website statistics

FIVE THOUSAND MILES One Prew's adventures in Japan. April, 2014.

Day 4: Tokyo

I woke up with a bit of a headache but was soon cured when I found proper coffee. I had some kind of butter coated sweet toast for breakfast in an ‘American style’ place called Denny’s. Which was amazing, the toast not the place although the place was fine. I wish I'd taken a photo of my food.

I thought I'd left plenty of time for getting to Studio Ghibli museum but changing to the JR (non-subway) train at Kanda proved problematic. I got help from three different people and eventually got on the right train, later than planned. Kanda station was lacking in a romaji map of the rail network so I couldn't easily work out what ticket I needed despite the machine being in English – you have to select the price rather than destination.

But anyway, I made it to Mitaka station and hopped on the Ghibli bus that was soon to leave. Initially I was planning on walking to the museum but I didn't want to be late for my 10am entrance slot. The bus arrived with 5 mins to spare, phew.

It wasn't long before I was inside and wandering around the museum. Photography is not allowed inside the museum but I took plenty of photos outside and bought 2 booklets and a poster to take away with me as well as a little stuffed catbus! Sadly I couldn't play on/in the life-size cat bus as it's for little children only. It did look amazing though. My favourite part of the museum was a huge collection of sketches and watercolour illustrations of scenes and characters from a variety of Ghibli films. It was simply awe-inspiring. There were also areas set up like an animator's desk with books and other things for their inspiration.

Up on the roof of the museum was a large robot from the film Laputa: Castle in the Sky which I was able to photograph but I didn't get one of me with it. There were a lot of other people up there with me anyway, so I was content to admire it from afar.

Every visitor is given a ticket for the on-site mini cinema – the animation was about some school children that build a boat and meet a friendly chuckling whale. Of course it was in Japanese but I got the gist of it. The cinema ticket itself has a little film slide –
I haven't actually managed to work out which film mine is from, the hat is confusing me although he does look familiar. Any one any ideas? Each ticket is different so could use any of the many other ghibli films, whichever film this is…

In the cafè garden area I sat in the sunshine and ate green tea ice cream which was lovely. It was actually the first of many green tea flavoured things I sampled during the trip. The Japanese sure love their green tea flavoured things and I did too.

After another brief wander around, I left the museum in search of Totoro. I found him, snapped some photos of him alone.

I was going to leave without a photo with him until a friendly, I think American, woman with bright pink hair asked me to take her photo. So of course, she took mine as well. She seemed to be on her own too and I think we both recognised that about each other, as well as clearly not being locals as a lot of other visitors to the museum seemed to be. Well, Japanese at least.

They all ride penny farthings in Japan, did you know?

I had a little wander around in the trees surrounding the museum and then headed back to the station.

The stroll was along a pretty tree-lined road with interesting little side streets. I took my time and took plenty of photos.

It was very quiet compared to the centre of Tokyo, as you can see below!

I also saw some really bright pink cherry blossom unlike any I'd seen so far.

I hopped back on the JR line, this time knowing what ticket to buy and where to go! I headed back to Asakusa and took a leisurely stroll through the Senso-ji Temple area again before heading to my hotel.

I photographed this, below, purely for the use of comic sans. Sadly it has reached Japan as well.

Interesting hippo in a kiddies play park – encouraging kids to go inside open mouths of large animals, why not?

I discovered some new things I hadn't seen on previous days including a pagoda that reminded me of the one back home in Willen, Milton Keynes!

After dropping of my Ghibli purchases and resting for a bit I headed back out for a spot of souvenir shopping. Included in my purchases was a set of Hiroshige ukiyo-e postcards. Then I came across the Asakusa Starbucks and thought I ought to test their free wifi – and have a coffee. Both were good.

After that, and some more wandering, I found myself having a cheap and cheerful meal – literally cost about £6 and I was well and truly stuffed.

Back at the hotel I packed away my things ready to leave Tokyo behind me on the next day. These were my souvenir purchases (minus the Hiroshige ukiyo-e postcards as they were not easy to photograph).

And my Studio Ghibli museum goodies. Shown on both open booklet pages is the giant catbus that only young kids are allowed to play on. Hmmph, that would have made my holiday.

I was quite pleased with my own little stuffed catbus anyway though.

BackDay 3: Tokyo

Day 5: KanazawaNext