Oita prefecture is located at the Eastern part of Kyushu Island in Japan.
It is also known as one of the prefectures that has a lot of commercial spa towns and hotsprings (onsen) that could really refresh your mind, body and soul. It is also surrounded by nature from seas, mountains and such that can surely make you appreciate what Japan is made of. Below are that things that you can do or visit in Oita that you won’t forget in your entire lives.
Did you know that there is a “Totoro Fund”? Many years ago, the local community started a fund for the preservation of the forests in Sayama Hills / Tokorozawa, Saitama. They called it “Totoro Fund / Totoro no Furasato Foundation”. Tourists are welcome to stay at Kurosuke’s house and you can donate by purchasing the special edition Totoro fund merch / or you can just leave any amount in their donation boxes. Up to this day, because of the pooled money, the organization has bought and acquired enough land to sustain and preserve the forests.
[The origins and development of the Foundation]
Biocultural preservation efforts at Sayama Hills have been in place since the 1970s. As a result, most of the natural habitats in the hills have been protected. However, due to urban and leisure facility development, destruction of the habitat, through deforestation and illegal dumping, is clearly visible.
In April of 1990, with the objective of preserving the lush nature of Sayama Hills to future generations, the National Trust of Totoro no Furusato was born. Due to the efforts of 5 initial contributors, including film director Hayao Miyazaki, a large amount of donations were received from all across Japan.
Sayama Hills is known as the inspiration of Mr.Hayao Miyazaki’s animation masterpiece, “Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988)”. The Trust Fund was named in its honor.
In August of 1991, the first land acquisition “Totoro no Mori (Totoro’s Forest) #1” was made with the used of donated funds. “Totoro no Mori #2” was acquired in April 1996.
In May of 1996, a membership club system that would help fund and support our efforts was established. At the same time, we began publication of the newsletter “Totoro no Mori kara (From Totoro’s Forest)”.
In April of 1998, The National Trust of Totoro no Furusato was incorporated as the “Totoro no Furusato Foundation”. In later years through October of 2003, 4 more land acquisitions were made, for a total of 6.
In 2002, we were awarded “ Environment for Tomorrow Prize- Special Award for Forest Heritage-” by the Asahi Shimbun Company. The prize money of 1 million JP Yen from the award was used to purchase equipment and educational materials for nature observation. We began a program to lend these materials to schools. In 2006, we were bestowed with the City of Kitakyushu’s Environment Award.