Japan 2013 Tokyo Day 9: Meiji Shrine and Ghibli Museum

by - 11/20/2013

I am a huge studio Ghibli fan. I have seen everything that Hayao Miyazaki has ever directed, and then some. So I knew when I was going to go to Tokyo, I had to go to the Ghibli Museum. I read that everything in the studio is in Japanese, so I thought that going with a tour group might be a good idea. I booked a tour for the afternoon around 1:00 p.m., so that gave us a little bit of time during the day. We decided to go to Meiji Shrine, since it was nearby, instead of just loafing around the hotel until 1:00 p.m.

Harajuku Station

Sake barrels
Tokyo manhole!
So, the shrine was a nice quiet spot in the middle of a super  bustling city. It was really peaceful, and I picked up some charms from there as omiyage. But other than that, it was a shrine. I'm not entirely sure why it gets such high ratings on travel sites, because in my opinion there are much more interesting shrines out there. Just my humble opinion.

After we trekked around the shrine we went back to the hotel and got ready for the tour. This tour required us to go to a different hotel in Shinjuku for pick up. I'd just like to point out that train stations are large and confusing and I have no idea what directions are in what direction. So it took a little while to find the hotel, but it was within walking distance from the train station. When we got there, we chatted with some other people who were on the tour. Everyone was in their 20's, nobody really older than that. And we were all giddy like children to go on this tour!

The bus. OMG. 
Ghibli Museum is in Mitaka, so it was a little bit of a bus ride away. Our tour guide spoke English, but not very well. Before we went into the museum she gave us a quick rundown of what we would see there, but once we were in there, we were on our own.

The outside ticket counter, Totoro was waiting to take our tickets!


A fun drain
If you have ever watched Castle in the Sky, you recognize this guy, and this cube!

I would love to show you what I saw inside, but we weren't allowed to take any pictures! :( But what was inside were rooms like a house, full of animation cells, actual storyboards, what animator desks and rooms look like. There was also a room that had fun things to interact with, like animation cameras and things like that. There was a store, and there was also a theater! I bought a lot of Totoro stuffed animals and a Kiki's Delivery Service Jiji stuffed animal, and I also bought a container of cookies. The theater, that day, showed a short film about a water spider and one of those bugs that glide over the water. Only Studio Ghibli can make a spider cute. There are different movies that they show daily, and that is the one that we got. These movies are only available at the Ghibli Museum, so I felt really lucky to see it.

There was one room that was only allowed for kids. And it contained a CAT BUS. Like the Cat Bus from My Neighbor Totoro. I snuck a picture of it! And then I ran away because a lady was coming to scold me. lol

There was this creeper:

Outside, there was a small café, and inside there was an actual restaurant. We didn't have time for the restaurant, but I got an ice cream from the cafe.

They had their own beer! I think it was themed to their latest animated feature, Kaze Tachinu. Such a pretty label!

After we returned from the tour, we popped into a small random ramen shop. It reminded me of places back on Kauai. It was family owned, and family members kept coming in to talk story with the old lady that ran it. The lady was very nice, and she was excited when we told her we were from Hawaii. She said that she has been there at least five times and likes it very much. She even gave us some mikan when we were done with dinner. Such a nice lady! We enjoyed this place so much we went back the next day as well. 

So overall, it was an alright tour. It was neat talking with other people from other parts of the world, and me and Kevin kinda made friends with a gay couple that was also on the tour. They were fun! But if someone asked me if I would want to do this tour again, I would say no, and I would go on my own. The only reason I booked the tour because I thought they would be with us explaining things in English, but you really don't need that at all. Everything in the museum is self explanatory, and even the interactive things are self explanatory. I do know that if you are going to go on the tour, you can purchase tickets from a convenience store, believe it or not. And they only allow about 40 people every day to the museum. So definitely try and plan ahead if you are going to go here on your own. 

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