We took the express train from Nara back to Osaka. On the walk back to the hotel, we decided to walk past the Hankyu Sanbaigai shopping center (where we saw the Osaka branch of Kiddyland on our first day in Osaka).
Whilst trying to relocate where Kiddyland was, we saw an even more enticing shop - the Donguri Republic (ドングリ共和国).
Those who know your Miyazaki anime films, and in particular 「隣のトトロ」(My Neighbour Totoro) will recall that Mei's discovery of the Totoros happened while she was collecting acorns in the garden, and the Japanese word for acorn is Donguri (ドングリ). Yes, the Donguri Republic is a shop that sells Studio Ghibli toys, collector's items and associated merchandise. There's even a Cat bus (ネコバス) with a mini LCD screen that shows 「隣のトトロ」 on an endless rerun:
Needless to say, we felt like we have stumbled into a fantasy come true - a whole shop full of Ghibli goodies! With an even more comprehensive selection than the shop at the Ghibli museum!
As you can imagine, they sell Totoro stuffed toys in many variations:
Not just Totoros, but replicas of the gift wrapped seed package from the film:
And these are stuffed Pandas from the film 「パンダ子パンダ」(Panda Ko-Panda):
「紅の豚」 (Porco Rosso):
「天空の城ラピュタ」 (Laputa: Castle in the Sky) - note the robot head, the giant illuminated amulet, also some kodamas from 「もののけ姫」 (Princess Mononoke) at the bottom:
「魔女の宅急便」 (Kiki's Delivery Service) section is predictably full of plates, Jiji the cat, but surprisingly includes a ceramic version of Kiki's fish pie:
Lots of face towels:
Even more trinkets:
And even Kiki and Totoro crystal balls:
And some speciality items for Mother's Day: