Nagoya has two outstanding museums - the Tokugawa Art Museum and the Toyota Automobile Museum. The first displays the riches of the Tokugawa shogunate and its founder, local boy, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Toyota Automobile Museum showcases the area's new wealth and prestige based on the huge production of cars by local manufacturer Toyota Corp.
Drunken salarymen will tell you the success of Toyota is based on the same "Mikawa spirit" that produced the long rule of the Tokugawa. Be that as it may, if you have time, visit the Toyota Automobile Museum - it's a superb tribute to the automobile and surely one of the best museums of its type in the world.
Situated in Nagakute, to the east of central Nagoya, the Toyota Automobile Museum has exhibits of European and American cars on its second floor and Japanese cars on the third floor. The displays are carefully themed with sections dedicated to historic automobiles, luxury cars and mass production models. The Japanese section has high performance sports cars, as well as general Japanese cars from 1930 onwards.
The cars are beautifully maintained and lit and the buildings are spacious as you stroll the exhibits.
In addition to the main museum, there is a fascinationg annex, which contains over 2,000 "cultural goods" detailing the social history of Japan from around the beginnings of the 20th century to the 1970s: album covers, household items (TVs, comics, fridges, cameras, clothes) as well as more cars, motorbikes and other vehicles.
Toyota Automobile Museum opened in 1989 and has a growing collection of around 120 cars. The annex opened in 1999. A highly recommended museum.
Toyota Automobile Museum
Nagakute Town, Aichi Prefecture
Tel: 0561 63 5151
Hours: 9.30am-5pm (last admission 4.30pm); closed Monday
Admission: adults 1000 yen, high school students 600 yen, elementary students 400 yen.
Toyota Automobile Museum Access
From Nagoya Station take the Higashiyama Subway Line (yellow) to Fujigaoka, then transfer to the Linimo (Tobu Kyuryo Line) and get off at Geidai Dori Station. Turn left out of the station and you will see the museum ahead of you, a five minute walk. Alternatively there are buses from Fujigaoka.
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