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Beloved Totoro's Forest in east Japan expanded to total 11.4 hectares

This photo provided by the Totoro no Furusato Foundation shows Totoro's Forest lot 59 in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama -- A conservation foundation has newly acquired a total of approximately 4,300 square meters of wooded areas in two locations in this east Japan city to add to Totoro's Forest, it announced on May 11.

    The Totoro no Furusato Foundation, a public interest incorporated group, based in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, preserves the forests of Sayama Hills straddling Tokyo and Saitama. Sayama Hills are said to have been one of the models for the setting of Studio Ghibli Inc.'s animation film "My Neighbor Totoro" directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

    With the latest purchase of lots 58 and 59 in Tokorozawa, Totoro's Forest now totals approximately 11.4 hectares of land.

    Lot 58 is 4,051 square meters in the Kitanoshinmachi neighborhood. It borders the bed of the Suna River, whose water source is Sayama Hills, and is a migration route of many wild animals. It is included in the local "green landscape area" designated by the prefecture to protect nature.

    Lot 59 is 284 square meters in the Kitano neighborhood. It is part of a dense wooded area of about 10,000 square meters where the Azuma River flows through. The foundation calls it "Izumi no Mori" (fontal forest) after the old name of the area. With the addition of lot 59, Totoro's Forest in Izumi no Mori now occupies approximately 5,500 square meters, including the previously acquired lots 44, 54, and 55. In the forest, raccoon dogs, Eurasian woodcock, and other valuable plants and animals have been spotted.

    (Japanese original by Takashi Seido, Tokorozawa Local Bureau)

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