Tsutsuki, near Yokohama, is making waves in the Japanese media for its unassuming highway that, when viewed from the right angle at night, forms the vague silhouette of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved character, Totoro.

The lighting on the street in question was apparently deliberately planned by the city so that it would look like “an animal with ears”, but even planners hadn’t intended it to look like studio Ghibli’s famous cat-like mascot.

It takes a moment – and some serious suspension of disbelief – to make out the silhouette, but once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to unsee.

▼ Totoro’s distinctive ears, shown here alongside film protagonist Satsuki. Her sister, Mei, is mysteriously absent.


Kids in the area are delighted by the likeness, which was recently showcased on a local news program in a segment in which children introduce their favorite local landmarks. We can absolutely see why it took a kid’s imagination to discover the likeness, as jaded adults are probably far more concerned about the rush hour traffic than whether or not a street looks like a cartoon character.

It’s easy to scoff at this ever-so-vague representation of the adorable monster, but when viewed side-by-side with the same street during the day, the outline takes on a whimsical quality that might just make Miyazaki proud enough to come out of retirement… again.


Source and feature photo: Kohoku Keizai Shinbun
Inset: Wikipedia