I finally got some free time to go check out Tressa Yokohama, a giant Toyota-owned mega-mall in Kohoku, Yokohama. In addition to your typical shopping mall features like a McDonald’s counter and escalators pointing every which way, showrooms representing all six of Toyota’s sales channels – Toyota, Toyopet, Corolla and Netz, plus subsidiaries Daihatsu and Yamaha – inhabit the consumerist wonderland.
From the outside, it resembles the main drag of a typical Japanese suburb. But the land on which Tressa Yokohama was built actually has a rich automotive history. Shige-san of Mooneyes informed me that back in the 60s, this was the site of not only a huge Toyota plant, but one encircled by a high-speed oval test course. The spot was home to Toyota’s young motorsports R&D department, known simply as “Division 7″ and the group responsible for development of the awesome Toyota 7 race car. The die-hard Toyota nut in me got a chill just knowing I had stood on such hallowed soil.
Tressa Yokohama opened last year, adding to the Big T’s existing super showroom experiences Megaweb and Amlux, both in Tokyo. (By the way, we hear Megaweb is closing down at the end of the month so I’ll have to make it out there one last time!)
Perhaps it’s telling of Toyota’s current direction that the scene of such legend was plowed over for a hall of dealers that don’t carry a single sports car. It’s all just a parade of minivans, kei cars and two-box cars.
But all is not lost. As you can see from this poster, the courtyard area is sometimes used to introduce mall-goers to Toyota’s headier days with, for instance, a display of 2000GTs. The day I was there a fleet of new Crowns was being shown.
And when was the last time you saw a mall with a one-stop car accessory shop built into it? JMS is just like Autobacs and Yellow Hat, a store where you can buy everything from Cusco coilovers to air freshners to a set of Volk Racing rims to a bangin’ new Alpine deck. And in case you were wondering, JMS stands for Joyful Motoring Shop.
For those of you who can’t go whole hog on accessories for your actual car, there’s always the Tamiya Plamodel Factory store.
Everything in the Tamiya catalog is available here, from R/C cars to diecast battleships to plastic model kits.
You can even watch as a Tamiya model builder creates his own work of art in 1:24 scale. Fun job!
Next week will be Tressa Yokohama’s one year anniversary celebration, but I won’t be in Japan any more. It’s was nice to see, though, if only to collect a bunch of JDM car brochures all in one spot. Still, I’d like to think that if you listen real hard late at night, you can still hear the ghosts of Toyota’s youthful exuberance roaring around where the food court now stands.
If you’d like to visit, just hike on down to Shin-Yokohama station. From there it gets a bit tricky because you have to take a bus, but AFV Modeler’s site has excellent English directions.