Visiting Totoro at the house of Kurosuke | TOKOROZAWA

Seen as today is the 10 year anniversary of Saitama With Kids, I wanted to get at least one post out of the dozens of unpublished drafts! Visiting Kurosuke’s House in the Totoro Forests was one of our favourite days out so far this year (2018). I previously wrote how we visited the Totoro Forests when the Totoro house was closed, but this year we timed it right…

Totoro at Kurosuke House in Sayama hills tokorozawa


Among many of Saitama’s bragging rights is that it is home to the Totoro Forests, the area said to be the inspiration for the classic movie “My Neighbor Totoro”. Miyazaki himself contributed some of the original funds that inaugurated the Totoro Fund, which is used to preserve the lush green forests and natural surroundings located in Sayama Hills, Tokorozawa.

A number of forests make up the preserved area and in a separate area, North of the forests, is the house of Kurosuke. Kurosuke’s house is a period house named after the soot sprites in the movie. Totoro resides in the preserved house and, so long as you don’t touch him, you are able to get up close and personal, even get a photograph with him.

 

The Sayama Hills area has received quite a bit of attention in the last few years, but Kurosuke’s house is still somewhat off the beaten track. It might be partly due to its concealed location, but I think the opening hours also play a part. The House of Kurosuke is only open to the public three days a week for five hours a day. We have done the trip by foot and by car. There are very few signs directing you to the obscure site if you are coming by foot from the nearest station, Seibu KyuJo Mae. By car, there are a few more signs on the roads when you are driving from Sayama. Despite the difficulties in finding it and timing it to when it is open, it is well worth the effort, particularly if you are a Ghibli fan. (Hours and access at bottom of the article).

At the site of Kurosuke’s House, which also doubles as the visitor center for the Totoro Foundation, there are three buildings and some Showa period relics on the grounds too.

The main building is the house with the large Totoro and it has a shop selling Totoro goods too. Within the main building there is a reading area on the first floor and an information area on the second floor with a handful of exhibits including a scene from the movie. (See impressions section below for more on the house)

The other two buildings are an old warehouse with diorama from the movie and an old tea factory. You can roam around the buildings without restriction. In the main house and the tea factory you need to take your shoes off at the designated area. The other buildings are not as enthralling as Kurosuke’s house, but if you are interested in green tea history you might enjoy the old tea factory. They have old manufacturing machines and I just loved the old cargo tea boxes stored there.

The area doesn’t require a lot of time to explore, but you can extend your time there by eating with Totoro if you have brought your own lunch. You can sit in the adjacent tatami room to Totoro at lunch time. They have a kettle and microwave that you can use to prepare food you’ve brought. Similarly, there is an area in the old tea factory where you can eat.

Impressions of Totoro / Kurosuke’s House

I visited with my four young children and we all thoroughly enjoyed exploring the site. The children delighted to see a large Totoro in the main house. I really appreciated that they could roam the house freely.

In the kura, old storehouse, there were some wooden toys they could play with. There is an old pump on the land and a hand operated grinding mill that the kids could also try their hand at. Having lunch with Totoro was definitely a highlight for the kids.

On our first visit to the Totoro Foundation we were unable to access Kurosuke’s House as we visited on a Sunday, one of the four days the attraction is closed. On our most recent visit, we timed it to be open. Despite being 11 am on a Saturday I was surprised that there were so few visitors. There were a couple of staff present, but they lingered in the shop and reception area and were very unobtrusive, which made it comfortable to enjoy the location undisturbed. I think even if you aren’t a huge Totoro fan you will appreciate this unique attraction if you are in the area. If you are a Totoro fan I think it is an attraction making a particular effort to go visit, especially if you are going to take in the forest area as well.

Totoro / Kurosuke House Information

Cost

It is officially free to visit the site, but as both the house and the forests are maintained by volunteer staff and donations, they welcome contributions. There is a box inside the door where you can deposit a contribution.

Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm

Access


Address: 3 Chome-1169-1 Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture 359-1164

The nearest station to Kurosuke’s House is Seibu Kyujo Mae on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Kurosuke’s house is about a 45 minute walk from the nearest station, if you take the scenic route.

If you are coming by car, P’s parking nearby is the best place to set your navigation system too. It is only a minute walk to Kurosuke’s House and it is the nearest parking for the attraction. They only have one flat rate for 24 hours, but it is quite reasonably priced at 400 yen for the day.

More on the green tea factory mentioned above (external website):

Retro Green Tea Factory with your neighbour Totoro!

Retro Green Tea Factory with your neighbour Totoro!

On the border of Tokyo, in the lush green of Sayama Hills you can find the historic “House of Kurosuke,” an inspiration for the Ghibli movie, “My Neighbour Totoro.” Sayama Hills is also home to the Totoro Forest and Foundation.

Source: www.city-cost.com/blogs/Saitama/G7jdN-living_food_education_tokorozawa_shi_saitama

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11 comments on “Visiting Totoro at the house of Kurosuke | TOKOROZAWA

  1. flightlessdove

    It looks like you had so much fun in Tokyo I’ve never been but you’re definitely making me want to visit I’m having major wanderlust this morning because of this post thank you so much for sharing your travels and adventures with us!

    Reply
    1. L M N Post author

      I really do hope you can tick this off your bucket list someday. There are sooooo many great places to visit. thanks a million for commenting.

      Reply
  2. foodiefindshome

    What an awesome place to visit. We’ll be in Tokyo early next year and I look forward to trying this and other things featured on your blog! Kismet that I came across this.

    Reply
    1. L M N Post author

      That makes me so happy, thank you. Have a wonderful time, I think a visit to japan that is guaranteed. 🙂 So much to do and see, to inspire and awe, and to fall in love with. Are you a member of Japan Travel Friendly Discussion Group on Facebook? Great place to see itineraries, ask questions, get ideas – 60,000 members who’ve either been to Japan or are planning to come. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Girl Bosses Rock

    Japan is an absolutely beautiful country! I lived in Sasebo for about 5 years during my military career and didn’t want to leave! I made it a point to travel to Tokyo and other areas while there and just completely fell in love!

    Reply
    1. L M N Post author

      Isn’t it just – so much to do and see … and fall in love with. We live an adventure every day. I do miss my home country (Ireland), but Japan is a great place to raise kids. If only the two countries were closer it would be easier. Thank you so much for commenting.

      Reply
  4. Valerie

    Is it a shame to admit I have never seen “My Neighbor Totoro?” 🙁 I do love Mizayaki though, so I should add that movie to my list and then come visit once I watch it!

    Reply
    1. L M N Post author

      That sounds like a great plan. 🙂 I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, as it is quite different to the first Ghibli movie I saw (Spirited Away). We watch it a couple of times a year now cause my kids love it!!

      Thank you for commenting <3

      Reply

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