saturdays and Sundays. Each performance begins about four minutes ahead of the hour, and you can see it from many different spots around the Nippon TV tower. But get as close as you can so you can really see the detail. Anime fan or not, Miyazaki’s clock is crazy with detail.

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world's wondrous and curious places.