Even 27 years after its release, My Neighbor Totoro continues to resonate in the hearts of fans, so much so that it’s easy to forget that the anime classic is a mere 87 minutes long. Subtract from that all the scenes the star himself doesn’t appear in, and we’re left with far less time than we’d like with Studio Ghibli’s most beloved character.

Granted, Totoro does make a brief appearance in one of the animated shorts shown at the Ghibli Museum. But what if you don’t have a trip to Tokyo lined up anytime soon, or that particular piece of animation isn’t being shown when you do?

Then it’s time to arrange a tabletop visit from the big guy himself, by whipping up a plate of Totoro soba noodles.

If your only experience with pasta is of the Italian variety, the idea of eating your noodles cold can be a little jarring. However, chilled soba noodles, served with a dipping broth on the side, are a delicious, refreshing, and easy-to-prepare Japanese dish that will leave you feeling both full and cooled off, making them a great choice for a summertime meal.

Soba noodles usually end up with a gray color, though, as a result of the buckwheat flour they’re made with. It’s not the most appetizing hue, but things get a little more colorful when you add sliced green onion or dried seaweed (also a dark green), or white grated yam, all of which act as seasonings as well as bits of visual flair.

Some people just haphazardly toss all those extra ingredients on top of the noodles, but if you take your time and place them a little more artistically, you could create something like these edible creative expressions.

https://twitter.com/se2na_owo/status/626348572359856129 https://twitter.com/rad_0218/status/627427157413748737

First, arrange your soba in the shape of the character’s body, head, and ears. Next, add some dollops of grated yam, called tororo (not to be confused with “Totoro”) in Japanese, to form his eyes and tummy. Finally, apply green onion or seaweed to create his markings, pupils, and nose.

▼ With enough green onion, you can even recreate Totoro’s lush forest habitat.


▼ Shredded seaweed also makes a great stand-in for Totoro’s whiskers.


Those who’ve tried making the dish say it’s remarkably easy, although they recommend using slightly fewer noodles for Totoro’s stomach, since that’s where the majority of the yam is going to be poured.

▼ You’ll also want to avoid making his ears too big, lest he end up looking like rabbit (even if there’s a bit of a resemblance anyway).

And while shiso (Japanese basil) isn’t the most common soba accent, it is a great way to reference Totoro’s penchant for balancing a leaf on his head.


Feel like dining with/on even more of the movie’s cast? Grab some rice, press it into a ball, and wrap the whole thing in seaweed to replicate the soot sprites/ makkuro kurosuke/susuwatari.

https://twitter.com/kmskmi/status/611890935757017089 https://twitter.com/sn__13k/status/624760694416609280

After all, Ghibli anime and food are always a tasty combination.

Source: Naver Matome, Twitter/@rad_0218, Twitter/@kmskmi