Yesterday, Yumi-san (a.k.a. my fairy godmother here in Japan haha) and I went on a mini hiking trip at Tokorozawa, Saitama! It's amazing how there are SOOO many things to do, explore and discover here in Saitama Prefecture!
Been wanting to hike ever since my Poppy trip to Chichibu and coincidentally, Yumi nee-san wanted to visit Kurosuke's house. I think that I did read about this news before (maybe from rocketnews JP? lol haha) and I also thought of visiting Totoro and Kurosuke.. but I had forgotten about it. Many thanks to Yumi nee-san for inviting me and for arranging everything! Her adventurous spirit and youthful energy are really inspiring and contagious.
Anywaaay, let's get started! Here are the highlights of the trip! ^^
Totoro-san contemplating about the meaning of life.
Do watch out for the special Totoro Forest x #HobonichiWithMe video!
Luckily, for a Saturday, it wasn't too crowded!
Seeing greens and trees just makes me feel more alive!
Look how lush the trees are! They look like broccoli (and Yumi-san thinks so as well haha)~
Many years ago, the local community started a fund for the preservation of the forests in Sayama Hills / Tokorozawa, Saitama. They called it "Totoro Fund / Totoro no Furasato Foundation". Tourists are welcome to stay at Kurosuke's house and you can donate by purchasing the special edition Totoro fund merch / or you can just leave any amount in their donation boxes. Up to this day, because of the pooled money, the organization has bought and acquired enough land to sustain and preserve the forests.
Yumi-san woke up at 4:30AM to prepare our kawaii Totoro bento! OMG! *_*
Zen time with Totoro-san
Got a train pin of the cute yellow Seibu-Ikebukuro train!
I brought the midori (green) totoro with me but it went back to its homeland / roots. I think I dropped it while we were walking huhuhu.
Sayonara, my favorite travel buddy! (I brought this thing with me when I went to Hokkaido last summer haha)
Train stamp at Akitsu!
Quick breakfast: Melon pan!
Iris Festival + KPP Train!!
We followed "Map 1" but we would recommend that you follow Map 2 instead. The route that we took wasn't really that interesting (lots of matcha farms btw) and it wasn't really "hiking", haha.
Forgotten cute hat
Was amazed by the bicycling parking style haha
KPP train spotted!
Poppy flowers along the way ~
We kept on wondering what these were.. but later on we found out that these are actually tea leaves. Amazing!
Spotted Totoro Forest #14!
[Totoro Fund Trivia Time]
Biocultural preservation efforts at Sayama Hills have been in place since the 1970s. As a result, most of the natural habitats in the hills have been protected. However, due to urban and leisure facility development, destruction of the habitat, through deforestation and illegal dumping, is clearly visible.
In April of 1990, with the objective of preserving the lush nature of Sayama Hills to future generations, the National Trust of Totoro no Furusato was born. Due to the efforts of 5 initial contributors, including film director Hayao Miyazaki, a large amount of donations were received from all across Japan.
Sayama Hills is known as the inspiration of Mr.Hayao Miyazaki’s animation masterpiece, “Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988)”. The Trust Fund was named in its honor.
Super fit Yumi nee-san
Random ajisai bushes that made me smile!
Kurosuke's House is the facilities and building of National Trust Totoro Fund. There are three traditional buildings that removed to this location. The main building is constructed over 100 years ago. It is typical traditional houses in early 20 century and preserved in a great condition. It shows the life style of that era.
Kura, the storage, was constructed in late 19th century. Inside of the storage is the exhibition for all Totoro's forest. It has Diorama with Totoro's character especially Black Soots are hidden everywhere.
Tea House is a tea factory that displays the old machines of making green teas. This place has experiencing tea making and wooden crafts.
In the traditional House, the original Totoro Goods are available. The profit of Totoro Goods will be donation for the Totoro Fund to preserve the forest.
The Homeland of Totoro Foundation is a legally incorporated foundation with the purpose of preserving the beautiful natural habitat and cultural assets of Sayama Hills and its surrounding areas.
Sayama Hills is located western side of Tokyo. The size of the hills with forest is about 11km long (east to west) and 4km long (north to south) It has a huge forest that is preserved with two artificial lakes. Some of Totoro's forest has farmland, rice field and wetland.
In Sayama Hills, there are 1,400 types of ferns and other seedling plants, 19 mammals, and over 200 different species of birds have been identified. Moreover, 2,500 kinds of insects, as well as frogs, snakes and salamanders call this forest their home.
Thank you random tourists for taking a photo of us!
All these special Totoro artworks!
Sticker lover me was super ureshii
Lol, so cute!
Totoro selfie lol
"Please teach me sempai"
View from the 2nd floor. The house is actually 100+ yrs. old!
Totoro Fund gives me hope! It's amazing how these locals came up with such an idea.
They use the money they received to purchase land and to preserve the trees..
For me, this is truly commendable especially in these modern times when people would rather build establishments or houses.
There were so many kids who visited Kurosuke's house and I feel that it's a cute yet eye-opening experience for the next generation of Mother Nature's caretakers :)
Exploring the house ~
Lunch time! ~
Kaila's Totoro Haul
Super yummy + kawaii Totoro bento by Nee-san!
(Nee-san means "older sister" in Japanese btw)
Kaila & Yumi nee-san!
Hanging out with my buddies
After going around Kurosuke's house and eating our packed bento, we strolled around the area.
We discovered this shop that does not have any staff. The prices are indicated and you just need to put the money inside the box.
One of many interesting ideas that you cannot implement in my country (Philippines) lololol
Paid a visit to a shrine we discovered along the way to say our thanks :)
Super kirei Sayama Lake which happens to be a man-made lake too.
After a long day of walking / strolling under the heat of the sun.. it was so refreshing to just take a rest and enjoy the breeze near the lake. :)
Ahh, the good things in life.
Lots of greens ~
View from the bridge
Oh how I wish I could stop that time.
... and we called it a day! :)
I'm still editing the video so please do look forward to it!
Thank you for reading and scrolling down all the way! Many thanks to my travel companion, Yumi-san for the unforgettable time!
If you're a huge fan of Ghibli / Totoro like me, make sure to add Totoro's Forest / Totoro no Mori to your bucketlist! : )