The next morning I set off on a train bound for West Tokyo.
Alighting at Kichijōji station, I headed out toward Inokashira Onshi Park.
Even 30 minutes outside of Tokyo feels vastly built up. As I got closer to Inokashira Onshi Park, however, the buildings begun to get smaller, and more trees and natural landscapes opened up.
I took a quick detour through Inokashira Park to admire the tranquility and beauty of the landscape.
After the detour, I followed the park around to the road, and soon found myself outside the Studio Ghibli museum.
I joined the queue and lined up, the queue slowly and steadily moving toward the entrance.
The outside architecture of the mueseum was whimsical and fantastical. It really captured that sense of wonder that the films tend to evoke.
The insider was perhaps even more wonderous, with the main hallway in particular feeling like some alive, Willy Wonka–esque contraption, with much to explore in each direction.
Unfortunately, photos aren’t allowed inside. Not that photos can do this place justice anyway.
After exploring the different interior rooms, including some fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the process of animating a Ghibli film, I headed for the rooftop via a spiral staircase.
On the roof was a life-size model of the robot from Castle in the Sky.
One harrowing trip to the gift shop later (which was very crowded, rather expensive, and honestly didn’t have the best range of Ghibli merchandise in Japan), I headed off.
I didn’t head far, however. Across the road from the Ghibli museum was a charming bird café.
Now it seems I’ve somehow managed a reputation for my affinity for birds. I dare anyone (well, mostly anyone) to visit this café and not feel at least some appreciation for birds afterwards!
Inside the cosy café I had a drink, while watching the animated birds in the window fly around.
After that, I was informed that due to some Thursday special I was able to pat one of the birds for free!
After my time was up, I departed Kotori café.
I wandered through the small town on my way back towards the station.
The streets were compact in size.
Eventually, I ended up at a cheap and cheerful Thai place that came highly recommended.
I walked back toward the station, stopping to take in the views of the the river.
I happened across a street brimming with stalls selling cute souvenirs and ornaments.
Before finally making my way back to the station.
Alighting momentarily at Takadanobaba, I got a glimpse of a nearby Astroboy murial.
Later that evening, I emerged from the hotel to visit a nearby bar.
A few drinks later, I headed through familiar Shibuya nightlife in search of food…
… Which eventually lead to me heading to Tokyu Food Show, near the Shibuya station.
There was a mind-boggling number of stalls and varieties of cuisines. You could go back for each meal of the day and still have variety for days.
After a pretty good vietnamese Bánh mì bowl, I was hankering for some dessert…
Full of food and gelato, I headed back for the hotel to turn in for the night.