We lived in Japan for 2 years a long time ago. That’s when I bought myself the prettiest wallet in the world, a Totoro wallet. It was big enough to fit all our stuff in (like 6 passports, 6 (or 12) boarding passes, currency from different places, credit cards and all that. It was also big enough to be found easily inside my huge homeschool mom bag. I used it while I was in Japan, then through my over 6 years of NZ. It was old, it was tearing and peeling and dirty. I still loved it and didn’t want to let it go.
Well, then, when we decided to travel and carry only the essentials, the wallet needed to stay behind, as it wouldn’t fit inside my small new bag (the bag itself was the size of the wallet, can you imagine?). With the promise that we’d get a new one in Japan (our first stop), I carefully disposed of it, with tears in my eyes.
Things almost never work as we want them to, so we spent a whole month in Japan going to store after store looking for a wallet and we did not find it. Not. one. single. Totoro. Wallet.
In the end, while we were wandering around Narita Airport, I found a Totoro card holder that now works as a wallet, but all that wandering gave us a lot to talk about: the stores in Japan.
Even little stores have one thing of another that’s Ghibli related.
I found gorgeous little Ghibli handkerchiefs in a mall in Suzuka, amongst bags and hats. I, later on, found the same ones at the Ghibli Museum store, for the same price. I also found many Totoro and Jiji clothing items, like socks and t-shirts in many different places. There is, also, Ghibli stuff in the claw machines, which we couldn’t get.
Mamma Aiuto, the official Ghibli Museum shop, is adorable and it has some things I didn’t see anywhere else, including some awesome jewelry. It tends to be a bit pricier than other shops, but the difference isn’t too big and there’s so much to choose from… I loved the shop, and I’d have loved it more if it’d been a bit easier to see what we wanted to. It was so crowded we couldn’t get near stuff not spend some time looking at them.
Village Vanguard is a variety shop, with LOADS of different and fun things. I loved the Ghibli part there, it was cheaper than other stores and nearly always free of people pushing you. In this store, there is much nerdy stuff, like video game characters, old anime goods, awesome and funny food products…. It’s got a lot of stuff. Take your time wandering around, because it’s fun. There are many stores through Japan.
Don Quijote is another variety store. It’s usually huge, with a lot of different things. We bought a lot of lollies to give out as souvenirs there because it has everything. We used to spend hours there, and we only wandered around the character and the food area. So. Many. Things. They’re everywhere in Japan…
And we also visited Donguri Garden, inside a mall in Tokyo. It had loads of character goods, like Snoopy and Moomin, but the Ghibli area is big and it’s all official, so pretty and nicely arranged, I really felt like I wanted to buy everything. If only we weren’t backpacking…. This was the prettiest store, besides Mama Aiuto.
There’s the Donguri Republic, and they sell only Ghibli stuff. Good thing we didn’t cross any.
There was another Totoro shop just by Asakusa Train Station, and even though it was small, it had a lot of stuff for a cheaper price than the other stores.
Now, let me show you the cutest choux creme EVER, the Totoro cream puff, from Shiro-Hige! It was not the best choux in Japan, but it was so adorable…
We went to this bakery because of these cute Totoro puffs, but this is not the only place. There are many bakeries that sell Totoro themed bread and cookies.
Besides Totoro, you’ll find other characters, like Hello Kitty everywhere. There are Sanrio stores (and they are just as adorable) everywhere, and there are the Sanrio character goods everywhere. We found even a ninja Hello Kitty in Iga-Ueno.
In 2016, Gudetama, an egg character, was the boom, it was everywhere, in everything. It had even a café. We went to the café, but neither Angelo nor I had the chance to try what we ordered because we had a little accident with Coral (she dropped her hot chocolate all over her) and the kids didn’t like their food. But it was one cute place.
Disney stores are also everywhere and they are amazing! The sales sessions are to die for.
What’s your favorite Japanese character?