Next Stop, Japan

Next Stop, Japan

Pike's Tokyo Weekend Tour

Day One: Shinagawa -> Shinjuku -> Ghibli Museum -> Shinagawa
Tokyo Introduction | Day 1 | Day 2

Today's destination was the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka City. This city is just west of the inner 23 wards (or cities) that make up central Tokyo. We woke up at around 9 and I had the breakfast of champions: slurped yogurt, cereal bars and orange juice. There's never a utensil in the bag when you most need it. Then, we were out the door and back to the station.

We went to Shinjuku via the Yamanote in the morning just because it is where you change trains to go to Mitaka where the Ghibli Museum is. The Yamanote train system is truly impressive. Modern, fast trains with LCD monitors above every door to tell you the position on the loop and where the train is headed. I've been far more lost and confused taking the Sky Train back in Canada than I ever was in Tokyo. Outside of rush hour, the Tokyo train system is quite pleasant to use.


For any destination in Japan there are at least several different glossy magazines about it, so, in Shinjuku we went shopping at Kinokuni. If you don't understand Japanese they're a bit useless but they're worth browsing if you want a better idea what is around where you are going. The connecting passageway between the two buildings had quite the view out over the city.

We had lunch at a very good Chinese restaurant on the 7th floor of MyCity. I think it was called Hyakugyuen (百餃苑). Heading back to the station, we past by Flags and up to Shinjuku Station. There my girlfriend walks up to some random guy (as far as I know), whacks him on the shoulder and asks if he remembers her. Incredibly, she had managed to bump into a friend from her university days in the middle of Tokyo.

After a long chat and swapping email addresses, we left him to find the friend he was waiting for and proceeded on our lucky way. From Shinjuku, its a 30 minute train ride out to Mitaka Station in Mitaka City.

Ghibli Museum and Mitaka

The Ghibli Museum is really quite an amazing place. I had almost as much fun there as I did at Universal Studios Japan. Despite the difficulty of getting tickets (they must be purchased in advance for a specific date and time) it was all worth while. (Read More: Ghibli Museum)

After the museum we wandered through the Inokashira Park (井の頭公園) and towards Kichijyouji Station (吉祥寺駅) which is one stop east of Mitaka Station but closer to the park. Mitaka may be just outside of central Tokyo but it is still remarkable that such a large park with big old trees exists at all. The park is surrounded by fairly small lots with one and two story houses and each has a small but immaculate garden. Despite the house's small size, I doubt any of the area's residents are in need of money.


More than a bit tired after hiking around the museum and park for hours, we headed back to Shinagawa. We dropped off our bags at the hotel and headed out to the New York Grand Kitchen near Shinagawa Station for dinner. I found it using the magazine we bought earlier so it already was proving its worthy. I have to say I had the most delicious seafood dinner ever at that restaurant. Everything was soft, tender and very flavorful.

After dinner, we wandered around station in search of tomorrow's breakfast, interesting sights and cake. Central Park near the station is quite pleasant with dramatic lighting, a number of trees and small channels of water flowing through the park. When you consider necking and kissing couples probably want a good 10 meters between them and another couple, the park was a bit overcrowded.

We found our cake at the grocery store under the mall opposite the station and headed back to the hotel to crash for the night. I had finally managed to get a hold of my friend who lives in Tokyo and after a flurry of late night emails on our cell phones we decided to meet in the afternoon at Asakusa.

Posted: April 17, 2011 Updated: February 8, 2015

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