We woke up and had coffee before heading to Mitaka for the Ghibli Museum. Mitaka is a city on the outskirts of Tokyo (to the west). You can easily access Mitaka station with your JR pass from central Tokyo. From our airbnb we took the Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station then transferred to the Chou JR line. The Chou line transects Tokyo, and you can get on it at a few stations across Tokyo. Mitaka is only a few stops outside the city loop. In total it took an hour to get to Mitaka station from our airbnb.
From the station in Mitaka it is a 15 minute walk to the Ghibli Museum (you can also get on the free Ghibli shuttle bus).
Before heading our from the station we stopped at a few of the booths to grab some breakfast foods. The walk though Mitaka was beautiful, along the waterway, lined with sakura trees in full bloom.
Once we got to the Ghibli Museum, there was a group of British tourists getting upset at a museum employee. They wanted to go into the Ghibli shop without tickets.
To get Ghibli tickets is no small feat. You need to purchase them exactly three months before you plan to visit, from a registered agent in your home country. There is no way to purchase them in Japan for foreigners. I wrote a long blog post about how we got tickets a few years ago (how to get Ghibli tickets).
Before coming to Japan we purchased tickets to the Ghibli Museum. I’ve heard that it is pretty difficult to obtain tickets to the Ghibli Museum, and that foreigners are only allowed to purchase tickets through a delegated agency outside Japan. Three months prior to our visit I purchased our tickets through http://www.jtb.ca/ (the Canadian delegate). If you’d like to find your country’s delegated agency, go to this link http://www.jtbgmt.com/eng/ghibli/TicketSystem.html. On July 1st (tickets for October were released for sale three months prior to October) I requested that the agency purchase us two Ghibili tickets for the end of October. When you purchased the tickets, you are required to choose your top three choices of dates to visit the museum. We had no problem obtaining our first choice given that we booked so far ahead. It was a simple process, you fill out a form online, and the agency then calls you to confirm your details and tell you if your request is possible. The agency then mails you the tickets, and you guard them with your life!
(As a side note: the agency did submit both of our names incorrectly when purchasing the tickets, but this did not prove to be a problem when we visited the museum).
At the Museum they also asked to see one of our passports, Jives hadn’t brought his passport, so I was afraid we wouldn’t be allowed in, but it worked out fine.
The first exhibit was the same as last time we visited. It was a beautiful display about the simple ways of animation. There was a spinning cat bus diorama and an intricate projection device playing a short animated film. There were a few different types of praxinoscopes and other older animation techniques.
From here we headed upstairs. Even the bathrooms are beautiful! The second floor had an exhibit of Miyazaki’s work space. The walls are lined with sketches and reference materials. Then there is the rotating exhibit. This time the exhibit was a display of Ghibli film cells, and the layers that compose those cells. Last time we visited the display was about a Ghibli Nutcracker Film.
We then headed to the roof to see the Laputa robot, along the way you come across the giant cat bus that children are allowed to play on.
There are so many things to discover in the museum, but you are not allowed to take photos inside, so you do really need to see it for yourself.
After the Ghibli museum we walked back towards Mitaka station. I had been carrying around a bottle of sake with sakura in it for most of the trip. I decided to drink it under the beautiful sakura trees along the river. It was one of the best sakes I had had in my life.
We then took the Chou line back towards Tokyo, stopping at Nakano Broadway along the way….