The city of Shibukawa, Gunma is promoting itself as the home town of Initial D protagonist Takumi Fujiwara. The real-life town is where all the action of the series began, and even now, 27 years after its debut, fans of the manga are still traveling there. Now, the city is adding taxis, inspired by the cars of Takumi and Keisuke Takahashi, that visitors can hail.
Before you get excited, the answer is no. The taxis are not Toyota AE86s or Mazda RX-7s. They’re merely inspired by them, finished in the Hachiroku’s panda two-tone and the FD’s yellow Red Suns livery. In fact, if you look at the photo on Tokyo Shimbun, the AE86-inspired taxi isn’t even a Toyota Crown; it’s a Nissan Cedric.
In total there will be three taxis roaming about Shibukawa. The third is a Prius featuring the portraits of several Initial D characters. If your ride costs more than ¥1,000 ($7.30 USD), you can get a commemorative card to remember the occasion.
This isn’t the first time the city of Shibukawa has used the allure of Initial D to draw tourists. In 2018, the city placed manhole covers depicting scenes from the manga around town.
While your hopes of drifting though Shibukawa in a borrowed Sprinter Trueno no longer exists, hard core fans might still find the trip worthwhile. And if the taxi ride is too short, Shibukawa is also known for its many onsen. When asked whether the taxis will give passengers a taste of touge battles, a representative said, “We will try to drive safely without drifting.”