It’s like a haunted house on wheels, except you can’t choose when to ride the ESP Taxi. It chooses you.

From 16 to 31 August, Osaka is being haunted by a taxi like no other. The ESP Taxi: Curse of the Spirit Ring, can be seen prowling the city streets in search of souls brave enough to use it for their transportation needs.

This is the second year Milight Taxi has run the ESP Taxi in the blistering summer month of August. As is the custom in Japan, scary tales and frights that send shivers down one’s spine are often a cost-effective way to keep cool in the intense heat, and just one of the added services Milight Taxi is proud to offer.

Of their 642 active cabs in Osaka, there is only one ESP Taxi. This taxi cannot be reserved either, it can only be hailed by chance if it happens to be in your area. You can notice it by the bloody magnet placard on the door that reads “ESP” (reikan, pictured below) taxi.

▼ The kanji characters are read “reikan,” referring to an ability to sense supernatural entities and energy, and can be seen on the ESP Taxi’s door sign.

The fact that a long-haired Sadako-like ghost is driving is also a dead giveaway, but once you step into the heavily decorated ESP Taxi, there is no mistaking that you are in for an unusual ride. While a lot of it is just festive summer horror stuff, some of it is practical too, like the bamboo seat cover that helps to reduce your body temperature and get you in the mood for some supernatural happenings.

There is also spooky music playing through the speakers during your ride. However, things get really interesting with the centerpiece of this taxi: the lantern seen dangling from the back of the passenger seat.

As the legend goes, the lantern appears to contain “something like a soul” that was collected from a notorious ghost spot in Osaka.

For their sake, that better not be a catch-and-release haunted tunnel.

Because of the lantern’s presence, some kind of supernatural occurrence is said to take place before the taxi departs. The details are unknown, but the Milight website outlines a set of rules for would-be passengers:

  • In the event that a psychic phenomenon occurs inside the car, Milight will not be held liable for any reason.
  • Photography is not recommended.
  • If you cannot handle frights please notify your driver.

Personally, I find the second rule most intriguing. I could see why they would “prohibit” photography, but why simply not recommend it?

The only way to find out is to find this elusive spirit cab and take a spin to the other side. All fares are exactly the same as regular Milight cabs and because this is Japan, there is no need to tip your undead driver. However, the ESP Taxi will return to the land of the ethereal on 31 August, so get looking fast if you happen to be in Osaka!

Source, images: Milight Taxi
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]