Lonely Planet Writer

Fans of Studio Ghibli can experience a themed restaurant in Bangkok

If Studio Ghibli’s soft, natural and warm backgrounds are a big part of your aesthetic, then you might want to look beyond the studio’s native Japan. May’s Garden House Restaurant is bringing Totoro and the Catbus over to Bangkok, Thailand.

May’s Garden House is the first officially Ghibli licensed restaurant in the world. Image: May’s Garden House Restaurant. My Neighbor Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli

Named just like the youngest of the two protagonists of Ghibli’s 1988 classic My Neighbour Totoro, the restaurant is in the middle of the Sukhumvit district, one of the most exclusive and international ones in the capital. It’s also the first restaurant officially licensed by Studio Ghibli in the world- even Japan only has the one cafe inside the Ghibli Museum itself.

The restaurant is named just like the youngest of the movie’s two protagonists. Image:  May’s Garden House Restaurant. My Neighbor Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli

The restaurant is divided into areas, such as the Children’s Playground, the Orchid Glasshouse, the Boat Water Pool, a Library and two Halls for guests to wander through and take pictures. Ghibli memorabilia is everywhere, from the stained glass windows illustrated with scenes from the movie to huge Totoro plushies appearing behind corners.

Totoro plushies appear everywhere behind corners. Image:  May’s Garden House Restaurant. My Neighbor Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli

The menu of May’s Garden House Restaurant features traditional Thai food and its Ghibli legacy is celebrated there as well. Totoro and the Catbus are the main characters of several desserts, all presented in the most social media-worthy fashion. The makkuro kurosuke, the tiny soot sprites that appear in many Ghibli movies, even get a Japanese azuki beans version of themselves served in a bath of matcha tea.

The beans and matcha version of the makkuro kurosuke. Image: May’s Garden House Restaurant. My Neighbor Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli

The restaurant even has its own original mascots, which appear everywhere on tables and shelves just like Totoro. Colko and Peeko were designed by Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki, and they represent one of the restaurant’s signature dished, the Chicken Wings.

The mascosts Colko and Peeko were designed exclusively for May’s Garden House. Image: Courtesy of May’s Garden House Restaurant. My Neighbor Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli

May’s Garden House Restaurant always suggests making reservations for a meal, especially during weekends. To do so, you can visit their Facebook page and message them there.