How to make Totoro with rice

January 18, 2009

in characters,how-to

Today’s how-to requires basic Asian ingredients, so it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy cooking & eating sticky rice (Japanese, Chinese, Korean rice), this is a great way to make a main character for your bento!

[How to make a Totoro rice ball] (used in “Sleeping Totoro”, “Flying Totoro”)
- rice mixed with ground black sesame seed and salt (see “How to dye rice naturally”)
- plain rice
- seaweed
- cheese
- black sesame seed
– plastic wrap, scissors

1. Draw Totoro on a piece of paper! You can of course print out an image of Totoro, but Totoro is soooo easy to draw.

Dont worry too much about details. You just need the drawing for the basic shape of Totoro.

Don't worry too much about details. You just need the drawing for the basic shape of Totoro.

2. Put plastic wrap over the drawing, put the rice with ground black sesame seeds on it, and shape it like Totoro’s body using plastic wrap.

3. Put a little bit of rice with black sesame seeds on a piece of plastic wrap, and shape it like Totoro’s ears.

4. Put plastic wrap over the drawing, and put a little bit of plain rice on it. Spread the rice thin and shape it like the white part of Totoro’s stomach.

5. Put #4 (the white part of Totoro’s stomach) on #2 (Totoro’s body) and put plastic wrap over it, and lightly press it down with your palms, so that the white part won’t be too bumpy.

6. Put cheese on the drawing, and cut it for Totoro’s teeth, and eyes. I used a straw to cut cheese for Totoro’s eye, and pressed it down to flatten it. The drawing is just for the reference, so the cheese doesn’t have to be the exact same shape.

7. Cut seaweed for Totoro’s nose and the lines for Totoro’s teeth.

8. Put the nose piece on cheese, and poke it along the seaweed with a tooth pick to cut the nose piece out. Put seaweed lines on the cheese for Totoro’s teeth.

9. Put black sesame seeds on Totoro’s eyes.

11. Cut seaweed for Totoro’s whiskers, and the ^ shaped patterns on the stomach.

12. Put each piece together and you have your own neighbor Totoro!

You can put other food (such as cooked salmon, bonito flakes, sour plumb, etc…) inside Totoro’s stomach, just like when you make rice balls. Plastic wrap makes it really easy to shape rice, so even if you aren’t much of a Totoro fan (I don’t think that’s possible, but…) you can make a different character using this method.

How to make Totoro with rice on my flickr

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.
If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

AshleaNo Gravatar January 19, 2009 at 3:29 am


I reqally love reading your blog, and I just thought that I will let you know that I posted a link to your blog over at mine.


Your food designs are awesome!


avlorNo Gravatar January 19, 2009 at 5:26 am

Thank you so much! My son will love this!


nerakNo Gravatar January 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

wow! thank you so much for sharing! =D


AiyokuNo Gravatar January 20, 2009 at 7:52 am

How adorable. This seems like something I can do ^_^. Thanks for posting :D


akiyamaNo Gravatar February 7, 2009 at 6:26 am

I’m impressed!

Totoro is my fave character, i love seeing it done nicely in bento.


VbunnyNo Gravatar February 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Thank you so much for the totoro tutorial! I am so making this for my friend for her birthday. I LOVE all your bentos, you are so amazing!


mikhailNo Gravatar March 5, 2009 at 6:21 am

one word – amazing !


sarahNo Gravatar March 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

sweet i think that is really cool. I might use that for my DIGS t school.


ShaylaNo Gravatar June 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Ahhh thank you
I love it!
cant wait to try!!


suzuakamiNo Gravatar June 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm

thank you! i must learn to make this before i go to 7th grade!


ChangNo Gravatar September 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm

this is fabulous!! i love totoro~!!


AleiNo Gravatar September 15, 2009 at 7:49 am

My little sister and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Totoro, and my mom is making the chibi totoros today!!!!!!!!


Rachel LeoNo Gravatar January 10, 2010 at 5:10 am

Ann The Red, you are so awesome! I just discovered you and your delightful blog! I am inspired to get creative again, both with cooking and with art. Thank you!


ElizaNo Gravatar January 16, 2010 at 3:19 am

That is too cute~


Jacqui TNo Gravatar April 16, 2010 at 2:21 am

You eye for detail is simply amazing. What a talented mind you have. An a very precise pair of hands to boot!


KarlaNo Gravatar November 1, 2010 at 2:51 am

I have nothing to live for if I cannot make totoro out of rice.I MUST DO THIS! I love totoro, and I love all your awesome bentos. I wish I had better access to asian ingredients. I live in STUPID(no offense to anyone) TEXAS and there is a bigger Spanish population than Japanese, so I have to special order anything more exotic than white rice and soy sauce! I NEED QUAIL EGGS FOR MINI TOTORO!! o_o You are so awesome, I am a big fan! :D


BrendaNo Gravatar November 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hi! I’d like to say that i looooove, looooove your bentos & website, it’s all so instructive and beautiful, if i only had your artistic ability…

Well, my comment to this tutorial is:
Have you tried dyeing Totoro with a bit of balsamic vinegar? just saying, i don’t think it would taste bad at all and it would gave the rice a nice dark colour.


DelphineNo Gravatar January 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

This is incredibly adorable! I’m so happy I came upon your site, thanks so much for all the tutorials! I’m curious though – can this be picked up easily and eaten like onigiri? Or would it fall apart?
Thanks again!!


SheemaNo Gravatar July 2, 2014 at 7:37 am

Hey Anna! Your post inspired me to make something similar. I posted it on my blog and talked about you. You can find it at http://aneggadayblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/day-10-totoro-egg/
Hope you like it!


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