K4 & K5 – Totoro Forest Park

A voyage into the world of Totoro!

On November 17th, K4 & K5 had a marvelous day out at Jike Furusato Village, aka Totoro Forest Park, in Kanagawa. Hayao Miyazaki was inspired by this forest when creating the film “My Neighbor Totoro.” Students were so excited to venture into the world of Totoro, and got very animated when they recognized scenery from the film!

First, students and teachers went for a stroll in a recently harvested rice field, where we saw rice hay stacks lined up in a picturesque way. This was an interesting sight for our city dwelling kindergarteners! Next it was time to take a walk in Totoro Forest. Students felt almost as if Totoro himself would appear at any minute! One of the highlights was when we saw the landmark of a famous large tree which is featured in the Ghibli film.

Later, students visited an old water mill. Here, they learned a little about traditional ways of life and how people lived in olden days in Japan. We also visited an important shrine in the area. Students enjoyed looking at the red tori gates and sculptures.

Students were very lucky to be able to enjoy a typical Japanese scenic landscape, and all with beautiful weather! We had the added bonus of having the forest park and area all to ourselves, as no other groups were visiting that day. What a truly magical day at Totoro Forest Park!