If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli/ Hayao Miyazaki movies, you have to visit Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. Take the train going to Mitaka on the JR Chuo line. I stayed in Ginza and took an hour to get there. When you get to Mitaka, go to the South exit and follow the signs outside the train station, go downstairs, make a right to get to the Mitaka Community Bus Station.
You’ll see a Totoro bus stop sign. You can either buy bus tickets near the bus stop for 300yen roundtrip or use a PASMO/Suica card. The Neko/Cat bus operates in 10-20-minute intervals from 7:20am to 8pm. The museum is open from 10am to 6pm and is closed on most Tuesdays. Purchase your museum vouchers in advance as they only allow a certain number of people each day. You can purchase Ghibli museum tickets from JTB (http://www.jtbusa.com/en/other/o-ghibli.asp) for about $19 (ticket price + service charge). Or you can buy tickets at a Loppi machine in Lawson, convenience store in Japan. For instructions on how to use the Loppi machine, go to http://www.lawson.co.jp/ghibli/museum/ticket/english.html. The ticket costs 1000yen/adult.
It’s a small place but you could be there for hours. Everything in that place is detailed and you’ll be surprised as to what you might see if you take your time to look around.
The museum has two souvenir shops: Ghibli Museum Shop and Mamma Aiuto. Ghibli Museum Shop has books, posters and printed materials. Mamma Aiuto has everything – hoodies, shirts, washcloths, tableware, DVD’s, CD’s, figurines, toys, keychains, magnets, framed movie cells, cookies, candies and other souvenirs. They didn’t have a lot of Ponyo souvenirs but they have a lot of Totoro stuff.
All that walking and shopping is bound to make you hungry. The Straw Hat Cafe is open from 11am to 6:30pm. They have sandwich, rice dish, soup, desserts from 420-1200yen served on Ghibli plates, bowls and cups. The cafe gets packed from noon onwards and the wait could be about an hour or so. If you’re really hungry and don’t want to wait, to the left of the cafe is a small window where you can get hotdogs and ice cream.