In Japan in the late 1950s, professor Tatsuo Kusakabe and his daughters Satsuki and Mei move to an old house to be closer to the hospital that their mother is staying at due to an illness. They soon discover the large, fluffy forest spirit known as Totoro, along with other mystical creatures like the susuwatari, small fuzzy beings otherwise known as "soot sprites", and the smiling, twelve-legged Neko no basu, or "Catbus".