During my first trip to Nagoya for the World Cosplay Summit, I made sure to book tickets to see the real-life Totoro house because it had been a lifelong dream of mine to visit. Located in the east part of the city, the Satsuki and Mei House is a perfect replica of the setting in My Neighbor Totoro from my childhood memories. You can enter the house and explore it to see what living in the 1950s was like in Japan. It has everything from the palm trees planted outside the veranda to the exact shape and size of all the furniture within the house. The clothing of the characters can be found inside the closet adding to the realness. Photography inside is strictly forbidden, but photos from the outside are allowed so it’s fun to create comparisons to the movie.
What I like most about Totoro is much of the story is told from the viewpoint of children but everyone watching can relate to their imagination. It’s a story that focuses on exploration and not fear or conflict. Totoro is a mysterious creature but his over-sized and fuzzy design give him a friendly aura. This house doesn’t have any replicas of Totoro himself, but you can easily imagine that he’s there beside you.
I originally used a Loppi machine at the Lawson convenience store chain to book my tickets 2 months in advance. If you make a reservation on a weekday, you should have a chance of getting in faster. If you are overseas, you can try sites like Voyagin to buy tickets (I’ve tried this in the past for tickets I can’t get and it works).
Admission Fee: 510 yen for 30 mins
30 minutes is more than enough time to see everything in the house, and there is a huge park that you can wander through once you’re finished. As I’ve said before, Nagoya is a seriously underrated city.
Yazako, Nagakute, Aichi 480-1103
From Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Line to Fujigaoka Station, then take the Yakusa Line to Ai-Chikyuhaku-Kinen-Koen Station. This takes around an hour and costs 670 yen.