The day had arrived! The day to step into the magical and mysterious Ghibli Museum! For those that don’t know tickets for this place can be insanely hard to get! As they tend to sell out very shortly after going on sale, and it’s not just a case that there’s only x amount of tickets available, but that you have to book for a particular day and timeslot, so the chances of actually getting a ticket for when you’re able to go are even slimmer!
However staying up till 2am and mashing F5 to refresh the page for half an hour had paid off and tickets had been secured!
So off to Kichijoji it was!
Kichijoji & Inokashira Park
Kichijoji is an area about 10 miles out to the west of central Tokyo, heading towards the outskirts of the city. It’s still quite a lively are, with a reasonably large size shopping area around the station, and is also home to the amazing Inokashira Park.
Just a few minutes walk from the station there’s a narrow street that leads the way into the northern section of Inokashira Park. This section of the park accommodates a large lake, lots of sakura trees, some cafes and even a small zoo! One of the many great things about this park is that there are people walking shibas! Just look at this cute little dude!! he was so friendly and soft!!!
After admiring the cute little shiba and giving it lots of pets and scratches, it was time to move on around the park. the large lake was full of rowing and paddle boats, and was surrounded on all it’s banks by beautiful sakura trees.
In some areas the sakura had started to fall, coating the water around them in a thin film of pink leaves, which looked absolutely wonderful!
The same had happened along the pathways around the lake, with the ground covered in pink leaves. Heading around the park toward the western end of the lake revealed a small shrine on the waters edge, with a bridge allowing nice views and a path across the water.
The Ghibli Museum was located in the southern section of the park, past the open grassy areas and tennis courts, 5 or 10 minutes walking and a sign stood out as a beacon to let everyone know their journey was at an end, and the Ghibli Museum was indeed here!
The museum itself has a unique design to it, as you’d expect for something Ghibli. It’s a building of bright, vibrant colours, a giant Totoro stands in the window of one section outside.
The building also combines with a nature theme, in that greenery covers many of the walls and sections, there’s also a roof garden.
There were quite a few people in line to get in, but as tickets were pre booked and for set timeslots it didn’t take more that a few minutes to get through and into the museum, we were in pretty much dead on our ticket timeslot. (I should add that although you book and have to enter on a particular timeslot, there isn’t any time limit how long you can stay in the museum, so you don’t have to rush around).
Now upon entering the museum, and throughout it, it’s made quite clear that you cannot take photos inside the place, not wanting to risk getting kicked out it’s a rule I stuck to. So sadly I can’t show you any pictures of the inside (aside from this amazing stained glass door panel, as technically I was outside of the museum when I took it). I can completely understand this rule though, as the inside of the place is so amazing, if you saw pictures of it online somewhere before hand it might take away a bit of the magic and mystery.
In that spirit of preserving the magic and mystery of the place I’m actually going to not go too in depth about what was inside, it’s better to simply experience for yourself when you visit. What I will say though is the interior of the building has a real charm to it, I can’t describe the style of the design, other than maybe with quirky, old and well, magical.
The exhibits, especially one of the main areas on the ground floor are just mind blowing, in terms of the style and how well done some of the things are. The upper floors have a lot of artwork and areas that really help you see inside the mind of how designs happened. One thing I will reveal is there’s a seating are done in the style of the inside of the Catbus, it’s the most comfy place ever!
On the upper floors, there’s an outside courtyard housing the Ghibli Café, now as it was lunchtime the queue to get in was ridiculously long, there was a separate seating / holding area for those waiting to get in. Though strangely from what I could see on the menu, and by peaking through the windows, there didn’t seem to be a huge choice of things, and nothing looked particularly Ghibli themed to me.
Staying on the outside there was also a winding staircase up to the roof garden, complete with giant robot soldier, have to admit I haven’t watched the particular title that this is from.
Back inside on the ground level is also the Saturn Theatre, where you can watch an exclusive Ghibli short film! When you enter the museum they give you a ticket in the form of a unique strip of Ghibli film cells, this is your entry to the Saturn Theatre. (you get to keep the strip after). The short film was brilliant, and the animation out of this world! (As you’d expect from Ghibli).
All in all the Ghibli Museum lives up to the hype! And it’s worth the effort involved of getting tickets for! The only slight downside I found was actually in the form of the museum shop, I was hoping for some cool artwork prints but all they had on that front were postcards. I was also hoping to get something that stood out as an exclusive only available from the Ghibli Museum, but everything inside really seemed like something I could get from anywhere (in Japan anyway).
After Ghibli there was still most of the afternoon free, so heading to Ginza in central Tokyo seemed like a good option. The area is really a few main long shopping streets, lined with tall fancy buildings, with lots of high end shops and department stores, it’s really a shopping area for the wealthy, but never the less still an interesting place to walk around.
I think I read on weekends afternoon / evenings it actually becomes a pedestrian only area, because it gets that busy! And though I visited during the day, I’m told it’s visually spectacular in the evenings. Looking through some buildings was interesting, for example on one floor of a stationary department store we found a really strange room just growing plants! It was like stumbling across some strange science lab!
With a relatively quick tour of Ginza completed it was back to the apartment for a fairly chilled anime evening before the next days adventures.