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The only thing more gorgeous than the characters from Studio Ghibli’s animated movies would have to be the magical lands in which they live and play. And if you’re looking to play in a forest town where Totoro might be lurking, this unique shopping town in Japan’s Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, is the perfect location.

Known as Nukumori no Mori or The Forest of Warmth, the cluster of buildings on site are homely and inviting, with quirky shapes that make them look like they were sketched up from the dirt by an artist.

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Even the coffee and cake served in town don’t skimp on the whimsy. This French-style cake was created by an award-winning chef and is incredibly popular with visitors.

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The randomly placed objects, like the cart below, make us wonder if sneaky forest creatures come out to work and play when no-one’s looking.

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The town first started growing 20 years ago, when Mr Sasaki, a local architect, built a unique hut there in 1983. Today the site includes small shops, cafes, a restaurant, a gallery, and a quirky motor garage museum.

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Restaurant Douceur serves up French style courses in a gorgeous setting.

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The shop interiors are equally impressive.

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The eerie absence of people in the motor garage makes it feel like you’ve stumbled out of the woods and into someone’s private home while they’re out and about.

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The tiny shops are so delightful that visitors say they want to become shopkeepers. Coming to work in this shop every day would be like escaping to a retreat away from the real world!

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Even the restrooms are charming!

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The attention to detail, like these mismatched light fixtures and random vases in unusual places, adds to the unique atmosphere and makes the area a popular site for wedding photography.

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If you’re looking for a bit of romance and warmth this Valentine’s Day, a trip to the Forest of Warmth might be the perfect destination!

Spot info
Nukumori no Mori (ぬくもりの森)
Address: 2949 Wajicho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 431-1115
Phone: 053-486-1723
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm

Source: Naver Matome
Top image: Yuyutei

Insert images: Yuyutei Minkara Tabinesu Hobidas Yuyutei Watage Nukumori Classic Garage Mapple 2bp Yuyutei