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Grandparents Create Real-Life Totoro Station for Their Grandchildren, It Becomes Viral Tourist Attraction

An agricultural field is one of the last places you would expect to find a tourist attraction for fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime, but this one farm in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture is actually home to a popular Totoro Bus Station.

If you’ve ever watched Miyazaki’s “My Neighbour Totoro” anime, you’re probably familiar with the simple yet iconic bust stop scene where Totoro appears next to the main character of the animated film as she waits for the bus in the rain. There are actually several real-life Totoro bus station across Asia, from the one in Saikai City, Nagasaki, to one in Taiwan’s Taichung area, but the most popular one these days seems to be the one created by an elderly couple in the middle of a field in Takaharu, as a present for their grandchildren.

Photo: Yunamoto Guesthouse

The real-life Tonari no Totoro Bus Stop of Takaharu Town has been getting a lot of attention online lately after being featured on Bored Panda, but it has actually been a popular attraction for Studio Ghibli fans for about a year now. According to most sources, it’s the work of two local plasterers, who built it from scratch as a surprise for their grandchildren. Somehow word of its existence got out and as photos taken there by Totoro fans spread on social media, more and more people started coming to see it with their own eyes.

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

Dozens of people come to see the real-life Totoro bus station of Takaharu every day during the warm season, and the people who built it even set up a car parking area nearby to make it more accessible to tourists. There is a sign encouraging people to “look and move around freely” along with a message from its creators: “We hope that many children will be pleased with the Totoro made of cement for grandchildren and children.”

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

There is even a bucket of water available nearby, with instructions to pour it over the life-size Totoro statue to make it look more realistic as the wet cement changes color. For souvenirs, there is a small gumball machine filled with plastic balls containing an acorn, which you can get for just 100 yen ($0.90). Oh, and you can actually rent red umbrellas for a more thematic Totoro photo shoot for the same price.

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

So if you love My Neighbour Totoro and happen to be travelling through Miyazaki Prefecture, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the real-life Totoro bus station on the outskirts of Takaharu. Just remember that you are on private property, so behave accordingly (don’t damage anything and be respectful to the land owners).

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

Photo © Yunamoto Guesthouse

 

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