The mischievous character Catbus from Hayao Miyazaki’s classic My Neighbor Totoro will soon be coming to life. Well, kind of. On Tuesday, the prefectural government in Aichi unveiled five low-speed electric vehicles modeled on the wide-grinning, hollow-bodied feline that will transport passengers around parts of Ghibli Park that are inaccessible to pedestrians. The buses, which will be in operation from March 16, can carry up to five passengers. They will travel approximately 2 kilometers through the park, with each journey lasting around 10 minutes. The fare is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children from 4 years old to elementary school age.  

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Catbus: An Iconic Ghibli Character  

Released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro is one of Miyazaki’s most popular movies. The story centers around sisters, Satsuki and Mei, who discover playful spirits in the woods behind their spooky old house. Among those spirits is the titular character Totoro, who is now the mascot of Studio Ghibli. The 12-legged Catbus, with its bushy tail and seats covered in fur, is another iconic character from the movie. It has even had its own spin-off short film and was parodied in an episode of The Simpsons 

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Ghibli Park’s Valley of Witches Also Unveiled

A day after the Catbus vehicles were unveiled, members of the press had the chance to check out Ghibli Park’s new area, named Valley of Witches. As with the Catbuses, it will be open to the public from March 16. The park’s latest attraction will delight fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service. It features the Okino Residence, where Kiki grew up, and the Guchokipanya Bakery, where she lived with her black cat, Jiji. There’s also Howl’s Castle and Hatter’s Hat Shop from Howl’s Moving Castle, and The House of Witches from Earwig and the Witch.

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