Nukumori no Mori ・ 5 Reasons to Visit This Japanese Ghibli-Style Destination, Rain or Shine

Chubu Tour Theme park 2020.06.21
A quaint cafe, adorable owls, and amazing architecture are all yours to discover in Shizuoka's Nukumori no Mori.
With a name that translates loosely to "Cozy Forest," it's no wonder Nukumori no Mori (ぬくもりの森) is a charming destination any day―bright and sunny, or rainy and overcast (like most days during Japan's rainy season)! Built by architect Shigeyoshi Sasaki starting in the 80s, Nukumori no Mori is now a little collection of buildings big and small surrounded by trees, which all looks a little like a European village out of a fairytale. The designs may not be taken directly from Miyazaki's sketches, but because of the shared inspiration, we can see why Nukumori no Mori reminds lots of people of Ghibli movies.

Found in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, it may seem a bit off the beaten path, but Hamamatsu is actually easily accessible on the shinkansen. Read more about our whole trip there last spring, right here!

① It Looks Like a Ghibli Film

Old-fashioned European masonry, Gaudi-inspired plasterwork, greenery in every direction and nothing created without specific intent, Shigeyoshi Sasaki and the illustrators of Studio Ghibli take advantage of similar imagery to create magical spaces that feel like another world. Wandering through Nukumori no Mori, it's not hard to pretend you're Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle, and they've included a little nod to the frequent comparison by setting up a pretend bus stop sign modeled after the one in My Neighbor Totoro.

② There Are Owls!

Inside the park, among the cluster of small huts selling trinkets and accessories, is a little owl cottage! A bit like the cat cafes scattered around Japan, inside you'll find over a dozen different owls, all shapes and sizes. For just 1,000 yen you can spend a while with the birds, admiring them up close and giving the friendlier ones gentle head pats.

③ The Hidden Cafe & Bakery

Before Nukumori no Mori became a public attraction, the main buildings were once the private houses of Sasaki and his family. Now, they're home to a bakery and a fascinating cafe. Hallways like carved cave tunnels, reading areas with wooden trees and comfy cushions, terrace seating like an Italian villa, you could easily spend hours just sipping coffee, snacking on the cafe food, and exploring.

④ Gift Shops for Leisurely Browsing

Cute leather goods and accessories, fragrant essential oils, little knickknacks and decorative objects galore―the fun of shopping at Nukumori no Mori comes from both the products themselves, and the time you can spend wandering all the rooms and spaces.

⑤ It's a Great Place for a Photo-Op

It should be obvious by now, but everywhere you look within Nukumori no Mori is another place you want to take a picture―and they make it even better by including little Easter eggs like this heart-shape in the railing. Dress up as Castle in the Sky's Sheeta and Pazu and pretend you're on Laputa, make it a fashion shoot up against the scenic stone walls, or just snap some insta-bae shots around the cafe for instagram!

So, have we convinced you? Thinking about visiting Nukumori no Mori on your next trip through central Japan? Let us know on the Japankuru twitter, instagram, and facebook! We'd love to answer any questions and help you plan your trip.
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