the totoro dream house

August 10th, 2013 / by / in: everything cute / 11 Responses

totoro2

One of my favourite movies in the ENTIRE WORLD is My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro in Japanese). I love all of the Studio Ghibli movies, but Totoro is my absolute favourite, forever and always.

I’ve been to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka a couple times (you might remember that I was there a few months ago), and it’s an amazing, whimsical place that you should visit if you’re into Ghibli movies. But for me, visiting the Totoro house was better.

It’s called Satsuki and Mei’s House (サツキとメイの家) and it’s in the middle of a large park (the Expo 2005 site) in Nagakute, just outside of Nagoya. It is an extremely detailed reproduction of the house from the movie, and the level of detail is breathtaking. If you’re a fan of Totoro, you will be blown away.

The fact that the house is in what seems like the middle of nowhere kind of adds to the experience. Nothing is ever mentioned about Totoro or the movie. It’s just a house, a house that seems like it actually had people living in it. Unlike every other attraction I’ve been to in Japan, there are no souvenirs for sale. There is no store. It’s just a house. A magical house.

If you’ve seen the movie as many times as I have, everything will seem bizarrely familiar.

IMG_7602

 To get to the Expo 2005 park, you have to take the Linimo, a maglev (!) train that takes you to the park and surrounding areas. You can’t pay with a Suica or any kind of ICC card though, you have to buy an actual ticket for ¥340.

IMG_7607

Morizo (モリゾー) and Kiccoro (キッコロ), the park’s slightly disturbing mascots in bush form.

IMG_7609

 I did not enter the lawn.

IMG_7612

Japanese parks: full of deadly creatures. A poster warning about suzumebachi, the MOST TERRIFYING BEE EVER (seriously, look at the Wikipedia page) whose sting can kill you, and the mamushi, the most venomous snake in Japan whose bite can kill you. Fun!

IMG_7613

So, because we decided to go to Nagoya on a last-minute whim, we couldn’t buy tickets to Satsuki and Mei’s House beforehand. If you decide to go more than a day in advance, you can buy tickets from the kiosk at any Lawson store. If you are like us, and decide to go last-minute, you can get tickets at the park in the morning, on a first come, first served basis.

IMG_7675

The park is quite large, but there are signs and maps showing you where to go. ♪歩こう~歩こう~私は元気~♪

IMG_7617

Yay! Tickets! We were the only people waiting around before the house opened. We probably could have come later, but we were only in Nagoya for one day. “Hayai!” (“So early!”) exclaimed the lady at the counter when she saw us waiting. We were there for the first tour of the day. The tour is conducted entirely in Japanese, and you’ll get more out of it if you know at least some Japanese. But you don’t need to be able to speak or read Japanese to take the tour because most of it is self-guided. As our little group (about 10-12 people) made its way to the house, our friendly tour guide kept everyone entertained with Totoro trivia.

IMG_7624

The bus stop from the movie! It was very fitting that it happened to be a rainy day.

totoro1

 Just like Satsuki.

IMG_7628

 Annnnnnnnd, it’s the HOUSE!

トトロの家

 It’s so surreal to see this house in real life. It’s like a dream. A weird, weird dream.

IMG_7630

 The detail!

IMG_7631

 You’ll remember this post if you’ve seen the movie.

post

IMG_7632

 We were only allowed to take photos outside, none inside the house. If you want to see more photos from inside the house, check out Martin Hsu’s page. (But it’s better if you go yourself!) This is the father’s study, with books everywhere, just like the movie.

IMG_7633

 There was a calendar on the wall, apparently drawn by Mei. It was May, so it’s Children’s Day themed. So cute!

IMG_7634

 Hat!

IMG_7636

 A paint set. All of the items in the house were from the same time period as the movie. The movie takes place in 1958, but the house is supposed to be set just after the movie, when Satsuki and Mei’s mom has come from from the hospital.

IMG_7637

 On the desk.

IMG_7639

 Dad’s sandals!

IMG_7640

 It’s so strange how much it seems like someone actually lived here. Like the Kusakabes were real people.

IMG_7641

 The living room from the outside.

IMG_7643

 Another shot of the living room.

IMG_7644

 The hallway where you see Mei and Satsuki run around at the beginning of the movie.

IMG_7645

 Under the steps: a tea set.

IMG_7649

 The water pump.

IMG_7650

It even pumps water.

IMG_7647

 THE BUCKET! How amazing is it that it even has the hole in the bottom?

bucketmei

 The detail. It kills me.

IMG_7654

The tour guide took this photo of us through the bucket.

bucketview

IT’S JUST LIKE WHEN MEI LOOKS THROUGH THE BUCKET!

IMG_7652

 People examining the kitchen.

IMG_7653

Dad’s bicycle!

IMG_7655

Under the house, there’s a trail of donguri (acorns) like the one Mei finds.

totoro4

 Donguri!

IMG_7656

The entrance to the house.

IMG_7657

 In the genkan (entryway) there are shoes for every member of the family, including Mei’s red sandals.

IMG_7658

 Inside the house, you can go through all the closets and drawers and cupboards. They are all carefully filled with the family’s clothes and other possessions. There are Showa-era toys in the closet and the kitchen is stocked with cans of food from the time period. It is all very, very, very detailed and perfect and peculiar and wonderful. Even the bathroom was just like the movie, with the round tub with a wooden lid. (I didn’t find any makkuro kurosuke though. I think I’m too old to see them.)

IMG_7659

IMG_7662

IMG_7672

At the end of the tour, you can walk over to this… I don’t even know what it’s called. An elevated platform that exists pretty much solely for you to get a good view of the house. It’s crazy but totally seems like a Miyazaki thing to build a platform just for this.

Is it worth the trek to Nagoya just to visit Satsuki and Mei’s house? YES. If you are a Totoro or Ghibli fan, you will love it, and it’s a uniquely Japanese experience. If you’re visiting Japan and you’re travelling between Tokyo and Osaka, the shinkansen stops in Nagoya on the way. Spend a day of your trip to visit the house and eat some misokatsu.

 


11 Comments to the totoro dream house

  • Michelle Chiu says:

    Hi Melissa!! thank you so much for posting this! this is so helpful!! I was wondering how much time would you recommend needing for the rest of the park after the tour is over? Do you think an additional hour would be enough? :) Thank you in advance!

  • Michelle says:

    Hi

    I am not sure whether to buy tickets on line with Voyagin or wait till we get there. Is it cheaper in Japan to buy or on line

    Thanks

    Michelle

  • […] From Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Line to Fujigaoka at 13:06, arriving at 13:33, then change to the Linimo Line at 13:41 for the short journey to Aichikyuhaku kinenkoen station. This stretch of the journey will allow you to travel on the only MagLev (magnetic levitation) train in Japan. Satsuki and Mei’s house is a 15-minute walk from the station. This is another attraction which needs advance booking for a certain time; this can only be done in Japan from Loppi ticket machines found in Lawson and Ministop convenience stores; ask staff in the shop if they can help you buy the ticket, or go with a Japanese speaker. Otherwise tickets can be bought on a first-come first-served basis in the morning, but this is not recommended as each time slot is limited to just 50 people. For photos of the house, see this blog (http://melissadreamsofsushi.com/?p=7129). […]

  • Wifey says:

    Sugoi!!!! :) I want to do this!!!!!

  • thamoley says:

    Hello, I’m in Japan now and leaving Fri Nov 1st, would love to see this! Do you have any further info about it such as the days they are open & how to purchase tickets? Thank you!!

  • Linda says:

    Hi, what do you mean by “We were only allowed to take photos outside, none inside the house.”? Cause some of your pictures were of stuff from inside of the home. Hope you can clarify that for me. Thank you =)

    • melissa says:

      All of my photos were taken from outside the house. There are parts of the house where you can see inside from outside (the dad’s study, for example), but I didn’t actually take any pictures inside.

Leave a Reply