You can make your own Totoro! Let's go to Izu Teddy Bear Museum!

I tried the Totoro stuffed toy making in Izu, which is one of Japan’s most popular vacation home area only about two hours from Tokyo.

Izu Teddy Bear Museum has been drawing so much attention for its Totoro stuffed toy workshop that children and adults can enjoy and at the same time preserve a memory in a tangible form. In this article, I’d like to share with you my experience of the stuffed toy making!

The first step is to choose the type of Totoro to make and the leaf to put on his head. There are 3 Totoros to choose from: Laughing Totoro, Large Totoro, and Medium Totoro, this time I chose the most popular one, Medium Totoro. For the leaf, I chose a ginkgo leaf.

Next, you fill your Totoro with cotton. You can put in as much cotton as you like, so you can adjust the hardness and fluffiness to your preference.

Once you finish filling it with cotton, you sew up its back. It is a bit difficult to sew in a “コ” shape, but you will definitely have grown fond of your one-and-only Totoro by the time you finish sewing.

Then put a leaf and belly pattern on it, and have it hold a bag with small items in its right hand and a message card in its left hand, it's done.

I chose a persimmon branch for a small item in the right hand, and put the words "Fa-So-La AKIHABARA" on a leaf in the left hand.

There are still many more things to do after making your Totoro. First, you measure your Totoro’s height and weight, then put the results and its name in a birth certificate and a health insurance card, treating your Totoro like a real child. Also, you can even find out your Totoro’s personality by using a personality diagnosis machine that looks like an MRI.

According to the machine, my Totoro is easy-going.

The whole process took about one hour. Making a cute Totoro of your own will definitely be your lifelong memory.

To do the Totoro stuffed toy making workshop, you need to make a reservation. Weekend sessions get fully booked quickly, so it is recommended to make a reservation early. Besides Totoro, Izu Teddy Bear Museum also offers a Teddy Bear making workshop. Moreover, the museum has so much to see, such as a special exhibition titled “Exhibition of My Neighbor Totoro Stuffed Toys,” as well as display of a valuable teddy bear doll made in 1904, so it is highly recommended!

■DATA <Izu Teddy Bear Museum > Address: 1064-2 Yawatano, Ito-shi, Shizuoka, Japan TEL: 0557-54-5001 Hours: 9:30-17:00 (last admission at 16:30) Closed: 2nd Tuesday in February, March, and December, 2nd Tuesday and Wednesday in June (open if the day is a national holiday) Admission: Adults=1,500 yen, Junior and senior high school students=1,000 yen, Elementary school students=800 yen (Free for those over 75 years old and preschool children) Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/izuteddybearmuseum/

<Stuffed Toy Workshop > Duration: approx. 60 min. Maximum number of participants: 12 for each session Participation fee: 6,380 yen (tax included) Application site: https://passmarket.yahoo.co.jp/main/feature/Izuteddybear.html *Participation in the workshop only is possible without admission to the museum. *Participants in the workshop will receive a 500 yen discount for admission to the museum.

(Information as of January 2024.)