Author Archives: Skorj

GRAND TOURING: The Ise Peninsula, Part 01

Our destination for this tour was Mie Prefecture, some 250 miles southwest of Tokyo on the far side of Ise-wan (the same wan in Wangan, meaning “bay”). Known for its ancient craft ceramics and as the birthplace of the ninja, … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Shio no Michi, The Salt Road – Part 02

In Part 01 of our trek down Shio no Michi, Japan’s famed Salt Road, we stumbled upon a collection of kei jidosha, the ruins of Iiyama Castle, and traced the path of salt dealers from the era of shogun and … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Shio no Michi, the Salt Road — Part 01

Having not been away in a few weeks, we decided to take a Monday off and spend three days exploring Nagano Prefecture and some of the less traveled valleys near the Northern Alps. Using our usual form of taking the main … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Mobara Twin Circuit

As some of you might know, I own a dark gray Honda S800M Coupe, and it has landed me right in the middle of Tokyo’s S-car scene. When some friends went out for a day of circuit racing, I decided to … Continue reading



Since the opening of the Yamate Tunnel, provided traffic is light of course, traversing Tokyo to join the out-going expressways has become a lot easier. In ten or fifteen minutes, you can join the Joban for a quick run out … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Driving the Chubu Touge, Part 02

In Part 01 of our Chubu grand tour, we escaped Tokyo by expressway northwest into the mountains. Our return trip took us on roads less traveled, over some of Japan’s most famous winding passes known as touge. We had made … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Driving the Chubu Touge, Part 01

With an extended weekend available and being rather tired of Tokyo one tedious week, we decided to explore Chubu. North of Tokyo but with its name meaning “central”, Chubu is the region between Kanto (the greater Tokyo area), and Kansai … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 02

In Part 01 of our Grand Tour through Japan’s Tohoku region we headed north from Tokyo, past tsunami-devastated villages and deep into Aomori Prefecture. Normally on such trips the nostalgics we encounter are the most beloved — Skylines, rear-drive Corollas, Honda … Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 01

For the last year or more, most of our visits to Tohoku have been single minded – helping with the recovery efforts. This trip was a chance to relax, tour the glorious countryside, meet people and, of course, capture some … Continue reading


Grand Touring: The Kii Peninsula via the newly opened Shin-Tomei Expressway

Earlier this year the first section of the Shin-Tomei Expressway opened for traffic, marking a new era for Japan’s highway system. Naturally we went exploring, taking this newest road to one of the oldest inhabited regions of Japan, the Kii Peninsula.


Grand Touring: A Weekend in Nagano Prefecture

Eight-and-a-half feet of reliable snowfall blankets the mountains of Nagano Prefecture each winter, transforming quaint and quiet towns into temporary getaways for Tokyo-ites. When the snows disappear so do the downhill skiers and onsen soakers, but local FJ40 Land Cruisers stay to witness the spring thaw. … Continue reading


Grand Touring: Nostalgic Nissans in Yamanashi Prefecture

In exploring the non-traditional Japan, you quickly learn to identify markers to indicate you are on the right track to discover something old and special — narrow roads lined with closed shutters, anything made of red brick, disconnected power meters, … Continue reading


Grand Touring: Forgotten steel tempts rust in Aichi Prefecture

A few weekends ago, we were again exploring some outlaying areas outside of Nagoya, and in the middle of the rice fields was a small mechanic who had amazed a sizable collection of varied old Japanese cars. As distressing as … Continue reading


2011 Tokyo Motor Show: Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ Unveiled

The Tokyo Motor Show is under way and we were on hand to bring you the first live, in-the-flesh shots of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, as well as initial reports on what it actually feels like to sit … Continue reading


1972 Nissan Sunny Calendar Found in Abandoned Yamanashi-ken House

On the dark-side of Fuji-san, a village with 200-year-old thatched-roof buildings was abandoned in the 1970s. In one of the remote and largely intact houses, hanging from the shredded shoji, in a living room full of bear- and tanuki-tossed futons … Continue reading


Unloved Cars of Tochigi

Location scouting North of Tokyo, we were surprised to pass a yard not filled with the usual rural kei cars — or farming implements — but one filled with an enormous range of nostalgics.


Nostalgic Car Shopping in Yokohama

The first real hot day of summer. I’m looking at a few options in buying a nostalgic car, so we took a quick drive on the Shuto to a reasonably well stocked shop near Yokohama. While I’m interested in one … Continue reading


2010 Tokyo Nostalgic Car Show

The Tokyo Nostalgic Car Show took place at the bizarre inverted ziggurat known as Big Sight convention center last weekend. The annual event isn’t limited to Japanese classics, and this year focused on high end Italian exotics. Ho-hum, right? But like the … Continue reading


The Abandoned Cars of Ageo Bedroom Town

Thirty-five kilometers north of Tokyo is Ageo. A once semi-rural area, its main inhabitants are now mostly daily commuters to Tokyo — the famous Japanese salaryman and the odd OL — trudging off via their packed trains to slave away … Continue reading


NIHON LIFE: The Shuto, Tokyo’s Elevated Expressways

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Expressway — Shuto Kōsoku Dōro (or just the Shuto) — is Tokyo’s answer to handling large volumes of traffic traversing the megalopolis.