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Surrounded by the Magic of Totoro!

I am proud to be one of the hundreds of Studio Ghibli fans out there. While Spirited Away might be a lot of people’s favorite when it comes to Hayao Miyazaki’s creations, mine are Mononoke Hime, My Neighbor Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle. Ever since the plan to go to Japan has been formed in my head, a visit to anything Studio Ghibli related became a must. That is why I was over the moon when I entered that little Totoro shop in Kyoto!

Directions: It is at the bottom of a hill on the way to Kiyomizudera. The shop is among the many souvenir shops you’ll pass by. Watch out for the big sign. Enter all the way to the back of the alley to find the shop.

Totoro shop in Kyoto
Be on the lookout for this sign. Even if you don’t read Kanji, that adorable rotund figure is not hard to miss. By the way, I don’t read Kanji either so I have no idea what the actual shop name says. I just call it the Totoro shop since most of the items for sale are that character.

What is Studio Ghibli?

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick rundown. Japan is famous for anime right? Well, one of the most successful animators and story tellers in the Land of the Rising Sun is Hayao Miyazaki. He has drawn, directed and produced various wonderful animated movies over the years. He formed the company Studio Ghibli. If you have not watched any of his films yet, I suggest you remedy that ASAP. Start with those titles I mentioned above 🙂

The Studio Ghibli movies are captivating because they offer great lesson-filled stories. Characters often start out with having ordinary lives and then suddenly get whisked into fantastical adventures. The audience get drawn in by the beautiful art on screen, the unique magical elements and the overall charm of the plot. Most of the time, there will be crying involved by whoever is watching.

Show the Merchandise

Of course, not all of the Ghibli movies are a hit. But such is the power of Ghibli films that they’ve breached other countries’ borders and have entertained thousands of people around the world. As I said, I’m a huge fan. Therefore, when we spotted that Totoro shop on our first day in Kyoto, my heart exploded with joy! It took a lot of control not to scream and run around like a giddy child 😀

inside the Totoro shop
Nothing but Studio Ghibli goodness.

There were definitely lots of feels when we entered the shop. Shelves were filled with stuffed toys and figures of many recognizable characters. The prices were steep though and I had to restrain myself from emptying my pockets right there and then. It was just our first day in Kyoto, after all, and we did have a limited budget 🙁 Instead, I took as many pictures as I can. Fortunately, the lady store clerk did not mind.

Lots of of stuffed Totoros all over the place. There was also the Cat Bus. Memorabilia from other Ghibli movies are also present.

the framed wall art of Totoro
Oh, what I would give to hang this on my bedroom wall.
More squishy soft toy
More squishy soft toy
cat bus
The Cat Bus plays an important role in the My Neighbor Totoro movie. It is so adorably quirky.

Totoro hiding in its tree while the cat bus is parked nearby. Adorbz!
Totoro hiding in its tree while the cat bus is parked nearby. Adorbz!
Shelves heaving with Totoro soft toys! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!
Shelves heaving with Totoro soft toys! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!
spirited away soot sprite scarf
A scarf of soot sprites from Spirited Away. Soo pretty!
howl's moving castle item in totoro shop kyoto
Howl’s Moving Castle merchandise! Awesome! Howl is <3
Ponyo stuffed toy
Cute little Ponyo!
Totoro sitting at a corner
Totoro by his lonesome. How cute is he?!

In the end, all I managed to buy was a tiny Totoro key chain. I did manage to hug the huge Totoro outside the shop door, so yay! I swear, the next time I get to Kyoto, I’m definitely bringing more money just for Ghibli stuff! If you are a fan of Miyazaki-sensei’s work too, then definitely head to this shop when in Kyoto. If you’re going to Tokyo, then the Studio Ghibli Museum is the place to be.

chilling with Totoro
Got to hang with Totoro. Wish he was indeed my neighbor!


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