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Nagasaki: cute fish-shaped bus shelters generate social media content

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A bus shelter designed in the image of two marbled rockfish can be seen in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture.

SAIKAI, Nagasaki – Fish-shaped bus shelters have started making waves as cute Instagram-worthy spots on Kakinoura Island in northwest Kyushu.

The island, which lies off the west coast of Nagasaki Prefecture and is one of the islands connected to Kyushu by a series of bridges, was incorporated into the city of Saikai in 2005. The aesthetic fish-shaped shelters were created at four bus stops. at the end of the 1990s before the annexation of the area.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Subtle heart shapes are part of the artwork decorating a bus shelter.

Social media users are also discussing the heart shapes that are sometimes subtly hidden in the shelter’s artwork. There are even posts saying, “If you find them all, your wishes might come true,” but it’s unclear how the heart shapes became part of the equation.

The original design of the shelters did not include such game plans, according to a city office official, who said, “I guess it was probably a playful idea on the builder’s part.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A bus shelter created in the image of a sea bream

The bus shelters had to be made in the image of the marbled rockfish, which the town is famous for. However, one place has a shelter that looks like a sea bream – the reason for this is also a mystery.

Whatever the reason, this somewhat cryptic information seems to partly explain why refuges act as woodpeckers. Despite their remote location from Kyushu – about an 80-minute drive from Nagasaki city and about 60 minutes from Sasebo – the shelters attract a steady stream of tourists, who travel to view the constructions and stand in front of them to take photos.

The city government intends to promote the area, gaining confidence from the opening of the Nishi-Kyushu Shinkansen line in September.