On my last day for 2018 autumn trip in Japan, I went to Morikoro Park which houses a replica of Mei and Satsuki’s House (My Neighborhood Totoro, 1988).
NOVEMBER 27, 2018
It was about an hour train ride from Nagoya to Ai Chikyu-Haku Kinen Koen Station. As soon as I exited the station, I already felt lost. All the other locals took the other exit so there was no one to ask which way I should go. I followed my gut feel then found an elevator going down. I rode it then saw a souvenir shop a few hundred meters away from me, which was already part of MORIKORO PARK. Yay! I asked for directions going to the bus stop – turned out it was on the other side from the GF elevator so I ran because I might miss it and it only visited the stop once every hour.
When I reached the bus stop, the bus was not yet there but it arrived shortly after 5 minutes. Aside from me, there was only a Japanese couple who were passengers. The obaasan tour guide and ojiisan driver greeted me with a big smile so I smiled back at them and greeted them “Ohayou!”. Obaasan tour guide was talking during most of the ride but I could not understand anything because it was in Japanese. 😦 I still looked at the spots she pointed at to let her know that I was her audience.
When we reached the stop for Satsuki and Mei’s house, I got off and followed the Japanese couple walking in front of me.
I successfully reached the ticket area then I showed the pass I bought at Lawson’s LOPPI and in exchange, I was given an ID and 2-page English instructions.
Fifteen minutes before the scheduled tour, our guide was orienting us with do’s and don’ts but I couldn’t understand most of it because it was in Japanese. I didn’t even know if A would explore the outside first while B would be inside the house or vice-versa. Haha! I just followed the locals with the same ID letter as mine so that I wouldn’t get lost.
A short walk from the orientation area, we could already see the famous house of Mei and Satsuki. Once we arrived, the guide said a few reminders then gave us the go signal to explore.
I went inside the house first and explored every part of the house. I opened all drawers and all cabinets I could find inside, which were filled with random items that seemed to belong to the Kusakabe family. Picture taking was not allowed inside the house but from the outside, you can take pictures of the interiors of the house.
My favorite part of the house was the working room of Tatsuo-san – messy but filled with lots of books and papers. That rocking chair was tempting to sit on but we were not allowed to enter this room.
Outside the house, I found a replica of the bus stop. There was no Totoro though. T_T I wish they placed a cardboard of Totoro holding a big leaf as an umbrella…
At the backyard near the kitchen area, I saw these kids having fun pumping the water. The little girl even held the pail in the exact same way Mei held it and peeked through the hole.
Some say that 30 minutes is too short for the tour but for me, that was enough time already. Maybe because I was a solo traveller as well so there was less time consumed talking to someone else. The tour guide was nice enough to take pictures of me in different spots of the place.
When the time was up, we were called by the guide and we went back to the orientation area. From there, I retraced my steps going back to the bus stop and waited for the bus that would take me back near the train station.
Quick fun fact before ending this post: the Studio Ghibli theme park will be built here in Morikoro Park and is expected to open in 2022.