Our main destination for today is Ghibli Museum located at Mitaka within Mitaka Inokashira Park. Getting the tickets to Ghibli Museum was proven to be a challenge due to its high demand and it happened to be a Golden Week as well in Japan. Golden Week (or GW) is a series holidays happening in late April and/or early May. Kotaku just wrote this article yesterday to not come to Japan during this time but it certainly didn’t stop us from going to Japan.
Ghibli Museum’s ticket cost is ¥1000 (+handling fee) for Adult and it’s free for any child under 4 years old. Further information about admission tickets can be found here. It’s much cheaper to buy directly from designated local travel agency at your country in comparison to from a 3rd party vendor such as Voyagin. One thing to keep in mind of buying from your designated local travel agency is I highly recommend to buy your tickets three months in advance. For example, we were planning to visit in May, the tickets would be available for purchase on Feb 1st. List of your designated local travel agency is available on Ghibli Museum Official Website.
Unfortunately, we weren’t aware of the designated local travel agency and were far too late to buy the tickets so we had to opt for Voyagin. It cost us ¥7000 per person. It’s seven times more expensive than the normal price to accommodate their service and ticket delivery to our hotel. I admitted that it’s convenience to have it delivered to our hotel but I would avoid it if I could since it definitely didn’t worth the price.
Ghibli Museum is easy to get to from our hotel which was located in Shinjuku station. For us, it’s always a challenge to find where to go to the station since Shinjuku station is huge and busy in general. We took JR Chuo line to Mitaka (about ¥220) then took a local bus from Mitaka to Ghibli Museum (¥320 per adult for a round trip, ¥210 for a one-way trip). At Mitaka station, the direction for Ghibli Museum was clear and easy to find. We didn’t have a hard time finding where to go; as soon as we exited the station we saw the sign for Ghibli Museum and turned left (and down the stairs).
Note that if you wanted to buy a round trip ticket, I believe you had to buy it from ticket vending machine at the bus stop for Ghibli museum at Mitaka station. For a one-way ticket, you can buy it (i.e. gave ¥210 directly) from the bus driver.
On our way to Mitaka station from Shinjuku, we decided to stop by at Nakano station to visit Nakano Broadway. Nakano and Mitaka station are in the same JR Chuo line. When we arrived at Nakano station, we took the North exit and just followed the path to Nakano Broadway which was located at the end of the street. Along the way, there are a lot of small shops and food vendors. It’s a good place to sightseeing on our way to Nakano Broadway. We had to make a quick stop to McDonalds because my son had a washroom/toilet emergency.
After 10-15 minutes walked, we arrived at Nakano Broadway. There’s a huge sign for it since it cannot be missed. Inside Nakano Broadway, there are even more small shops ranging selling different products such as anime/manga, games, electronics, watches, clothing, skin care and other health related items. You can check the full directory at Nakano Broadway official website.
Among many shops in Nakano Broadway, Mandrake was definitely the busiest there and they have multiple shops spread across different floors. I’ve never seen that many mangas and/or related goods in one place. It’s mind-blowing for sure.
When we arrived at Nakano Broadway, it was around 11am and my son was hungry. We got him a cone of ice cream for a snack before lunch time.
After ice cream, we decided to stop by at this small coffee shop. They had various dishes but they were all in Japanese. Nothing beats ‘point and chooses’ method and we picked pancake because that’s only with the picture on their menu. The pancake cost us ¥500 each per plate.
After pancakes, my wife wanted to have some okonomiyaki for lunch and we found a small restaurant just out side Nakano Broadway entrance selling Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. Since it’s a small restaurant, there’s no English menu but we got by with our English and basic Japanese. We ordered one that had seafood + cabbage + udon in it and the other one with just cabbage + udon.
After we recharged ourselves with pancakes and okonomiyaki, we left Nakano and headed for Mitaka. It was another 15-20 minutes by train using JR Chuo line. We arrived at Ghibli Museum around 2:30pm and our ticket was for 4pm. We had about 1 1/2 hour to chill and relax (save some energy). We strolled around Mitaka Inokashira Park and there were quite a few park benches. The weather was so nice and the wind breeze was so nice. It’s perfect to take a quick nap.
Ghibli Museum had this really cool entrance and it’s Ghibli like I must say. We took this picture from the 2nd floor in the museum area. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the museum but it’s allowed if it’s outside the building.
Inside the museum, there’s so many places/interesting things to see and you can check out few of thems at Ghibli Museum Official Website. In addition, we also saw a short animated movie about 10 minutes. It’s included with your ticket admission. There’s no English subtitle but we understood story without it.
Inside the museum, they had this small playground for children with The Cat Bus in it. There were also some dust bunnies laying around. My son really loved it and he cried when his turn ended even though I told him than he could line up again.
The famous landmark at the Ghibli museum must be the Robot Soldier on the rooftop which took a family photo with it. I was amazed how organize it was and people took turn taking pictures with the Robot soldier from Laputa: Castle in The Sky.
Note that there’s a free locker rental inside the museum for ¥100 and it came in handy to store all our belongings. We weren’t aware about it until one of the staffs saw me carrying 2 bags and told us about the locker. You will get your ¥100 back once you’re done with the locker.
On your own way to exit the Ghibli museum, there’s a gift shop where you can buy various merchandise related to Ghibli. We left Ghibli around 5:30PM and headed back to our hotel in Shinjuku. We stopped by a restaurant near where we stayed for dinner and I got myself a Chicket Katsu Curry for dinner. It’s delicious.
As soon as we got back to our room, we all were pretty exhausted and slept right away to get ready for our Day 4 adventure – Tokyo Disneyland. You haven’t done so already, check out our Day 1, Day 2 – Daiba, Day 5 – Asakusa, Tokyo SkyTree and Akihabara, Day 6 – Shibuya, Day 7 – Ginza and Ikebukuro and Day 8 – Final Day.