Nagasaki Electric Tramway Co.’s renovated Minato tram makes its first journey across Nagasaki on April 10. (Kentaro Yamano)

NAGASAKI--Sixty is retirement age for most people, but not Nagasaki Electric Tramway Co.’s Minato tram. It got a new lease of life after the milestone, and its “lucky cat” should see that good fortune continue.

With Nagasaki’s lucky kink-tailed feline painted on its front, the vehicle, designed by famed industrial designer Eiji Mitooka, rolled back into action after a major renovation on April 10.

“It turned out to be a lovely train just like a tin toy,” said Mitooka, who also designed the Kyushu Railway Co.'s luxury sleeper train Nanatsuboshi (Seven Stars) and the Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train, at the street car’s departure ceremony.

“We painstakingly renovated the 60-year-old vehicle, devoting a great deal of time and care. It ended up being a new tram with a nostalgic feel.”

Sprinkled with designs inspired by Nagasaki, a cultural crossroads port city, the Minato is the 21st-century version of a model produced in 1954.

The tram’s exterior is painted mainly in metallic blue, to reflect Nagasaki's status as a port city, with dashes of gold for extra spice.

It features Nagasaki’s famed kink-tailed cats, which can be seen roaming and relaxing on the city’s streets.

The tram’s interior features an abundance of wood, filling it with atmosphere and a sense of warmth and nostalgia.

Stained glass, more commonly seen in churches, is fitted in the windows around the tram’s doors, and the soft light of marine lamps illuminates the vehicle's interior.

Aiming to enhance its appeal, Nagasaki officials proposed the idea of the company asking Mitooka to design the tram.

The renovation costs totaled 20 million yen ($180,550), with the city contributing half.

The Minato runs as a standard Nagasaki tram, with journeys costing the usual fare of 120 yen for adults. It can also be chartered, with rates starting at 8,640 yen.

For more information on the tram operation, visit the company’s website at (