Totoro Forest トトロの森
Step into a Ghibli Landscape in Saitama's Totoro Forest
The park at Sayama Hills takes its nickname of Totoro Forest from the popular Studio Ghibli film whose visuals it inspired. Offering wonderful hiking in summer and brilliant fall colors in autumn, it's also home to a giant Totoro statue flanked by cute kurosuke spirits from the movie.
- The lush forested hiking trails and views of the lakes
- The House of Kurosuke with its giant Totoro statue
How to Get There
Totoro Forest is just northwest of Tokyo at the border with Saitama near Tokorozawa.
The closest station is Kotesashi Station on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line. It's about 40 minutes from Ikebukuro Station. From Kotesashi Station, take the Kote 09 bus from the south exit toward Miyatera-nishi. Get off at the Dainichido stop and it's just a few minutes' walk.
Getting back to nature just a short train ride from Tokyo
Totoro Forest is a wooded area with paths that wind through lush foliage, which stays green all year round, but is especially popular in summer and fall. Once threatened by development, the area was saved by the Totoro Foundation, which acquired the land and preserved it, using the cinematic theme to draw visitors.
Nothing but natural attractions
You won't find rides and fairground attractions here, just 3,500 hectares of pristine forest, views of Lake Sayama, and buildings dating from the recent past. If seen from above, the park looks like a big spot of green amid the buildings of Saitama and Tokyo .
Wander the many trails
Trails wind through the park with foliage high overhead. There are a number of different paths that vary in length and difficulty. You can hike as long as you want and there are maps provided for direction. The forest has many rare tree species that are only seen in Japan.
A step back in time
There are a number of structures to see around Totoro Forest, including old temples and shrines, as well as buildings that were used by the area's farmers. It creates a pleasantly nostalgic atmosphere, a reminder of when this densely forested area was a farming community.
The House of Kurosuke
One of the most popular spots in the park is the House of Kurosuke. This old Showa-era house has a giant full-sized statue of the character Totoro, surrounded by the film's black soot spirits called kurosuke.
You can look around the House of Kurosuke and peruse the Totoro-related goods on sale. There's also an old-fashioned warehouse and a tea factory from the Meiji Era. The House of Kurosuke is only open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, excluding public holidays.
Exploring the Area
Totoro Forest is built around two man-made reservoirs, Lake Sayama and Lake Tama. The water in these lakes flows from the surrounding mountains. You can take walks around the lakes and enjoy the gorgeous scenery with the backdrop of the mountains in the distance.
There are guided tours and events held occasionally in the park. The walking tours highlight certain key locations, focusing on the seasonal transformation of the area.