Shrinking town wants its unique cosplayers to help put it on travelers’ maps.

When Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen rail network gets added to or extended, it’s a big deal not just for the cities at the end of the line, but for the towns with stations that serve as stops along the way too. The enormous boost in ease of access to these towns can provide life-changing, community-saving boosts in tourism, and so when Shin Shichinohe Towada Station opened in rural Aomori Prefecture, the local population was proud and excited that the Hayabusa Shinkansen would be stopping within their city limits.

As a matter of fact, the town of roughly 16,000 people was so excited that they weren’t just going to print up some commemorative banners and call it a day. Instead, the city of Shichinohe formed a Shinkansen cosplay team.

Dressed in tight-fitting teal body suits that match the color of the train they’re saluting, the seven men in the video above aren’t just any group of rail fans. They’re actually representatives of the Shichinohe Chamber of Commerce, specifically the organization’s Hayabusa PR Squad.

The latest public appearance by the group came last Saturday, when they were up bright and early enough to already be in position at Shichinohe Towada Station shortly after 10 a.m. so that they could greet/baffle travelers. However, the team has been active since at least 2013, as photos from its official Facebook page show.

Also, much like an actual train, the length of the cosplay Hayabusa can easily be adjusted, since the interior-position members all have identical costumes.

And while the cosplay Hayabusa can’t hope to match the 300-kilometer (186-mile) per-hour speed of its Shinkansen inspiration, the Hayabusa PR Squad has a mobility advantage in that its movement isn’t confined to the rails, enabling the cosplay train to stroll the sidewalks and ski the slopes of Aomori Prefecture.

Silly as it may look, this sort of fun but attention-grabbing enthusiasm is something that Shichinohe could really use. As with many parts of rural Japan, many residents are moving elsewhere in pursuit of educational and economic opportunities, causing the town’s population to drop by more than 15 percent over just the past 20 years. For those residents who are sticking around, money from outside visitors is likely to become increasingly important in keeping local businesses going, and it’s hard to think of a better way to let people know that Shichinohe is just a quick Shinkansen ride away than by dressing up as the bullet train itself.

Source: IT Media, Facebook/七戸はやぶさ ぴーあーる隊
Featured image: Facebook/七戸はやぶさ ぴーあーる隊
Top image: Wikipedia/Toshinori baba

Follow Casey on Twitter, where any prefecture that’s famous for apple pie and tuna sashimi, like Aomori Prefecture is, is OK with him.