Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology @ Nagoya, Japan

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As part of my running around Japan tour, I wanted to visit the Toyota Car Museum in Nagoya. I really enjoyed the city of Nagoya; it was “crowded” but not as much as Tokyo & there were more cars. Unfortunately, that also meant A LOT more walking to get to where I wanted to go since there were less train station drop-off/pick-up locations. I stayed at a hotel next to the closest JR station and wandered about town. The full selection of pictures are available at the end of the post.

There are buses - where do they go? I have no idea. Guess I'm walking to my destination on foot.
There are buses – where do they go? I have no idea. Guess I’m walking to my destination on foot.

Lots and lots of bicycles. Most of which are NOT locked - very interesting.
Lots and lots of bicycles. Most of which are NOT locked – very interesting.

For those of you wishing to visit the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in person, put this address into Google Maps:

Japan, Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya, Nishi Ward, 4-1-35

A non Google map, for those trying to navigate to the Toyota Museum.
A non Google map, for those trying to navigate to the Toyota Museum.

This will get you on the proper side of the street. If you type in “Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology” into Google Maps and get directions, you may end up at the back of the building (fenced off) like I did!

The BACK of the Toyota Museum. Note that this was taken over a fence - there was no way to enter from here - thanks Google :(
The BACK of the Toyota Museum. Note that this was taken over a fence; there was no way to enter from here – thanks Google 🙁

Once some nice Japanese people helped me find the front of the building, I was on my way to learning about Toyota’s history! At first, I thought I walked into the wrong museum because all of the models on display were large textile machines. Then I quickly realized that this was where Toyota got their start.

Why spinning textiles? Because pre-race car era!
Why textiles? Because pre-race car era!

The entire museum had both Japanese and English text, so I was able to read up on a lot of Toyota’s history. There were also several employees demonstrating different textile machines work – NEATO!

After wandering a bit more, I finally reached the first car section. Old school Toyota vehicles were super cool looking. I thought having clay (or whatever they were) models showing the manual process of building cars gave me a better appreciation of how tedious and meticulous Toyota’s work was.

I wonder how much it would cost to build one of these babies today.
I wonder how much it would cost to build one of these babies today.

I thought it wouldn’t get much cooler than this; then I found my way into the main/modern portion of the Toyota Museum. It was like a giant Toys-R-Us for car enthusiasts (except you couldn’t buy what was on display).

Giant warehouse of Toyota cars, engines, and car building machines.
Giant warehouse of Toyota cars, engines, and car building machines.

There were several automated displays that showed the inner workings of engines, drivetrains, and suspensions. It was super cool to just press the button and see all the parts of the car that you don’t see when you drive, working and moving. This was significantly more enjoyable than watching a 3d animation on a screen.

This was one of the automated displays. Your press a button, and it demonstrates how the Active 4WS system works during low-speed turning, high-speed turning, and when it is hit by cross-winds while in motion. As you can imagine, I pressed the buttons many times - it was fun to watch!
This was one of the automated displays. Your press a button, and it demonstrates how the Active 4WS system works during low-speed turning, high-speed turning, and when it is hit by cross-winds while in motion. As you can imagine, I pressed the buttons many times – it was fun to watch!

A lot of their engines were also on display. I had no idea Toyota made so many different engines. They were all super clean & some were also automated so you could see the pistons go up & down, crankshaft spin, etc.

Once I went downstairs, there were cool cars everywhere. Some of my favorites are below. The whole selection available during my visit are in the gallery – along w/ pictures of the specs for each car (who needs wiki when you have metal spec sheets).

1990 Toyota Sera. Look at those doors! I would have totally bought this if it made it to America.
1990 Toyota Sera. Look at those doors! I would have totally bought this if it made it to America.

1973 Toyota Corona.
1973 Toyota Corona.

1970 Toyota Celica.
1970 Toyota Celica.

1935 Toyoda Truck - G1 Model. This would make a sweet track support vehicle.
1935 Toyoda Truck – G1 Model. This would make a sweet track support vehicle.

There were also a few automated machines showing how cars were welded by robots (minus the actual welding, of course).

I need one of these in my garage.
I need one of these in my garage.

And there’s something for actual kids, too! At one corner of the self-guided tour kids can build their own scale model car – complete with custom paint job and everything. You can also make your own commemorative coin w/ the supplied metal blanks (no paying $1+ like American theme parks).

For Elementary and Junior High School Students only? What about college students? COME ON! :'(
For Elementary and Junior High School Students only? What about college students? COME ON! :'(

Ooo, fancy parts!
Ooo, fancy parts!

Parent/child bonding time - awesome.
Parent/child bonding time – awesome.

The gift shop also had funky collectibles.

Car flavored curry? kekeke.
Car flavored curry? kekeke.

After my museum visit, I decided to “get lost” in Nagoya and just started roaming in the general direction back to the hotel but through different streets. I got hungry and decided to drop into a random noodle shop. There was very little English text on the walls, menus, and the waiter spoke very little English as well. I think the less English restaurants have, the better food tastes. The food was definitely excellent.

Found a random noodle shop. No English whatsoever - it's gotta be legit.
Found a random noodle shop. No English at all – it’s gotta be legit.

Ordered their special. It was DELICIOUS (and affordable - about $8-10).
Ordered their special. It was DELICIOUS (and affordable – about $8-10).

I walked through another random tunnel that had more bikes, many of which were also not locked. I probably could have covered a lot more ground.

More bicycles.
More bicycles.

He's also a boss in Japan.
He’s also a boss in Japan.

I didn’t get to see this rotating garage operate, but the workers were amused that I was taking a picture of them and the garage, haha.

Rotating car garage! Neat!
Rotating car garage! Neat!

There are many things to do in Nagoya. I highly recommend dropping by the museum. I’m definitely coming back to that museum again next time I’m back and spend more time in the textiles section. Nagoya Park is also a very cool destination (I spent some time there before I dropped by the museum, but that’s a story for another time). I also came during the Sakura festival weekend, which was super fun (again, a story for another post).

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