Miyazaki-Designed Park Opens at 'Totoro's Home'

posted on by Gia Manry
Original 'Totoro's Home' burned down in 2009

A Tokyo parcel of land, popularly known as "Totoro's home" due to its appearance in My Neighbor Totoro director Hayao Miyazaki's book Totoro no Sumi Ie ("The Homes that Totoro Lives In"), re-opened on July 25 as a park designed by Miyazaki himself.

In his book, Miyazaki said that the place was a "home that Totoro would have enjoyed living in dearly." On February 14, 2009, the house burned down in a fire. The Suginami Ward office had already planned to turn the property surrounding the house into a park, and after the fire Miyazaki offered to design a new park. Occupying 840 square meters (slightly over &frac1-2; square mile), the park features over a hundred varieties of plants and a restroom building made using components from the original house. According to Kyodo News, the building was modeled after Totoro's home.

Miyazaki is an avowed environmentalist, and was instrumental in stopping the development of the Fuchi no Mori forest that served as the inspiration for backdrops in My Neighbor Totoro. After the forest was purchased by the nearby city of Higashimurayama, Miyazaki and a group of supporters raised money to maintain the now-public land. The artists from the American computer animation studio Pixar and other studios held a charity to help preserve another forested area in the Sayama Hills that inspired Totoro.

Sources: Japan Times, 47 News, Jiji Press

Image © Kyodo Photo

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