“My Neighbor Totoro,” a 1988 Japanese fantasy film animated by Studio Ghibli, counts many fans around the world. Some of the most memorable scenes from the film feature the “Cat Bus” as a key character.
Fans will be pleased to know a vehicle modeled on the popular Cat Bus will be appearing soon.
The news came from MONET Technologies Inc.—a joint venture with SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434), Toyota Motor Corporation and other Japan-based automotive manufacturers—when on September 11, 2023, it announced an agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation, Hoei Kotsu, Studio Ghibli and Aichi Prefecture to operate the vehicle at the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park. The vehicle will use Toyota’s Accessible People Mover (APM), a low-speed, short-distance battery electric vehicle, as a base model.
The five parties have been considering the operation of an “APM Cat Bus” to make transportation within Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park easier and more accessible, and to provide a truly unique experience to visitors.
MONET, together with Hoei Kotsu, will manage and operate the APM Cat Bus, while Toyota will manufacture, lease and maintain the vehicle. Studio Ghibli will supervise the design of the APM Cat Bus, and Aichi Prefecture will be responsible for permits and administrative procedures.
When and where to see the Cat Bus
When can park visitors ride the APM Cat Bus? A specific date and route is not yet decided, but the vehicle is expected to start running within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024.
Aichi Prefecture, located roughly in the center of Japan and a major manufacturing center, has Nagoya as its capital city. Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park is located in Nagakute City, approximately 20 km east of Nagoya Station. More details on how to get there and Ghibli Park, which is located within Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park grounds, can be found here.
(Posted on September 19, 2023)
by SoftBank News Editors