Japanese Couple Builds Totoro-Inspired Bus Stop for Their Grandkids
In Studio Ghibli’s beloved 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film My Neighbor Totoro, the titular character Totoro is an adorable furry giant who lives in the forest. An important scene in the film features him encountering the film’s human protagonist, Mei, at a bus stop, where he holds a green leaf over his head to hide from the rain. She in turn offers him her red umbrella, and he gives her a gift of acorns wrapped in a bamboo leaf to plant.
Now, kids (and kids at heart) all over Japan can travel to a recreation of this heartwarming scene in the rural town of Takaharu, Miyazaki Prefecture, where a “life-sized” Totoro stands waiting at a (fake) bus stop. A couple marking the milestone of turning 70 years old wanted to celebrate by creating the attraction for their grandchildren, as well as other children who might derive joy from seeing the cuddly replica.
The grandfather, who worked as a plasterer for 50 years, started by creating a wooden barrel as the base and layering cement on it. His wife and other elders from the neighborhood helped smooth out the surface and add details like the pointy ears, whiskers, and big round belly. They then set their replica on a bed of gravel and bricks on their own private property, placing a bus stop sign directly beside it. They have since installed a “fortune telling” vending machine in the area and begun renting out red umbrellas as photo props.
View this post on Instagram
おはようございます・＊ . . かわいい モデルちゃんと . . 一緒に♪(❁´◡`❁)*✲ﾟ* . . . Nov 3 2018 どようび大好き . . . #となりのトトロ #ジブリ #宮崎駿 #写真撮ってる人と繋がりたい #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #ファインダー越しの私の世界 #instagramjapan #instagram #instagrammer #instagramers #photo #photograph #photographer #photobooth #photographers_of_india #japan #nippon #love #lover #miyazaki_colors #miyazaki_city #nikon #lovely #高原のトトロ #高原町 #小林市 #湯之元温泉 #light_nikon #宮崎県 #お写んぽ
Naturally, it wasn’t very long before the installation started to draw visitors. The couple’s grandkids loved it, and so did just about everyone who learned of its existence. It quickly became such a big tourist attraction, the local town authorities had to release guidelines about respectfully visiting it, going so far as to recommend convenient guest houses located nearby. They even added three parking spaces so multiple people can visit at once to try out their best poses and post their photos on social media.
View this post on Instagram
高原町の新名所 高原のトトロ 嫁さんは、お腹の感じが好きらしい #宮崎県#小林市#高原町#湯之元温泉#高原のトトロ#yunomoto#ジブリ #ig_japan #トトロ#butterfly #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #写真撮ってる人と繋がりたい #ファインダー越しの私の世界 #igers_jp#miyazaki_colors #ig_japan #カメラ男子#japan_of_insta #pics_jp #高原の新名所#田舎の風景#霧島山#discovermiyazaki #yokaphoto#ツーショット#art_of_japan#にしもろじょじょんならじお#ジョジョらじ#じょじょラジ#art_of_japan_
The couple’s hard work helped bring the magic of the film to life, and the result is undeniably adorable. It’s no wonder Totoro fans from all over the world are starting to make their way there.
Totoro himself is inspired by legendary creatures called Koropokkuru from the Ainu tales of Japanese folklore. Unlike Totoro though, they’re not furry creatures, but rather tiny humans. Their name means “people below the leaves of the Fuki” in the Ainu language, and as the story goes, they were the original inhabitants of the northern Japanese islands. Short, agile, and skilled at fishing, they are often depicted holding leaves over their heads.
If you want to visit the Tonari no Totoro Bus Stop yourself, it’s marked on Google Maps at 7538-6 Kamamuta, Takaharu, Nishimorokata District, Miyazaki 889-4414, Japan. You’re welcome to give him a hug and take your photos between 8 am and 6 pm each and every day.
Are you a big Studio Ghibli fan? You’ll love the artwork of Japanese artist Monokubo, who creates fantastical digital paintings featuring friendly oversized animals like wolves, cats, foxes, and birds, all of whom similarly watch over, protect, and play with their human companions.