The opening of the second phase of Ghibli Park is also underway.
In the midst of all this, there is one new topic.
It has been announced that a new train service will begin operating around March 2024 for the purpose of providing comfortable transportation within Expo 2005 Aichi Prefecture, where the Ghibli Park is located.
This time, we have some information for those who love “My Neighbor Totoro. We will introduce the “Rideable Cat Bus” that will be unveiled at Ghibli Park.
- What is the “Catbus” in Studio Ghibli’s works?
- Ghibli Park’s Cat Bus is an Electric Vehicle
What is the “Catbus” in Studio Ghibli’s works?
However, (and I am sure that I am in the minority), what is a Neko Bus in the first place? Let me start from the beginning.
Catbus” or “Magical Catbus” is pronounced “Nekobus” in Japanese.
It is a vehicle that appears in “My Neighbor Totoro” with a head like a cat and a body like a bus.
The second most popular character in the series, after Totoro, is the “Dust Bunnies” character, which is also available as key chains and plush toys.
Come to think of it, “Dust Bunnies” is also a very popular character.
In Japan, they are called “Makkurokurosuke” (hard to pronounce?). and has been used as a motif in various works of art.
If you visit “Ghibli’s Grand Warehouse” in Ghibli Park, you may see some “Dust Bunnies” there.
Ghibli Park’s Cat Bus is an Electric Vehicle
Now, let me introduce the “Catbus” that will be operating at the Ghibli Park.
As already introduced on X (formerly known as Twitter), this electric vehicle is a faithful replica of the Catbus that appears in “My Neighbor Totoro”.
Test operation scheduled for March 2024.
It is scheduled to begin test runs in early March 2024, and to be in full operation from mid-March 2024.
At this time, it is not clear if there will be a fee, if so, what the fee will be, the operation schedule, or the number of vehicles in operation.
When more details become available, we will tweet them with an “X” as shown below, so please check back from time to time.
— ghibli enthusiast (@littelecanapina) September 14, 2023
Catbus’ course of operation in Ghibli Park
Details of the Ghibli Park Catbus are not yet available, but the course of operation has been revealed.
It will operate from the ball field on the east side of the north entrance to the Expo 2005 Aichi Prefecture (Moricoro Park), through “Mononoke Village” and “Cats’ Castle,” which is available for free use, to “Witches’ Valley” and further south through “Dondoko Forest” to the south baseball field, a distance of about 2.4 km This is the plan.
We have a rough idea of what the route will be, but it is a long distance with ups and downs on foot.
If you run slowly, you will probably be able to enjoy it for about 10-15 minutes.
Catbus in Ghibli Park is an electric vehicle by Toyota
Catbus, which will operate at Ghibli Park, will be introduced by four main operators, including Toyota Motor Corporation and Ghibli Park, to improve convenience in the park and replace a small attraction.
As for its appearance, it is also equipped with fur-like seats, mouse-shaped marker lamp-like decorations attached to the roof, a tail, and paw pads.
The tail on the back is cute! The tail on the rear view is cute!
The upper front window is equipped with the directional sign depicted in “My Neighbor Totoro” to indicate the destination of the Neko Bus, and the letter “Ku” in Ghibli Park has been reproduced in reverse.
However, if you don’t understand Japanese, you won’t notice this ^^;.
Catbus’ base vehicle is APM, which played an active role in the Tokyo Olympics
The Catbus at Ghibli Park has a base vehicle.
It is an electric vehicle called APM (=Accessible People Mover) developed by Toyota Motor Corporation for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. However, it may be said that the vehicle is more similar to a golf cart than an electric car.
The body size is approximately 3.9m in length x 1.6m in width x 2m in height.
It has three rows of seats and can accommodate up to six people, with a maximum speed of 19 km/h.
Since there was a distance from the gate to the venue, it was mainly operated for the disabled and elderly people.
The Expo 2005 Aichi, Japan (Moricoro Park), where the Ghibli Park is located, has a paved perimeter path, and medium-sized buses are already in operation.
The idea may have been inspired by the fact that the park’s well-maintained paths can be used by bicyclists and walkers.
This was a short article, but it provided information about Catbus, which is scheduled to begin operation around March 2024.
It is expected to be very popular at first, so parents with children should keep this in mind.
I believe there will be a fee, but I don’t know if it will be sold with the ticket or as a stand-alone item.
If it becomes a reservation, purchase it in conjunction with your ticket reservation time and travel time between areas.