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Enchanting 1,000-year-old tree resembling Totoro has tourists swarming for a look

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Nestled in the rural embrace of Sakegawa, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, stands a majestic cedar tree that whispers tales of myth. Known as the Kosugi no Osugi, or “Great Cedar of Kosugi,” this ancient giant boasts an impressive age of over 1,000 years. But its true claim to fame lies in its uncanny resemblance to Totoro, the beloved forest spirit from Studio Ghibli’s timeless film My Neighbor Totoro.


Towering 65.6 feet with a trunk circumference of a staggering 20.7 feet, the Kosugi no Osugi has long been revered by locals. Considered a sacred tree, it was traditionally associated with matchmaking and fertility. Its sprawling branches, however, hold a more whimsical significance for fans of Japanese animation. The two large branches extending from the top bear an undeniable likeness to Totoro’s signature ears.




The tree’s connection to Totoro first gained widespread recognition in the late 1980s when it featured in Japan Railways Group posters and television programs. This association has breathed new life into the Kosugi no Osugi, transforming it into a popular tourist destination. In recent years, with travel restrictions easing, the Totoro Tree has seen a surge in visitors, both domestic and international, eager to witness the magic of the real-life Totoro.


Wonder can truly be found in the most unexpected places, waiting to be discovered by those with open eyes and a touch of imagination.





Image: Patima Harnchaiyanant | Dreamstime.com

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