So, you’re in Shibuya on an early Friday obon morning, and you really want to get to Osaka, so what do you do? Hop on a train? Catch a flight? Rent a car? Wave down a taxi? Though not exactly unheard of, it’s still an extremely expensive way to travel 314 miles…even more so, if you decide to hijack the taxi half-way there!

On August 16, one taxi driver had the ride of his life when his customer decided to take over and shoved him into the passenger seat. But let’s back up and start at the beginning.

After getting into a taxi in Shibuya, Tokyo at around 6am last Friday, 29-year-old Hiroshi Inai told the driver to take him to Osaka, a trip of about 314 miles. Though not exactly the most common request, it’s not unheard of either, and so the taxi driver headed southwest! After driving for about two and a half hours, the pair found themselves in Shizuoka.

▼Shibuya! Not pictured: anywhere close to Osaka.


Though the Osaka native is unemployed and without a fixed address, it hardly excuses what happened next.

When the driver pulled over to the shoulder of the road near a parking area in Shizuoka, Inai got out of the taxi and went to the driver’s door. Screaming “Move over! I’m driving!” at the driver, he pushed the 47-year-old man into the passenger seat. Trapped, the driver could only watch as Inai pulled on to the expressway and headed towards Aichi Prefecture.

Seeing Inai driving erratically–alternately speeding up and then slowing down–the taxi driver steeled his resolve and…called the cops on his cell phone. Not exactly Bruce Willis taking on a team of terrorists, but we’re all heroes in our own ways.

Realizing that the vehicle was running low on gas, the driver alerted the police to the situation. But would it be enough??

Inai also noticed the gas gauge dropping and gave up on the car once they arrived at the Toyota tollbooth. Getting out of the taxi, he made to grab another vehicle–this time an expressway bus!

▼ A tollbooth in Japan.


Acting quickly, the taxi driver snatched the key out of the ignition, leaving Inai stranded when the cops appeared. With no way to escape, the taxi-jacker gave himself up.

Making this story all the more bizarre, it was discovered that the man had plenty of money on hand to pay for the fare–and no weapons. After being arrested and questioned about the incident, Inai denied all wrongdoing, going so far as to say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The nerve of some people!

Well, we’re glad this adventure ended without injury, as it could have been a lot worse. But now we really want to know what the heck he was thinking! Was he suffering from a mental condition? Was the driver being a jerk and Inai just couldn’t put up with it anymore? Has the heat finally driven everyone mad? We may never know, but here’s our wild conjecture: Maybe Inai is actually a run-away, super-advanced AI robot just looking for the meaning of life. And some takoyaki.

What do you think: robot or crazy guy? Tell us in the comments section!

Sources: Naver Matome, Asahi Shinbun Digital, Chunichi Shinbun
Images sources: Wikipedia (taxi, Toyota-Fujioka interchange, Shibuya)