The residents of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, might soon be driven to thinking they are in the heart of central London.

The coastal city will take possession of a distinctive red double-decker Routemaster bus that used to travel the streets of London and is considered a design icon.

The Routemaster will be used to transport tourists around the city, which already has strong associations with Britain as the home of Japan's oldest surviving consulate, which was built for Britain in 1906 and has just celebrated its centenary.

The buses -- which have an open platform at the rear to allow people to jump on and off, and are staffed with a conductor -- were withdrawn from service in London in November due to their age, cost and accessibility.