Ghibli Museum#13 in Best Things To Do in Tokyo
Both avid and amateur anime fans love the Ghibli Museum. The museum showcases the work of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli – the famous Japanese animation company that produced films like "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo." Don't expect formal, indoor exhibits. The facility's quirky interior design mimics the animation studio. There's also a play area for kids (which comes equipped with a life-size, fuzzy Cat Bus), a reading room full of books recommended by the museum and a rooftop garden that features character sculptures, including the silent robots from "Castle In The Sky." You can even watch a short film that plays exclusively at the museum and rotates each month.
Considering how difficult it is to secure tickets and the museum's removed location, travelers say visiting this attraction is only worth the extra effort if you're a Miyazaki fan. Devotees loved having the opportunity to get lost in the director's magical world, which many say the museum executed just about perfectly. The only complaint? The expensive gift shop. Even avid fans were disappointed with some of the shop's high prices. English travelers also warned that English signs and placards are few and far between here.
You can find the Ghibli Museum in the Mitaka-shi neighborhood within Inokashira Park, located in eastern Tokyo. Take the JR Chuo line to the Mitaka subway station and then walk along the Tamagawa Josui "waters" for about 15 minutes to reach the museum. Visitors are welcome 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Note that you must buy tickets in advance. Tickets are available to purchase online on the 10th of each month for visits a month in advance. Travelers say it's best to be online the moment tickets become available, as they are known to sell out in less than an hour. For adults, admission costs 1,000 yen (around $9) for adults over the age of 19. There are also numerous discounted admission rates based on age. To purchase tickets, and to find out more information, head to the Ghibli Museum's website.
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#1 Tokyo National Museum
If you're looking to learn a little (or a lot) about Japan's history, the Tokyo National Museum is the place to go. This museum is one of the country's most expansive, housing about 116,000 pieces of art and artifacts that cover the longest recorded history of Japan. Strolling through the halls of its numerous buildings, you'll spot relics such as samurai armor and swords (a traveler favorite), delicate pottery, kimonos, calligraphy, paintings, and much more, some of which are designated as national treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government. In addition to artifacts from Japan's history, you'll also find pieces from all across the Asian continent, including Buddhist scrolls that date all the way back to 607.
Travelers were impressed with all that the Tokyo National Museum has to offer. Even some who admitted they aren't museum people enjoyed the variety of unique artifacts on display. Travelers appreciated that the museum featured English translations, something that some visitors noticed other Tokyo top attractions lacked (think the Ghibli Museum). Museum goers also say that there so much to see in the Tokyo National Museum that you probably need an entire day if you want to get through everything. If you don't have enough time to do this (or just don't want to) the best thing to do is get a map of the museum beforehand and pick what you want to do before you venture in.
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