We easily followed the signs to figure out which exit to take and then which direction to walk. Based on the access information, we knew that it would be about a 15 minute walk from the station.
Christa's hair in the sunlight that morning -
There are many helpful signs along the way like this one, so you don't feel unsure of where you are walking. 500 meters to go!
We arrived! The whole building and area is very green.
The museum opened at 10:00. We arrived a little bit after 10:30 and this us at the back of the line, lol.
But no matter because that just leaves plenty of time to take pictures. My hair color that morning in slightly different lighting.
And the outside of the building is quite nice as well.
It's probably worth noting that the entire museum and its contents are in Japanese (without any kind of subtitles). And this is certainly not a criticism but perhaps may be important to other people, so I thought I'd mention it. However, not being able to read Japanese doesn't really take anything away from the exhibits. I'm sure I could have understood things a little bit better if I had the ability to read some of the placards, but I was never especially confused about anything and most things are reasonably straightforward and illustrated well.
The architecture of the building is also very interesting. There were many moments throughout our visit that I wished I could have taken photos to show other people how wonderful it was, but at the same time, I understand why we were asked to refrain.
Although there were no photos allowed inside the museum, you could take as many as you liked outside. There is an outdoor "4th floor" area accessed from the third floor and features a robot from "Castle in the Sky". There is a small cafe and food area on the second floor and lockers on the first floor with other bits of outdoor architecture/design to explore throughout.
We were handed little film strips upon entry with scenes from one of the Ghibli movies as our "ticket" for the short film playing on the first floor. (We immediately entered the museum after receiving it, so my first chance to take a picture of it was after exiting on the third floor lol.)
The distance from Mitaka station is advertised as taking 15 minutes, and that's truly the case, if not 20 minutes. There is, apparently, a bus that will take you from the station directly to the museum for about 200yen one way, but we didn't want to try and fuss with that and we hadn't done much walking the previous day, so we had been determined to walk. It isn't hard to do because signs help make finding your way very straightforward, but be sure to budget this into your time. If I were to visit again during the summer or a hotter month, I would probably vote to take the bus.
We purchased our tickets for the museum through JTB because we had heard that the tickets sell out quickly and this was the only way for foreign visitors to get them. After doing a bit of research, I had known about the Lawson ticket machines as well but since the museum was a must-do for Christa, we thought it was better to book through JTB and be 100% sure of being able to visit. If we had waited to go to Lawson's once we arrived in Japan, we weren't sure what the availability would have been like and didn't want to leave it up to chance. I'll talk a little bit more about purchasing the tickets through JTB in Part 10 - Travel notes.
Then we took the JR Chuo line back to Shinjuku station and transferred to the Odakyu line to get to Setagaya Daita station.
There was a little bit of construction going on at the station, so I got a bit confused, but I think you want the West exit. I then got even more confused (with no fault to the construction) and had us walk down the street way too far instead of turning right at Lawson's, and we had walked a good several blocks before I finally consulted Google Maps and turned us around to put us on the right track.
Finally we found it! Shirohige Cream Puff Shop, known for their Totoro cream puffs. It's actually quite simple to get there, but we just went the wrong way at first. Even then, it wasn't too hard to right ourselves once I figured it out. The outside is pretty unassuming except for the cute little sign.
Christa's meat cream sauce pasta
And Totoro chocolate cream puff! The reason we came to the café lol. I don't actually eat cream puffs myself (although my bf and father are another story. When we come to Japan, they try them wherever we go and sometimes eat one or more a day lol.) but I knew this would be a good stop after the Ghibli Museum and a great photo op as well lol.
Quickly enjoyed and devoured.
We stopped at a store selling Sanrio goods along the way where I saw the accessories from the Liz Lisa x My Melody x Sweet Piano collab (all sold out in the actual Liz Lisa stores I had visited) and also a Tokyu Hands where I tried to take an outfit shot apparently lol.
We finally made it to Sunshine City but decided to go to the Pokémon Center first where I didn't do any shopping so I took a lot of pictures lol.
After that, I wanted to briefly look at the Axes Femme store which was having a really reasonable sale on some items but in the end, I didn't end up buying anything.
Since we were in Ikebukuro anyway, I wanted to stop at Parco and look at the Liz Lisa. For some reason, I always have so much trouble finding Parco no matter how many times I've been there. This time, I knew it was connected to the Seibu but it still took forever to get there. And then I didn't even buy anything lol. I also wanted to look at the monLily store in P'parco but apparently it's not there anymore lol. There is a new Swankiss store on the same floor that it used to be on that was having a good sale, but nothing I wanted to buy unfortunately.
We ate dinner at the pasta place that my family now visits regularly during our trips lol. Christa wasn't that hungry since she had eaten a full meal at Shirohige, so she just got a dessert and drink while it was my turn to get pasta lol.
We took our time in the restaurant to rest our feet then got back on the train and headed to Komagome to see the Rikugien Garden illumination. It was relatively easy to find with some navigation help and not very far from the station.
When we first arrived, we weren't sure what all the fuss was about, but as we kept walking, there were better things to see and capture.
There were quite a few things we did this day that I had not previously done or experienced during any of my previous trips. I had never been much west of Shinjuku as we had done to get to Mitaka for the Ghibli Museum or Ogikubo for Nagomi no Yu. I had also never been to or even really heard of the area where Shirohige was either, and it was a really nice neighborhood. Although I had visited Ikebukuro before, I had never gone all the way to Sunshine City or visited that specific Pokémon Center. And I don't think I've ever gone far enough up the loop to get to Komagome either and had never visited while the parks were doing nighttime illuminations. Looking back at it now, it almost seems like an overly full day, but because we were looking forward to relaxing at the onsen at the end of the night, we didn't mind doing a bit of extra walking and exploring, and it was well worth it.
Part 1 - Day 1, November 26: Tokyo DisneySea
Part 1a - Planning for Tokyo DisneySea
Part 2 - Day 2, November 27: Hair Salon NALU, Shibuya & Harajuku
Part 3 - Day 3, November 28: Ghibli Museum, Shirohige Cream Puff Shop, Ikebukuro, Rikugien Garden & Nagomi no Yu
Part 4 - Day 4, November 29: Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari & Fire ramen in Kyoto
Part 5 - Day 5, November 30: Minoo Park, Kaiyukan, Tennoji, Namba & Umeda in Osaka
Part 6 - Day 6, December 1: Shibuya, Yokohama (Chinatown) & Seirinkan
Part 7 - Day 7, December 2: Ueno Zoo, Alice Café & Yebisu Garden Place
Part 8 - Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases
Part 9 - Budgeting for a week in Japan
Part 10 - Travel notes: Planning, Tips, Accommodations & Pocket wifi
✦ Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
✦ Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
✦ Japan trip Summer 2014 posts