Ride Highway of Dreams at New Bus Hotel in Shizuoka Prefecture

Old & New video

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
An old commuter bus and bus information office have been converted into a hotel called Bustay in Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture. The bus has room for three beds and guests can push the buttons to “request” a stop as many times as they like. The windows have pull-down shades.

An old commuter bus and information office, now made up with beds and a kitchen, began welcoming guests on Nov. 17 in the town of Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture. The accommodation is named Bustay, combining “bus” and “stay,” which also means “bus stop” in Japanese. A bus service currently serves the Ugusu stop just aside.

The hotel only accepts one group, up to five people, per night. Three can sleep in the bus and two in the building.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
A person sits in the driver’s seat, grips the steering wheel and pushes the button to announce the next stop, but cannot start the engine.

The bus, which carried up to 52 passengers and a driver, mainly hauled people around the Numazu and Mishima area in the prefecture from 1999 until April this year. When it was converted into a hotel, seats in the rear were replaced with three beds. During their stay, guests can grip the steering wheel, shift the gears, and update the screen displaying stops as they like. From the passenger seats, they can request a stop with the push of a button, but they cannot start the engine.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The Bustay hotel comprises a former bus information office, left, and a former commuter bus, right.

The former bus information office, which was built in 1950 and closed at the end of March last year, is a one-story wooden building of about 70 square meters. Local residents knew it as Ugusu Station and could buy tickets there for service with the railroad. The building’s waiting room has been converted into a dining room and the ticket window into a kitchen. With a refrigerator and a microwave, guests can do some basic cooking. Meals can also be reserved in advance. A storage space has been converted into a bedroom with two beds. And of course, there is a bathroom.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
A person checks in and out via a tablet inside the former information office.

Rates for group stays start from ¥34,000, excluding food. Reservations can be made online. You can also check in and out digitally with a tablet provided at the hotel.

The hotel stands in the center of what use to be Kamo village, close to the old village office. There are many scenic spots nearby, including the Dogashima district and a beach.

“We’d like to make this a place that brings life back to this area, which is suffering from a declining population,” said an official at Tokai Jidosha Co. which is based in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, and runs the hotel.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Photographer
The waiting room in the former information office has been converted into a dining room.