‘Totoro’s home’ reopens as park

Kyodo News

A well-known property in Tokyo dubbed “Totoro’s home” reopened as a park Sunday based on a sketch by Hayao Miyazaki, creator of the popular character in the 1988 animated film “Tonari no Totoro” (“My Neighbor Totoro”) who cherished the spot filled with trees and plants.

There are more than 100 kinds of plants on the 840-sq.-meter property in Suginami Ward, and components from the house that once stood there before it burned down, including red roof tiles, were used for a restroom facility, a local official said, referring to efforts to create an atmosphere that would make visitors feel Totoro would live there.

The Suginami Ward office had planned to maintain the house and transform the property into a park at the request of neighbors even before the fire broke out in February 2009.

The wooden structure, built in the early 1900s, became a popular spot after Miyazaki wrote about it as “a house that makes us feel nostalgic and the Totoros would love to live in.”

Ei Kondo, 85, who lived in the house, expressed hope that a lot of people will visit the park.

“I had great encounters with people, including Mr. Miyazaki, in that house,” Kondo said. “I hope the new park will also be a venue that helps people get acquainted.”