QotW: What’s one thing a JNCer must do in Japan?

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So we’re “stuck” in Japan this week in the aftermath of the Tokyo Motor Show. Boo hoo, poor us. Tell us where to go and we’ll shoot some pictures.

What’s the one thing a JNCer must do in Japan?

If you’re going to Japan for the first time, may we suggest going at the end of January? The New Year Meeting is a great opportunity to see all kinds of Nihon steel in one place. Plus its location puts you right into the heart of Odaiba, the man-made island in Tokyo Bay that is home to Toyota’s Megaweb and History Garage showrooms, and just a few subway stops from the biggest Super Autobacs in Tokyo. Trust us, it’s worth the trip.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the wildest Japanese concept car?” 

1972 Toyota EX-7

This week’s winner is gaijinshogun, with his pick of the wedge-shaped Toyota EX-7, striking just the right tone of inspiration and humor befitting of a nutso concept car.

Hands down, the 1970 Toyota EX-7, complete with the V8 from the Toyota 7 race car. This car was the epitome of Toyota’s EX concept series, at a time where the Japanese automakers were emerging into the international marketplace. Toyota dedicated a tremendous amount of resources into this car, like the 2000GT, to let the world know that they were a leading world class auto manufacturer. It was even featured in U.S. auto ads to push the Toyota line.

http://www.cardesignnews.com/site/home/new_cars/display/store4/item270276/

Most of all…it was part of the early Tomica Series!

Omedetou, Your comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels x JNC Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!

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35 Responses to QotW: What’s one thing a JNCer must do in Japan?

  1. Tony said:

    Visit the used car/classic car dealers… If for nothing more than a glance at cars that are all but gone in the US or not available to us at all… I’d also take a look at their version of the “pro-touring” scene… I think Rockyauto is the JNC legend and I would love to get a peek at what those guys are working on!! One last suggestion “beware” street racing!! I know I’m a jerk for the suggestion but GOD that would make for some cool shots!

  2. j3wman said:

    Visit the Daikoku Futo Parking Area, at one point in their life every car enthusiast must make a pilgrimage there. Because life isnt complete until you travel 9000 miles to stand in a parking lot with some dudes you dont know.

  3. Nigel said:

    Something I have always wanted to see, the Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway.
    Then find a few Hobby shops for some 1/24 greatness. Old (Aoshima or Nichimo) kits.

  4. Dave said:

    Daikoku Futo has been on my list of life-long must-do’s for a while. I know it’s a bit cliché and kind of a *fanboi* thing, but I must do it. Every time I browse photos of meets there, my jaw drops. The cars are fun, but the setting is just as fun. It’s so Japanese! I also second used/old car dealers. I even have a few specific ones picked out: Flyrat, People Collection Caryard, JonFlat, and Classic Car Nagoya. I also used to really want to go to new car dealers to pick up brochures, but there aren’t nearly as many new cars now that I drool over as there were a decade ago. I’d still do it, though. However, the ONE thing that I absolutely must do next time I’m in Japan–and I’m a bit ashamed to admit this–is to raid hobby stores. Tamiya, Fujimi, Hasegawa, Aoshima, and other defunt model makers’ products are so cheap in Japan. Hard-to-find and discontinued kits are also easier to find there. There’s also the Ebbro and Tomica die cast cars. Childish? Yes.

    • Stuart said:

      ^this.

      For some reason Japan brings out the kid in me, plus die cast/plastic models are entire cars you can bring back with you in your luggage :)

      If you’re a Toyota fan, Megaweb is also worth the trip – there’s a lot of showroom type stuff, but also a short driving course where you can take a short drive in a selection of Toyotas if you possess an international licence (last time I was there someone was driving a century and a 2000GT amongst other things, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t let just anyone drive one of those… maybe go along as a passenger) as well as the Toyota museum with showroom quality models dating back to the company’s origins. There’s also a store, where you can buy the all-important, aforementioned model cars :) Best thing is it’s available all year round, so there’s no excuse not to go.

      Stu

  5. Nissan’s Zama collection?

  6. Kevin Barker said:

    Just go to the ropps, hang out on roppongi doori and watch all the GTRs roll by…can’t do that in ‘Murica!

  7. MOCMAN said:

    Well I would definitely go to the Mooneyes Yokohama show on 12/1. But before that I would be hanging out at the Moon Café in Honmoku eating a 5-5-1 Moon Tower Burger. I’d be picking up some smooth vibes and loving the local car culture that is just the right mix of Onmyōdō!

  8. r100guy said:

    If you are a Mazdafarian you, of course, take the first left and head down the island to Hiroshima. The Mazda Museum and Mazda main headquarters are a in the main complex. Book ahead for the tour so an english speaking guide will be available. A small tip for the guide is customary (college students learning english). Then venture across Hiroshima Bay on to the island of Miyajima where “old Japan” is recreated. Hike up to the summit to see the beautiful views of the “inland sea” of Japan. Expect to see deer and sometimes monkeys roaming the island. If heading to Hiroshima, use Osaka as your gateway city as it is closer to Hiroshima than Tokyo. Don’t forget your “Japan rail” pass which must be purchased before you arrive in the country, totally worth it! January is very cold in Japan, it snows in Hiroshima, so dress accordingly. Have fun!

  9. Jonas said:

    Go to the Toyota museum in Toyota, Aichi and find the Toyota 7. Go around to the back and enjoy the view because it is hiding nothing from you, from the exhaust dumped straight out of the turbos jutting out either side of the transaxle to tires wide enough to make you weep and a wing that doubles as a hammock for the driver, and what it reveals is glorious.

    • Nik said:

      I did this while in Japan. I used the photo I took as my desktop for a year or so. So much Turbo! The toyota museum was a great stop. I was fortunate that my trip to Japan involved going to the major turbine manufactures, as part of a business trip. While at the Mitsubishi ship yard in Nagasaki I went on a tour of their museum, which is not open to the public. They had a lot of interesting history about the industrialization of Japan. Also while in Nagasaki I visited Glover Garden. This was a very interesting museum, after the bombing the remaining Victorian houses that belonged to the foreign industrialists, mostly British, were moved into a walkable garden. You can learn all about the people and trade that lead Japan out of the feudal era all in one place. The houses were moved to make way for the rebuilding of the city. I’d have to say from a history stand point Nagasaki was a wonderful city to visit.

      Please not the Mitsubishi I visited was not the car company, but the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

  10. Aaron said:

    Rent a nostalgic and go hit a touge…

    It’s that simple.

  11. boyee said:

    The one thing that a JNCer must do in Japan is to visit as many museums with historic cars as a pilgrimage to pay homage to the culture (some might even call it a religion) we all share. We would not have whatever JNC we love without the foundation of generations of Japanese cars and things that were made before that. You might not always find cars wherever you go, such as Suzuki starting out as a sewing machine company, but it is fascinating to see how these companies developed into big car manufacturers today. I would love to check out the Mazda Museum, Honda Collection Hall, Toyota Automobile Museum, Nissan Galleries, and Mega Web’s History Garage to name the big ones. Then the special collection galleries out in the boonies are the ones real diehard JNCers must take a great adventure to, including: The Yokota Collection, Nagoya Collection Museum, and the Prince and Skyline Museum. There are so many more museums and many with English version websites with visitor’s information with just a quick search online! I am the type of person to see and read every word, basically absorb as much nostalgia as possible; especially when it has some kind of connection to automobiles. So expect to stay for a good two or three weeks to explore just a few, but good handful of Japan’s car heritage. And if I were to time it right, I would go during the time the Tokyo Auto Salon is happening as well to see the plethora of what is going on currently with the Japanese car scene!

  12. KPGC10-001218 said:

    What you *must* do is try to meet and converse with ( Japanese ) kindred spirits. Have a piece of paper ( or a table cloth ) and a pencil handy if you don’t speak Japanese. Old cars come alive through their owners. You just might learn as much about yourself as anything else, and you might just make a friend for life…

  13. redma61 said:

    not the most crazy must do thing but have you guys been to rocky auto in okazaki?

  14. IMO said:

    Visit Super Autobachs, or Up Garage for junk to bring/ send back.

  15. kyle allen said:

    Import a cheap rusty hako and save it from the salty air.

  16. bert said:

    Things to do in Japan 1. Land in Tokyo 2. Eat food 3. Catch a Sumo match
    4. Feeling cocky, walk up to Yakuza boss at Sumo match, slap him in the face
    5. Run like a soldier on Iwo Jima!
    6. Hop in Smokey Nagata’s Celica 2000GT when he suddenly shows up to save you
    7. Yell something that sounds Japanese as you and Smokey fly down the Wangan, running from those too slow cops you always here about.
    8. Arrive at Top Secret, see awesome cars, eat more food with Smokey (watch out for cigarette butts)
    9. Smokey’s handed you his keys, wave politely as you race off towards the mountains to find those famous touge’s!
    10. Wake up!

  17. Tom Westmacott said:

    so, after leaving the motor show, head down to Exciting Car Rental in Chiba and hire their panda AE86 Corolla for a couple of days. Bring it back to Odaiba along the Wangan. Get an early night, then wake up at 5am (due to jetlag). Hop in the hachiroku and race through the darkened urban expressways of inner Tokyo while they’re at their quietest, before heading out along the Kan-Etsu towards Gunma for a couple of hours.

    Arriving around 8am, you can make a “tofu delivery run” up the famous pass, reaching your hotel on the shores of Lake Akina (Haruna) for breakfast. During the day, take a hike in the beautiful volcanic mountains around the lake, take one of the ‘swan boats’ out, and pose for photos with the iconic AE86 by the lake. At the end of a long day, relax with a hot bath in your hotel, before waking up early the following morning for a dawn run on some of the other touge around the area, such as Mt Akagi.

    This plan not only gives you a chance to walk into the world of Initial D for a day, but it also takes you out of the concrete jungle to start enjoying the natural beauty and mountains of Japan, and some of the tourist attractions that draw Japanese people from around the country, all without travelling too far out of Tokyo.

    • Trevor said:

      That sounds like heaven. I had no idea that there was a place to rent an ae86. What you described would be my dream vacation.

      • Tom Westmacott said:

        If you google “omoshiro rentacar”, it’s the first hit. Y16,300 (USD$160) for two days’ hire of the AE86, you can also pick an S13, S15, FD, R34, or a load of other great bubble-era classics.

        I’ve not used them, but I know another British guy did without problems – just remember your international drivers permit, book ahead, and you should be golden.

    • dankan said:

      I would strongly advocate travelling as far out of Tokyo as possible. In fact, not entering it to start with is a strong plus…

  18. dankan said:

    Don’t go to a carshow. Don’t visit a museum. Cars are for driving, so drive. It doesn’t matter what. Yes, a fun car helps, but really, just get your hands on anything, then plan a route that goes somewhere small. Ideally over a day away. Try to book somewhere to stay. Try to write down a few Kanji to recognize on the way so you don’t get lost. Get lost anyway. Makes friends while trying to get help. Only eat in local noodleshops/restaurants. Once at your location, plan a different way back. Repeat process.

    It’s about the experience, and you’ll have more fun doing stuff and meeting real Japanese people than looking at what someone else did.

  19. Dimas said:

    Thing’s need to do for a Japanese Sport’s Nostalgic and Modern alike i think, is to once in our life to hit the Wangan sen and kanjo sen at midnight.

    Also i think if available for rent, why not rent the car’s s’well an s30 z hence would make you feel like akio with the devil Z or the godzila san ni, san san, san yon gt-r or even hako for that matter.

    Man it’s always been my wildest dream to have a real life run in Wangan, the beautiful midnight scenery of tokyo bay area, the rainbow bridge, the traffic, the smooth straight road, the speed, the crazy car guys, the bosozuku’s and maybe some hot cute babe’s (if we’re lucky) to meet at the parking area. You guys should do this ^^

  20. Baskingshark said:

    Seek out a Toyota 2000GT and pay your respects to it.

  21. Jun said:

    Find secondhand wheels at a bargain and check them in as luggage on your return flight home. I do it every time! ;)

  22. Kuroneko said:

    Meet a few kyusha otaku on Saturday for a bike ride to a classic car fest, drop off in Shibuya for a quiet cafe lunch, then grab the Hachi for a wagan run down to Daikoku Futo at night…

  23. 47hako said:

    From a JNC’er point of view, if you can plan ahead, I would highly recommend the annual New Year Meeting held in Odaiba, just across from main Tokyo and also on the way to Daikoku Futo. Classics galore, plus tons of JNC swap meet stuff out for you to pick and choose from and bargain for! Once the show is over you can check out the Toyota Mega Web and see all their latest and greatest innovation and their Historical Museum. In the same area you can check out Venus Fort which is their version of The Forum Shops at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas. Have a lunch buffet overlooking the bay and Rainbow Bridge at Decks. Check out the old school era Japan mall in side Decks and then finally head down the street to one of the largest Super Autobacs I’ve ever been to.

    Even without the New Year Meeting the area is a great place to check out modern day Japan… I’ve gone so many times and there is so much to do! http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3008.html

  24. Bart said:

    Wherever your marque alignment is, you are bound to find a place to geek out on it. That is what you should do, as well as just wander the streets and take photos of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Then go home and look at your pictures and cry about the fact that Japan gets all the cool stuff, and we are stuck with all the boring stuff.

  25. ags130 said:

    Tsukuba.

  26. reject7 said:

    The honda z600.

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