三鷹の森 ジブリ美術館 Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
I've always wanted to visit, but discovered on past trips that tickets are extremely hard to obtain! There are some international ticket agents, but most of us need to buy at a Lawson's outlet once in Japan. The problem is that unless you are in Japan for some time, the odds being able to get tickets at Lawson's are not good .. and you also need to struggle with a Japanese touch-screen system;-) Luckily, this trip I was able to get my Uncle to buy tickets in advance.
The museum is one of the very best I've ever visited. I absolutely recommend you put it on your itinerary when visiting Japan!
Whether you are a Miyazaki fan or not, this place can't fail to enthrall. The exhibits are fascinating, many using stroboscopic effects to produce live animation. All have clearly been designed, constructed, and maintained with loving care. This is not your typical two-blocks-of-wood-knocked-together-by-a-work-experience-student-and-probably-not-working-today kind of museum.
There are many hours to be enjoyably lost simply browsing the huge collection of paraphernalia from Miyazaki's life and work - sketches, paintings storyboards, models, research folios, books, books and more books.
Although Totoro is perhaps the most widely-known character created by STUDIO GHIBLI, I think Porco Rosso remains my favourite film of all. What's not to like in a movie about a seaplane-flying pig who fight's off air pirates and rediscovers his secret love?
Walking back to catch the train from Kichijōji turned out to be a good choice; found lots of places for a late lunch near the station. I must have had pigs on my mind, since we ended up at Tare-Katsu where they soak the katsu medallions in lovely brown sauce straight after frying. Yum! Note what they stamp on your loyalty card;-)
Blogarhythm for this post: War Pigs(Black Sabbath cover) - Faith No More from the album Real Thing
NB: I am retro-blogging Tokyo which is why this post is a little delayed