Cat school bus
Photo: Cowardlion/Dreamstime

Japan has the most adorable anime- and animal-themed kindergarten buses

Kids in Japan ride to school on these buses designed to look like Pikachu, Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Snoopy and more

By Youka Nagase
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Japan is home to all things kawaii and you can find adorable cartoon characters and mascots everywhere. There are the usual merch shops, cafes and theme parks, of course, but Japan might be the only place in the world where you can see characters from your childhood transformed into fancy manhole covers like these colourful Pokémon ones, or climb aboard a fully functioning Thomas the Tank Engine train

We have to admit: we’re slightly jealous of the local kindergarten kids in Japan, who get to ride to school on fun buses decked out to look like Hello Kitty and Snoopy, or even disguised as a panda, complete with ears. Here are some of our favourite cute-as-a-button buses. Ah, the joys of being a kid again!

Pikachu (Yokohama)

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Doraemon (Chiba)

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Thomas the Tank Engine (Tokyo)

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Cat (Okinawa)


Snoopy (Fukuoka)


Hello Kitty (Hyogo)

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Panda (Ehime)

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Dog (Kobe)

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Remember to read our guide on how to stay safe while you’re out in Tokyo.

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