Welcome to our new series, the Sunday Bucket List! Every Sunday, we’ll share with you a place we’ve never visited but plan to see someday. Click here for all of our Sunday Bucket List posts. First we’re looking to Japan—many thanks to Martin Hsu, whose photos we have borrowed for today’s post.
I grew up on Studio Ghibli movies the way most of my friends grew up with Disney. I watched Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service in Chinese, because I was a baby hipster and the Disney-distributed English dubs hadn’t been made yet. I adored Totoro and wished for my own cat bus, and even now I have a fluffy soot ball keychain dangling from my car keys.
So it’s understandable that I may have freaked out a little bit when I found out that in 2005, they built a replica of the Kusakabe family’s house in Japan.
Totoro fans, you may now proceed to freak out with me.
Now, it’s not just that they built the house. What makes this place worth visiting is that they replicated the place in such detail that you can finally fulfill your dream of stepping into the movie. (Now if only time-travel existed, so I could take Young Sharon here and blow her freaking mind.)
The pillar outside has a rotted base, just like in the movie (I’m guessing that this one is a little more structurally sound).
If you open up the shoe cabinet, you’ll find the family’s footwear, including Mei’s little pink sandals!
It doesn’t end there. According to Martin Hsu, an illustrator who visited the house, you are encouraged to open and touch anything you want, and you can explore the father’s study (littered with his research), look up the attic stairs where the girls first saw the soot balls, and poke around Satsuki’s desk. If you go outside and look under the house, you’ll find dropped acorns. All the furniture is vintage from the same time period as the movie. Disney, I hate to throw down the gauntlet like this, but you may have just been beaten in the Department of Mind-Blowing Details.
Words cannot accurately describe just how badly I want to go here. I may have already made a friend semi-promise to take me here. I almost don’t care what else we might do in Japan when we go, I just want to explore the Totoro house.
If you’re interested, the address is Ibaragamasama, Kumabari, Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture 480-1101, Japan, and the house is in the 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. Admission is 500 yen per adult.
Have you visited the Totoro house? Any recommendations for places nearby, or similar attractions (if that’s even possible)? Let us know in the comments, and remember—your recommendation may end up in a future Sunday Bucket List!