One of the things we did before travelling to Japan was to make sure we procured tickets to the Ghibli Museum. Like JR tickets, you cannot purchase them online. We e-mailed the concierge at our hotel our preferred date and time, and someone kindly went to a Lawson convenience store to buy our tickets.
It took about an hour by metro and train to get to Mitaka prefecture. Our adventure started upon arrival at the local station, from there we boarded a bright yellow Community bus that shuttled between the station and museum every 10 minutes. It is possible to walk directly to the station, the walk passes through some pretty houses and a large park, but we were eager to reach the museum as soon as possible.
Adult visitors definitely outnumbered children as it was a school day. Everyone squealed with delight when they glimpsed Totoro at the entrance. Inside we found more wonders- special feature films, mini-sets from our favourite Hayao Miyazaki anime films, a large furry Cat Bus (for kids only), interactive spaces showing how the films are made, a special exhibition on illustrations, and of course the giant robot soldier in the sky. It is an amazing, self-contained little place, full of cuteness and whimsy; a very happy morning was whiled away exploring every little nook and corner.
We lined up for about 40 minutes to get into the Straw Hat cafe. While waiting, we shared a yummy hotdog from the takeaway stand. Finally we were seated at the counter overlooking the bar and kitchen areas, perfect for seeing what everyone else is going to eat and drink.
Katsu sandwiches on dust bunny plate. Very filling. The cafe is filled with natural light and the staff bustled along contentedly. It may be a theme cafe, but the food was healthy, tasty and made from scratch.
Lunch over, we took the train back to Shinjuku station, Tokyo. Bye bye Totoro!