We went to the Ghibli museum! It's very cute and has interesting features. It's a nice little visit - though there is not really that much as a "museum". It's great for the children and for merch you would not find anywhere else! There were sets of things which I would have loved but I would have to buy all of them rather than choose... no self-control.
I did however get a small stuffed Yakul, Ashitaka's deer from Princess Mononoke. It's very cute! Worth it! I got a couple of post cards for myself - they had the photographics ones, of course, but they did the same shots but drawn, Miyazaki-style! So I got one of it at night. :)
The best room is the permanent exhibit, "Birth of Movement", which shows you the fundamentals behind creating animated pictures. Very cool - I'd seen stuff like that before, in history, but this was entirely aimed around the films and short animations done by the studio, starting very very early on!
We couldn't take photos INSIDE the building, but you could outside. The museum is an interesting shape in itself and each window had stain glass imposed in front relating to a film. Up a tower covered in vines, you could reach a garden much like one on Laputa and were greeted by a giant statue of one of guardians.
There was a room which was the interior of the Cat Bus - SO COMFY. And a cool model of Howl's castle with a few inside views through the odd window or nostril; I could see a little Calcifer dancing away in there. ^_^
I also bought the kids' book of the shop - it is a touch-and-feel / pop-up / layered artwork set of pages around the museum's areas, which was much nicer than a massive tome in a language I didn't understand. I really wish they had the short videos show-cased on a dvd or something though. I want to see them in full! There was one about a spider who lived under or near water and enjoyed having his butt in a bubble...I didn't even know that there was a mini spin-off with Mei and Baby Catbus! It's 14mins long and I think a collection should be made of them all.
Even though he isn't a fan of the studio's work, even Him Indoors quite liked the shorts we saw.
We looked up things to see around us and saw there was a temple in the park, so we went in search of that - it took quite a while as even though we weren't lost, the park was huge. It was spectacular - it is a wood, pretty much, with a lake (they call it a pond) in the centre where you can rent boats or pedalos; it has loads of benches every few meters; it has small cafes and public loos dotted around; it has areas where people can busk with nice music; areas to play; lots of great view and bridges across the lake. It also hosts a zoo, which is split into "regular" and "aquatic life".
We saw a cute little boutique street leading off the park so we went along there. It was so cute and lovely - the clothes were no more expensive than anywhere else. It is just really nice to see so many Indie shops and cafes or restaurants. They packed a lot in nice, cute, small spaces. I almost bought a dress, actually. I did manage to find a nice parasol in the roofed area nearer to the centre of the townlet, so that'll help on Tuesday when it is 37 degrees!
We had intended to go back to Ikebukuro for dinner, but came across this teeny steak house above a butchers. After a very very steep set of stairs we came to a small room with bar seating and table seating. I think it could just about hold 20 customers. The kitchen was open to viewing - the work top was a huge hot grill. We went with the chef's special for the day, which was incidentally 50% off - and it was amazing! The best beef I've had in a long long long time. Everything about our meal was just right - portion size, seasoning amount, waiting times, the flavour. Mmm-mmm!