The final days of our trip would be spent exploring just some of the many small niche museums scattered throughout the greater Tokyo region. Most are hidden gems within more suburban areas and usually require a bit of public transport know-how and a willingness to walk a fair distance but in my experience have always been worth it.
One of these trips would be to the Suginami Animation Museum but we first got ourselves lost trying to find it due to missing a bus stop. After much walking around in the rain we thankfully found a police branch station (koban) where we were able to ask for directions from a patient officer. The museum itself is situated oddly on the 3rd floor of what appeared to be venue hire area (the front of the building makes it appear a lot more grand). Despite this the exhibits, while very small, were more intimate and pleasantly informative.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we would once again visit the Robot Restaurant that night for some loud music thumping entertainment. I was surprised by how much the audience had changed from our first visit, it seems their marketing has shifted to bringing in the tourist demographic (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). The show and venue still had their over-the-top visual spectacles and antics that I remembered though, even if it was a little more toned down than before.
We would also see the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum that exhibited a history of bonsai in Saitama City and guides on appreciating the various aspects of the art form. The quaint gardens that accompanied the museum had select bonsai on display to wander through, some still not ready to bloom during the cold weather. The surrounding township was equalling charming, sitting somewhere in between a suburbian neighborhood and a country town with quiet streets and private estates. We happened to stumble upon a nearby bonsai nursery, filled to the brim with small starter plants. I would’ve bought one to take with me if only I didn’t have to carry it back to Australia (customs would probably chuck it out anyway).
Another afternoon was spent going to the Kabuki theatre in Ginza again. We were lucky enough to see four performances this time including the welcoming of a new performer into the higher ranks of the theatre. I would highly recommend going to see Kabuki if you’re in Tokyo to experience this performance art form (there is English commentary that you can hire so you can follow along with what is happening).
Our last full day in Tokyo would also be the most windy, rainy and coldest day the weather would throw at us. Prepared for the worst we decided to spend it hidden within the thick walls of the Tokyo National Museum. Away from the elements, the museum very much reminded me of those I visited in Europe – the building itself impressive in its own right with large rooms upon rooms, each usually themed around set types of artifacts or time periods. I always find myself in awe of the intricacy and craftsmanship of these artworks, created hundreds of years ago and carefully preserved all this time. I can only imagine the time and discipline that went into creating some of these pieces.
To wrap up this Japan series, I’ve put together a short video from all the footage my boyfriend and I shot during our stay. It’s been fun reviewing all of it again and reliving moments that happened over 6 months ago now ^_^.