Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro is one of their most beloved films of all time. And now, the renowned animation studio is opening their very first My Neighbor Totoro-themed restaurant. However, they’re not opening it in Tokyo, or even somewhere else in Japan, but in Thailand! Called May’s Garden House, this Totoro-themed restaurant will open by the end of the month.
And hey, they even have Totoro itself in there are well! The restaurant is in Sukhumvit, Bangkok, and they previously did a pre-opening trial run from 16th April. This is to solicit feedback from guests about their menu and restaurant itself.
But how did this restaurant came to be, and why in Thailand? Well, it turns out that Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki has a very touching story about its founding. In a radio segment, Suzuki revealed that he somehow ended up in the village of Pak Thong Chai. The village’s rustic feeling somehow reminded him of the Japanese country side, and he felt nostalgic. And while in the village, he met a a local woman named Kanyada, who he also nicknamed “May”. It turns out that May makes some killer wings, and Suzuki fell in love with her cooking. However, due to lack of business, May had to close up her shop, which Suzuki really loved.
Because of her situation, Suzuki decided to help her out, and transfer her to Bangkok none the less. He then helped her open May’s Garden House, and then gave it a Totoro theme. The restaurant staff even call Suzuki their “Big Boss”.
And Suzuki loves the restaurant so much that he even designed two original characters for it! Meet Colko and Peeko everyone!
And aside from May’s signature chicken wings, the restaurant also offers plenty of Totoro-themed menu items.
You can find the May’s Garden House Restaurant over at 18 Soi Lak Khet (Sukhumvit Soi 29), Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana Bangkok, Thailand. They’re open from 12 noon until 7pm. You may also visit their official Facebook page, as well as their Instagram for more details.