It is impossible to miss this bright-red electric mini bus that stops at Ikebukuro's favorite hangouts such as Hareza Ikebukuro, Sunshine City, and the south, east, and west Ikebukuro parks. Its ten wheels covered with shiny silver hubcaps will remind you of the cat bus in the animation My Neighbor Totoro. Perched right on top of the bus is an owl, the community symbol of Ikebukuro, originating from a play on words (fukuro for owl). The headlights have the words IKEBUS printed around them, appearing like eyelashes. Through the bus's gleaming windows, you will be attracted to the pop and retro interior, complete with geometric prints in dazzling colors.
More than its striking appearance is its functionality. The IKEBUS is an eco-friendly way to get around Ikebukuro, a transportation hub but also one of the lesser known hubs of creative culture. For passengers with wheelchairs, the rear end of the bus opens up to a ramp and an electric lift. It is very quiet and travels at the speed of 19 km/hr, which means that you are encouraged to slow down, take in the sights, and not feel rushed if you wish to take photos.
Fare for a single ride costs ¥200 for adults and ¥100 for children, seniors, and disabled. The all day pass costs ¥500 for adults and ¥250 for children, seniors and disabled, a great value if you plan to spend an entire day exploring everything that Ikebukuro has to offer.
The IKEBUS was designed by Eiji Mitouka, an award-winning designer of train vehicles. The bus has a maximum capacity of 22 passengers and can be chartered for the day.