Pictured: Sabus, the bus in Japan that’s being transformed into an amazing wood-burning mobile sauna


Pictured: The city bus in Japan that’s being transformed into an amazing wood-burning sauna on wheels (and you press the ‘stop the bus’ button to generate steam)

  • Shinki Bus in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture is turning a decommissioned city bus into ‘Sabus’ – a mobile sauna  
  • Renderings show that the layout of the sauna will incorporate some of the classic design elements of the bus 
  • ‘Please look forward to Sabus coming to your city,’ the Sabus website reveals, ahead of its 2022 launch

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The imagination of the Japanese knows no bounds. They’ve dreamt up a toilet that looks like a spaceship, they have gardens on the backs of trucks, a fairytale village modelled on Peter Rabbit – and coming soon, a bus with a sauna in it. 

Shinki Bus, a bus company in Japan based in the city of Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture, is taking a decommissioned city bus and turning it into a sauna on wheels – known as ‘Sabus’. 

Amazing new renderings show what it will look like once it’s completed, with the shell of the vehicle transformed into a charming wood-burning sauna.

The Shinki Bus company in Japan is taking a decommissioned city bus and turning it into a sauna on wheels – known as ‘Sabus’. This rendering shows the interior after the transformation

Pictured is the bus before the redesign. Shinki Bus was founded back in the 1920s

Pictured is the bus before the redesign. Shinki Bus was founded back in the 1920s

‘Before’ photographs show the original bus, which has green checkered seats and hanging straps over each seat.

The remodelled Sabus will incorporate some of the classic design elements of the bus. There will be hanging straps over the sauna benches and the buttons on the bus that previously alerted the driver when passengers wanted to disembark will activate sprayed water to generate steam.

Sleek wooden panels will line the walls of the bus, reminiscent of the design of a traditional wood-burning sauna.

‘You can enjoy the sauna in a space that makes the best use of the remnants of the route bus,’ the Sabus website reads.

The bus will be divided into two parts – the front of the vehicle will be turned into an office and lounge space, complete with a bench and a desk for visitors to use at their leisure.

A 'before' photograph of the original bus interior, which has green checkered seats and hanging straps over some of the seats

A ‘before’ photograph of the original bus interior, which has green checkered seats and hanging straps over some of the seats

The remodelled Sabus will incorporate some of the classic design elements of the bus

The remodelled Sabus will incorporate some of the classic design elements of the bus

Shinki Bus came up with the concept for Sabus when it found the number of passengers riding on its services had dwindled significantly during the pandemic

Shinki Bus came up with the concept for Sabus when it found the number of passengers riding on its services had dwindled significantly during the pandemic

Shinki Bus, founded back in the 1920s, came up with the concept when it found the number of passengers riding on its services had dwindled significantly during the pandemic.

According to Japan Today, the majority of bus companies in Japan have taken a hit due to a reduction in commuting, a decline in population and general lifestyle changes. Shinki Bus is launching Sabus in a bid to give the city bus a second life, finding a new revenue stream from the mode of transport.

It established a new company, Reverse Co, to run the business, and collaborated with Sauna Ikitai, Japan’s largest ‘sauna search site’, on the project.

The Sabus is scheduled to start service in February 2022, though it’s not yet clear how much it will cost to use or how many people it will accommodate.

Sleek wooden panels will line the walls of the bus, reminiscent of the design of a traditional wood-burning sauna

Sleek wooden panels will line the walls of the bus, reminiscent of the design of a traditional wood-burning sauna

The bus will be divided into two parts – the front of the vehicle will be turned into an office and lounge space, complete with a bench and a desk

The bus will be divided into two parts – the front of the vehicle will be turned into an office and lounge space, complete with a bench and a desk

The buttons on the bus that previously alerted the driver when passengers wanted to disembark will activate sprayed water to generate steam

The buttons on the bus that previously alerted the driver when passengers wanted to disembark will activate sprayed water to generate steam

The Sabus is scheduled to start service in February 2022, though it's not yet clear how much it will cost to use

The Sabus is scheduled to start service in February 2022, though it’s not yet clear how much it will cost to use

According to a statement from the company, Sabus will be delivered to venues ‘with large parking spaces and outdoor facilities’, which suggests the bus will be stationary when the sauna is in use.

River and lake water will be used to fuel the sauna’s steam.

‘Please look forward to Sabus coming to your city,’ the Sabus website adds.

Sabus isn’t the only project in store for Hyogo’s decommissioned buses. The company plans to turn more buses into mobile day-care rooms or shower stations, which could be transported to disaster-struck areas to provide support to those affected.

For more information visit sabus.jp.

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