QotW: What would you do with 24 hours in Japan?


For some reason your flight to O’Hare was diverted to Tokyo instead. You have one day see the one shop, buy the one part, or drive the one car you’ve always dreamed of before you have to fly back across the Pacific.

What would you do with 24 hours in Japan?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What was the last great golden era Japanese car?” 

bow wp00 s800 s2000

Many great comments were offered this week, including KiKiIchiBan‘s about the JZX100, Tom Westmacott‘s regarding the NSX, and emuman‘s about the Eunos Cosmo, but the most well argued comment this week came from ahja:

The last car to emerge from those halcyon days of the 1990s, to reflect the spirit of the time of Japanese manufacturers doing their best to make the best driving and performing car that they could in the class they were competing in, holding back none of their engineering prowess, was…. the S2000. It was different enough from the other attractive rwd sports coupes (by being a convertible, and on a whole tier above the Miata) that it was able to hang on for about a decade after all of its ideological rivals and contemporaries perished. Actually, while the design surfaced in the mid-90s, when MR2, RX7, Supra, 3000GT, etc. were all still on sale, they were all discontinued by the time the S2000 actually reached the market.

Other cars, like the NB Miata, S15, or R34 were warmed over versions of existing chassis and engines. The S2000 was the last of the “golden era” cars to actually be born from scratch. I also wouldn’t consider the 350Z or ZZW30 to be “golden era” cars, because they were dialed back from what their predecessors were, and as such, lacked that essential 1990s Japanese trait of being on the bleeding edge.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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38 Responses to QotW: What would you do with 24 hours in Japan?

  1. Sedanlover says:

    Simple. Find the nearest Up Garage and blow the credit card on as many parts for my recently acquired AE86. Woot woot!

    • Sedanlover says:

      Actually… wait. Argh! Damn you JNC for putting up such a mind bending question.
      Okay. How much time do we get? 24 hours. [sigh]. not enough time… I’d love to ride the bullet train and also go to Ebisu to watch/participate in a grass roots drift event. Oh man. Wait… Maybe I could meet up with Skorj and ride shotgun in his Honda, while we take photos of old temples. Dammit. Running out of time. Also want to visit the Toyota Mega Web too…

  2. Tj. says:

    My ideal 24hrs is fairly simple in theory but probably not so much in practice.

    I’d simply wander on out towards Ebisu, try to make friends with one of the local amateur drift crews and try and sweet talk my way into the driver’s seat of whatever spare car they have laying about. Something over the 25 year old mark would be nice but let’s be honest, if I made it that far on my charms alone I’d already be pushing my luck.

    Like I said, easy enough in theory….

  3. Nigel says:

    Get to three “older” hobby shops. Then visit a shop like Star Road or Mizuno Works !!

  4. Nakazoto says:

    Get a certain staff member to take you for a blast in his S800!

  5. Robin says:

    So I thought I give this to my GF to answer as we share the same interests when it comes to Japan.
    Below is her reply, i tricked her as she is shy to reply on a blog so here it is:

    ” I tried formulating a story.. 24 hours is JUST NOT ENOUGH! :'(

    Japan has so much to offer regular tourists and then for the obsessed (like me) there is no way I could trim down all the things I’ve dreamed of seeing and doing and experiencing to just one day..

    If I was really forced to peg it to just 24 hours though, I would most certainly spend it at a track.. Which one.. Tsukuba? Ebisu? Suzuka? Too many decisions to make on a Monday.. :'(

    After track closes I’d love to experience all those thrills on the streets.. Mountain passes or highways.. Garages or parking lots.. Either way I’m happy..

    There’ll definitely be NO time for sleep and very little time to waste eating!”

    And I agree with her fully.

    • Michael says:

      Wouldn’t that depend entirely on the day(or is this an any given day scenario?), because I would imagine a track could be a fairly boring and empty place during the week.

  6. Ryan Senensky says:

    I’d make up some fictitious humanitarian disaster happened and I’d try to claim asylum in Japan.

  7. Jova says:

    With enough money i go to find some pars for my te72, then buy some videogames (i love japanese videogames), and buy a JNC like an old toyota maybe a Sprinter or Celica

  8. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    1. Make sure I am there on Sunday because that’s when the cars come out.
    2. The level of exotic is proportional from Ginza 4 Chome (the center of Ginza) but before noon because they close the street off in the afternoon.
    3. Pick the best meet from other JNC readers & then immerse myself in one good meet instead of running around trying to cover too much.
    4. Go to Tsukiji (Sushi Zanmai) for sushi breakfast (lunch US body time).
    5. Go to CC Curry (chain) for rice curry lunch.
    6. Go to Tonkatsu Wako (chain) for Pork Cutlets dinner ( all you can eat cabbage, Miso soup & rice).
    7. Hope your plane breaks down for another day in Tokyo.
    8. Repeat, except go to parts stores on Monday.

  9. Dankan says:

    The only choice is a road trip! Starting from my in-laws place, I’d hit some togues and the sea-shore for a drive round some of my favourite haunts. I’d start with an early morning drive to Sennyo-ji temple and the Rai shrine to get my spirit in tune with the universe before stopping off at the Shiraito waterfall for some fresh soba and ramune for lunch. After repeating my previous feat of falling on my ass next to the waterfall (leading to a ban on visitors climbing the rocks), I’d hope back in the car and enjoying a drive through the mountains to the shore, where I’d go for a drive along te coast and take in the sea breeze before having to make a bit of an urban slog to the ramen shop of a family friend for some proper tonkotsu ramen for dinner. Then home for an early bed as the jet-lag would probably be hitting my hard by that point.

    I’d need something small and quick, no bigger than an 86 or a Miata. The S660, or a Beat or an old S800 could also be great, and I suppose at a pinch an old S30 Fairlady Z would do nicely.


  10. Banpei says:

    Since 24 hours isn’t enough to do anything satisfactory anyway I’d probably book a flight to Fukuoka city and try to meet my friend Daniel ‘O Grady (WasabiCars) in person and while drinking whiskey talk about cars for a few hours before returning to Tokyo to catch that bloody plane.

  11. Lupus says:

    I would head staight to Dakikoku Futo PA. Evean if there would be no 300kmh+ machines i just want to feel that location. And if i would find some people with fast cars, i would beg them on my knees to be taken for a Wangan run. Because getting keys to a low altitude bullet from some stranger is something that happens only in F&F Tokyo Drift 😉
    Driving thru Rainbow Bridge, Yokohama Bay Brigde, Haneda Tunnel, seeing the sun above the Aqua Line… These are the things i would want to do. And if i get to Japan some day, these will be the first things i will try to do.

  12. Ant says:

    I actually have to make this decision fairly soon as I’m lucky enough to be heading to Japan for the Tokyo motor show.

    My intention is to scan book and magazine shops for every bit of Eunos Roadster-related content I can get my hands on. That, and keeping my phone at hand to snap images of all the cars I never get to see in the UK.

  13. Scotty G says:

    I would visit as many factory car museums as possible, starting with the new Subaru facility. Most definitely not an exciting or well-detailed and thoughtful answer like the others are, but..

  14. George says:

    I had 10 days in Tokyo and that was barely enough to scratch the surface of what it had to offer.

    The first night was the best night. Expat friend helped push me and other friends through the 36hr barrier to get adjusted to Tokyo Time. Spent the night and deep into the a.m. wandering Shinjuku into Golden Gai, Kabukicho, Shibuya, and Ginza. Its total sensory overload. And I’d be hard pressed to only do 24 hours there.

  15. Ash says:

    Head over to Kanto to catch a Pidgey

  16. Michael says:

    It’d be great to hire something small and new that’ll never be sold outside of Japan, like the S660. Go for a very early morning drive out to Mt Fuji and hope the sky was clear for a viewing of Fuji-san from one of the 5 lakes, and then travel back towards Tokyo to do some local sight seeing and toy/magazine shopping in either Harajuku or Shibuya after a quick stop at Mr Donut for a snack and iced coffee. Grab some lunch, maybe Ramen or Tonkatsu and then hop on a bullet and head up to Nagano, jump on a bus and go to the snow monkey’s and enjoy some out of city wilderness and fresh air. Bullet back to Tokyo, get back in my S660 and head over the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba for Premium Kaio Sushi Train just to re-experience the novelty of it and enjoy the range of food on offer(not the best sushi place by far, but worth going to when you don’t have the time to find another). After that I’d head to Tatsumi PA and hope for a decent gathering and go wherever the groups took me. Then finally up the Sky Tree(which probably wouldn’t actually be open at this time) to watch the sunrise before getting on that delayed plane.

  17. Hashiriya86 says:

    What to do with 24 hours in Japan? I’ll probably throw the top down and go explore the mountain this weekend.

  18. Sideglide says:

    I suggest hitting a few of the “sport” rental shops to get some fun J-tin to drive around. Run up to Saitama to check out some of the old-school garages, hit Odaiba at night and ride the Rainbow Bridge. Later, Daikokufudo and link up with some boardies.

  19. mrbill says:

    I would venture northwest of Tokyo toward Mt. Haruna and seek out the legendary tofu delivery driver. We would instantly hit it off since I remind him of his father, so when I suggest we hit the Wangan that night he’s up for it. On the way we would find seven magical orbs numbered by the stars they contain, granting us a single wish. My new friend has all he wants in life so he gladly gives me the wish. I use the wish to procure a giant robotic mobile suit made of Gundanium with which I could fly home whenever I wanted, fully loaded with trick JDM parts for all the Nissans in my family.
    Storing all this nearby, my pal and I enjoy a night on the Wangan fully of fierce battles with S30s, Porsche 911s, and all the bosses from Tokyo Extreme Racer 2.
    Glorious, just glorious…

  20. adam campbell says:

    I’d buy an old beater JNC, preferably (Mitsubishi) 4WD or at least AWD but anything quick and dirty would do. Give it a quick look over and head out on a road trip extending through Japan’s rural backroads in Hokkaido. I’ll plan the route and let the adventure take over the details from there.
    Land in Wakkanai, buy car, drive to Sapporo, get food and coffee, drive to Eniwa, drive to Kushiro, drive to Kitami (More food more coffee), to Mount Teshio, to Monbetsu (dinner and more coffee) and back to Wakkanai along the coast. It’s an 18 hour drive but hey you said i get 24 hours to make it back to my airport so that gives me plenty of time to see the sights assuming my 25+ year old car holds up.

  21. Rob Sayers says:

    If I wanted to do something relevant to JNCs, I would head to Odaiba and visit the Toyota History Garage. It’s in a shopping mall, so you could visit the History Garage, The Toyota Mega Web, eat, pick up souvenirs, and get back to the airport in time to make it a worth while 24 hour trip.

  22. ya_boy_yeti says:

    Welp first id get a ef civic sir and tear up that highway loop Kanjo in Osaka. Hang out with “temple racing” and others. Drink with local racers because why not. Id really want to go to Hokkaido to check out Up’s Garage, but thats hella far, and cold. Fuck it Id talk to a dealer to import a 1975 Kenmeri Skyline 4 door to the US. Never been to Japan, but i made plans to go on 2018 (gotta get that money raised suun!!) (plus tickets when early are like 900+)

  23. cesariojpn says:

    Go to one of those Maid Cafes. They always seem to make new twists on them.

  24. November says:

    Take a fast train to Nagoya. Visit Toyota museum. It will be not enough time, but you have to see it.

  25. fc3s guy says:

    thats not enough, i even cant imagine being there for only 24 hours, thats just teasing, but anyway, the first stop would be in hiroshima in mazda factory museum and from there to ebisu i guess

  26. ake bono says:

    I will go see the owner of the Nissan 2000 GT tomorrow. If he keeps his promise…, very sketchy on the phone!

  27. HotWheelsAndFriedChicken ! says:

    Really, really, really late here. 24 hrs it’s even close to enough to do anything super awesome. I’d go to the nearest scrap yard and see if I can pull out something cool like a CVCC or a wrecked 4-door skyline (not expecting gtrs or anything cuz that’s just unrealistic.) Then load up on parts I cant get in the US. If theres time I’d go to a car museum and look at some stuff that you cant see on the road.

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