In Japan, Bus Stops Look Like Fruit. Here’s Why.

Should you ever get the opportunity to take a trip to Japan, you must ride the bus! No doubt the sophistication of Tokyo’s rail system would be calling your name, but you won’t want to miss out on a trek to the small town of Konagai.

Konagai has now merged into the city of Isahaya, located in Nagasaki Prefecture. It’s a coastal town that is home to a special tourist attraction: fruit-shaped bus shelters. Originally constructed for Nagasaki’s Travel Expo in 1990, the charming structures are now considered landmarks.

That won’t stop you from taking a trip along the bus route, where they are still functioning as bus stops. The expo, hosted by the nearby city of Osaka, was a major event launched to promote tourism in the area, and the bus stops’ designs were created as a way to promote the local agriculture as well as the transit system.

For six months, over 20 million people visited the region and were welcomed by the sight of these fruit domes. Many traveled by bus during their stay and were able to relax inside the structures while waiting. Not only are they cute to look at from the outside, but they have benches and windows so that riders can be comfortable and take in the sights.

Check out the cool designs in these pictures! You’ll find five fruit types that include watermelons, oranges, tomatoes, melons, and strawberries.

  1. Watermelon

    You may be familiar with Japan’s square watermelons, which are a novelty item, but the country grows a nice amount of the oval-shaped kind we’re all familiar with. Many of them have yellow flesh instead of pink! We wonder which variety inspired this stop.

  2. Tomato

    Were you expecting an apple-shaped bus stop? Though apples are grown in parts of Japan, the tomato is a major crop in the Nagasaki region.

  3. Orange

    This design celebrates oranges, which are grown on farms and residential lands all over Nagasaki. Check out the realistic stem on this mandarin orange!

  4. Muskmelon

    This muskmelon design is looks exactly like a cantaloupe – because it is one!

  5. Strawberry

    Is this not one of the most adorable strawberries you’ve ever seen? And it’ll keep you dry when it rains.

Sixteen of these fruit huts dot a stretch of highway along the Ariake Sea. What kid wouldn’t love to see a real life fruit-shaped “house”? Strawberry Shortcake daydreams will be made real.

In reality, the designs were inspired by the tale of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage. They’ve become so popular that visitors can purchase small replicas of the stops as souvenirs. Drive down the road and stop!

Despite them being over 25 years old, the bus stops are used daily and receive touch-up paint jobs every so often to keep them looking fresh. You may also be surprised to hear that the bus stops fruits are not always identical. That means you could wind up sitting in one orange that’s different from the one up the street.

As awesome as these are, Japan has others that are shaped like animals. Who’s ready to ride the bus?

What do you think of these whimsical bus stop designs? Have you seen fun stops in another country? Have you ever visited Japan and seen these?



Travel + Leisure