Amazing Visit with Totoro

Meeting the famous anime character

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

Anime is a huge phenomenon in Japan and among the thousands of anime characters there are especially favorite ones such as Pokemon Pikachu, cat-robot Doraemon, Anpanman and Totoro.

You may encounter Totoro often in Japan, and his image is the emblem of the animation film company, Studio Ghibli. Totoro is the hero of the anime film ‘Tonari no Totoro’ by the world famous animator, screenwriter and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki. In the movie, fantastic characters - the wood spirit Totoro, the tiny house spirits, and the ‘Cat Bus’ - contrast with the human characters and their realistic surroundings. The special atmosphere of rural Japan’s past depicted in the movie is very charming. It is where the little girls Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro is their neighbor. This anime film is my favorite for sure.

In Tokyo I had the opportunity to visit Totoro at the Ghibli Museum. It was just amazing! The fanciful interior transports visitors to another reality and brings out childlike wonder. Once you find yourself there, you may experience a strong pull to explore every single corner. The museum is filled with paintings, Totoro and other characters, spiral staircases, passages, and the full size big Cat Bus that entices passengers inside. I would have liked to ride it, but there were too many kids who had fun playing with the Cat Bus, so I decided to skip it.

During the museum tour visitors get acquainted with the process of creating anime which starts with the artist sketching in his room full of piles of books, pictures, paints and other interesting items. It was nice to see pictures of my favorite cartoon, ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’, signed by the creator Yuri Norstein on a visit to the museum. Among other attractions there is a oshowcase displaying the transformation of static figures becoming animated that is quite enchanting. Special 15-minute long anime films are presented in the museum’s cinema. Photography inside the museum is not allowed, but in the museum shop I purchased a photo book as a keepsake. The one hour tour passes quickly, but the amazing impression stays forever! Later I bought some Totoro soft toys in a shop at Tokyo Dome City.

One interesting fact is that at first the film ‘Tonari no Totoro’ was not a domestic success, but got popular after its release abroad and the interest generated by sales of toys that featured Totoro and the girls.

It’s not easy to get a ticket to the Ghibli Museum, but Japan Travel provides the opportunity!

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: Matane!

Join the discussion

Elizabeth Scally 5 days ago
Now, I’m intrigued! I’ve been to the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architecture Museum that inspired Miyazaki. The bathhouse and the yellow tram are there.
Elizabeth Scally 4 days ago
You can see the stories about the architecture museum. Miyazaki-san gazed on those buildings and imagined the characters and plots of his stories.
Sleiman Azizi a week ago
We've been to the museum twice already. It's a great place and highly recommended.
Elena Lisina Author a week ago
I'd like to visit it again, too, someday...