Public transportation network welcomes otaku to one of modern anime’s holy sites.

Numazu, a mid-sized city on the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture, didn’t use to be a town many anime fans spent much time thinking about, but that suddenly changed when the town was chosen as the setting for Love Live! Sunshine!!, the second arc of the massively popular Love Live! schoolgirl idol singer multimedia franchise. Practically overnight, a visit to the area got a slot on the travel aspirations of Love Livers, and the series’ hard-core fans are known, and there’s likely to be a fresh wave of otaku visitors commemorating the release of the fourth single from Aqours, Love Live! Sunshine!!’s in-universe idol unit, which just came out on September 25.

▼ Video for Aqours’ new single, “Mitaiken Horizon”

Of course, all those visiting Love Livers (as the series’ hard-core fans are known) will need a way to get around Numazu once they arrive in town for their anime pilgrimage, and transportation provider Izuhakone Railway, which also operates the local bus network, is happy to accommodate their otaku passions with a new Love Live! Sunshine!! ita-bus.

The bus features all nine members of Aqours, dressed in their butterfly-motif outfits from the “Mitaiken Horizon” video. While the exact routes the bus will run aren’t set, it has already gone into service, and is being used to carry passengers along routes that lead to/from Numazu Station.

This is actually the fourth Love Live! bus that Izuhakone Railway has created, with previous versions making their debut at a pace of one a year since 2016. While they were originally intended o run for only a limited time, their service has been extended due to popular demand, and there’s likewise no pre-determined retirement date for the “Mitaiken Horizon” bus either.

▼ Other Love Live! busses in the Izuhakone Railway fleet

In addition, Izuhakone also currently has a three-car Love Live! Sunshine!! ita-train travelling up and down its Sunzu Line, which connects Shizuoka’s Mishima and Shuzenji Stations.

However, the Love Live! train, which made its maiden voyage on August 28, does have a set window of operation, with its last run scheduled for October 17. Meanwhile, if you like the idea of otaku-oriented vehicles but concerned about the lack of flexibility with public transportation, you might want to consider Numazu’s official Love Live! rental car itasha instead.

Source: Izuhakone Raiway via IT Media
Top image: Izuhakone Railway
Insert images: Izuhaoke Railway (1, 2, 3)
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