During my trip in Japan, the things I was exposed to while growing up really influenced my destinations, and more so while I was in Tokyo than say, when I visited Kyoto and Osaka. Maybe because in a way Tokyo really is tourist-central, I found everything I grew up with in Tokyo, I know some friends of mine have even gone so far as visiting very specific spots from their manga and anime obsessions. There is a lot of museums to get through in Tokyo, some with entrance fees, some you can get in for free. I think I would have blown most of my budget on entrance fees had I not limited myself to just my priorities list, with a few spares should I have extra funds by the end of the trip.
FUJIKO FUJIO MUSEUM
Shout out to everyone who had their asses parked in front of the TV at 8.00 every Sunday! Doraemon featured prominently in my memories of growing up, and a visit to Japan just didn’t seem complete without a visit to the Fujiko Fujio Museum. The Museum is actually for all their manga series and characters, but of course the one that got me running around was the Doraemon set. Much like my visit to Tokyo DisneySea in which the journey there was dominated with Mickey Mouse themed features, the bus to the Fujiko Fujio Museum was also Doraemon-fied, it was Doraemon from buttons to handles to everything.
Stepping into the ‘city’ was surreal, my mind kept replaying the scenes from the manga. The pipes at the park where Giant would sing, and where Nobita would hide in. Street corners where I can imagine Tsuneo or Shizuka might walk past. ARGH! They even had the hill behind the school where Doraemon and Nobito got up to a lot mischief. I started humming the tune to Doraemon while I was walking around. It was honestly hard to stay calm while walking through fictional streets I knew like the back of my hand!
My inner child loved seeing everything come alive on the sets of the museum, and my adult side was fascinated to see how my favourite characters came into being. Because there were other things to be found at the museum, like interactive dioramas and explanations on what inspired the creators. And I only just realized that Fujiko Fujio was a writing name for a duo! Weird, right? The museum was a perfect way to revisit my childhood memories, the tickets were cheap at ¥1000, and there were regularly scheduled bus trips to the museum – so really, there was no reason not to visit this amazing place.
A friend of mine broke down in tears in front of the Ghibli Museum just so a museum official would take pity on her and somehow give her tickets. Don’t try that trick kiddos! The Ghibli Museum is always packed and getting tickets require extra efforts. They also do not sell tickets at the museum. The price is the same as the Fujiko Fujio Museum at ¥1000, and they can be bought at convenience stores like Lawson’s, but because of the high demand, you need to get them a month in advance. You can now buy tickets online here.
Like I previously mentioned, the place is packed, there is always a crowd of tourists at the Ghibli Museum, and you will have to queue a lot. You also can’t take pictures inside of the museum. But make no mistake, it’s well worth all the hassle. Inside the museum, we can see everything about Ghibli. Even seeing the individual pages they drew on had my jaws dropping on the floor. The amount of detail that went into each movie was insane!
It really is an amazing place; there’s a room filled with Hayao Miyazaki’s books recommendations, a café where you can have Ghibli Museum’s very own Valley of the Wind beer with a label drawn by Goro Miyazaki, a Catbus room, with a giant Catbus in it! And a souvenir shop where you need to hold onto your wallet really tightly because you’ll want everything in it. While I wish I can show you all the fascinating nooks and crannies, it’s somehow a sweeter and more precious experience because I didn’t get to take many photos.
YEBISU BEER MUSEUM
After all the excitement of visiting the Fujiko Fujio Museum and the Ghibli Museum, I kind of wanted to have a chill day where I can just relax and not have my heart race. I could have chosen other museums of course, with the plethora of museums available in Tokyo with subjects ranging from art, history, nature, science… you know adult-y museums. But I wanted a chill day, with a chilled can of beer, and like entry was free. So there was that.
So I stopped by the Museum of Yebisu Beer at Ebisu. It showcased Japan’s own Yebisu Beer which was originally from a town called Yebisu. I took the tour and learnt a lot more about beer than I ever thought I could. There was brewing methods, of course, but there’s also beer drinking techniques, and figuring out which beer goes best with certain dishes. They took their beer seriously. But after all my excitement in Tokyo, ending a day with freshly brewed beer was all kinds of perfect.