QotW: What’s your must-see Japanese automotive destination?

We were greatly saddened by MegaWeb’s closing announcement last week. The Toyota showroom was one of our favorite destinations in Tokyo. However, there still remains a great many automotive destinations for Japanese car enthusiasts, whether it’s a museum, company showroom, legendary race track, car show, a meeting place like Daikoku Futo, or a restoration or tuner shop. One day they too will probably be gone. Before that happens, please let us and your fellow JNC readers know what they absolutely cannot miss.

What’s your must-see Japanese automotive destination?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite form of motorsport?

No two answers were the same for this question, proving just how diverse our readership’s interest in motorsports is. From Tofu Delivery‘s choice of Le Mans to f31roger‘s autocross, Joey Katigbak‘s WRC to Nigel‘s gymkhana, Dimitry Mochkin’s time attack to dankan‘s IndyCar, your choices spanned every level of racing. Ellis – even came out of left field with something we’d never heard of before, Thai scooter racing, which sounds absolutely fascinating. In the end, however, it was crank_case‘s choice of hillclimb that won the day for its inspired reasoning:

Hillclimb – because while it does have classes, it doesn’t generally penalize you for building a faster car than everyone else and it’s all about being the fastest and accurate driver, not about pit stop strategy or out psyching your opponent, you’ll see more crazy homebrew stuff at a hillclimb event than any other form of motorsport apart from maybe land speed racing. It also suits my short attention span – hell I don’t even care who wins, I just like watching each run for its own sake.

Here’s an 11000RPM 4AGE starlet

or how about a spaceframed Fiat 500 silhouette racer running a V8 made from two Suzuki Hayabusa engines?

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9 Responses to QotW: What’s your must-see Japanese automotive destination?

  1. Lupus says:

    Daikoku Futo Parking area at friday or saturday evening/night.
    After witnessing something like that with my very own eyes:
    there whould be nothig else to see form me in the world…

  2. Land Ark says:

    There are a few race tracks I’d like to see, just to say I’ve been there, Sozuka and Tsukuba immediately jump to mind. And before my last trips were canceled I have made a list of all the diecast minicar stores in the cities I’d be traveling to with Gulliver and II Ado being the two big ones I missed last time.
    But the one place I want to visit the most, and is also the most challenging to work out logistically, is the Prince and Skyline Museum. Getting to Nagano for a day trip would be great, but dragging my wife all the way out there to see a bunch of cars for a couple hours is a tough sell. But, as a Skyline fan, it would be my Mecca and a memory I would cherish for the rest of my life.

    • Land Ark says:

      Of course I mean Suzuka. But toss Motegi in there too. Sheesh, I’m going to have to make many more trips once they open back up.

  3. j_c says:

    One of my automotive bucket list items is to attend Nismo Fest and ride the bus at Fuji Speedway while the race cars fly by.

  4. dankan says:

    I think that my nominee at the must-see destination would be Suzuka. It’s sort of the Budokan of the Japanese auto industry. As a race track it has provided the stage for many memorable achievements for both Japanese companies, and also the global industry. World titles have been won there. Innovations have debuted there. Drivers have become legends. Suzuka is a place that MATTERS. And Honda have developed it far beyond just a track into becoming an important destination for the other stuff around it. I mean, just look at what you can do: https://www.suzukacircuit.jp/en/

    There’s an amusement park, a resort, camping, driver’s ed…

    Yes, Fuji Speedway also exists, but to be blunt, it’s not as historic, not as special, and not as cool.

  5. F31Roger says:

    I hope the JNC crew don’t mind I make a big post! Sorry guys! I feel Japan as a Japanese automotive enthusiasts is just overwhelming. A lot is all there! This is me accomplishing my bucket list.

    I remember seeing a Road Champs magazine in 1999 and it had a Daikoku Futo fold out. It was at night, Hiace vans and VIP cars were there.

    That really inspired me to go to Japan in 2001. Even before I met with my friends there, I took a taxi to Daikoku Futo and it was a “2000s era dream”. It was like Tokyo Xtreme Racer’s dvd, TONS of High powered race cars. I was so blown away, At the time, I had my SLR, but I decided to use my Hi8 cam to video… I lost that tape.. and kick myself to this day.

    A lot of the shops I wanted to see were the ones I saw in Option Magazines. So in 2001-2006, I decided to see many of those shops that I could. MY BIGGEST REGRET.. I didn’t appreciate the Japanese culture as I was only focused on cars.

    There was no translation software, phones were regional and my debt card only worked on International ATMs and banks. But it was so interesting back then.. it was super foreign.

    Originally a Honda/Import racer in 1999, but by 2000 my friend Mege-san send me magazines and its how I started to get into Nissans and Mazdas. By 2001,I already had my FC RX7, My 280z and zx, my cressida and Vigor (on top of my EG and EK). So I had a huge bucket list.

    First shop and meet up in Japan.

    Went to a few PAs

    Of course the Used car parts.

    Every time I came back to Japan, I had a better itinerary for cars. My friends understood what my goals were and coordinated with others. I had also expanded out team to Osaka and in 2004, I went there.

    https://www.f31club.com/2017/04/26/wald/ – I was starting to get into VIP styling.
    https://www.f31club.com/2017/04/28/impreza-meet-and-six-star-magazine-photoshoot-2004/ – My friend took me to a Subaru meet

    I was really into RX7s by participating in RX7club regional meets and rotary engine rebuild classes at a local manufacture (who eventually caused some drama without rx7 group).

    Between 2006-2016, I was busy with life and often reflected on my mistakes I made while visiting Japan. I didn’t take in Japanese culture, history, local and sub cultures there. When I decided to go back, I really wanted to experience the temples and other attractions, learn the train system and be more than just a car person.

    But I still had a bucket list of shops I wanted to visit. Some disappeared (Daisuke Shouten) by the time I started to plan my trips. I also wanted to go outside of my previous places and go throughout Japan. This helped me go to different places, meet different people and also different car shops.

    I made a mistake in 2006. I didn’t visit Carshop Friend, the leopard shop. I only had my M30 for a few months. So in 2016, I had to go.

    I still love RX7s and while I don’t have one now, I still wanted to visit some rotary shops.
    Unfortunately, I was suppose to visit Reaction Racing, Famspeed and I’Feelin… but I couldn’t reach them in time (they are far from train stations).

    Realizing how much I love older Nissans, I’m glad these shops are still around. I visited R31house in 2004, but it was closed.

    I do have my 95 SC previa, so I wanted to see the OG version.. and one was at the Toyota Automobile Museum.

    OG manufactures.

    Again, I started out as a Honda civic guy… sooo…

    I remember being on Z forums and Avante would often come up. I loved the aero they made for Z31s… so years later.. I had to visit.

    I really fell in love with VIPcars and Kaido racers, but my friend Mege-san was afraid of trying to seek them out as both groups had “violent tendencies”. One shop that is also OG in Kaido Racer circles.. is Mizuno Works.

    I was a Datsun guy with my Z and ZX and often met with 510 guys. One of my friends always talked about Refresh 60. I visited the shop before he closed up for good.

    Back to the highway racers (but not kaido racers). Matchless Crowd Racing’s sticker was so bad ass to me. I always wanted to visit their shop too, https://www.f31club.com/2017/09/28/visit-to-matchless-crowd-racing-september-2017/

    Tec Arts – self explanatory

    OG shops and names:

    Of course, the aforementioned Megaweb.

    Which is really a bummer. It’s such a cool place.

    I visited Nismo in 2006, but I didn’t go to the other Nissan spots. I tried to go to Nissan’s Heritage Museum (and to see the leopard there) but it was closed that day. I did check out Nissan Gallery.

    I’m a huge SVX, BRAT, BAJA and XT fan… At least K-Staff is the SVX shop to visit.

    It was completely random, but my friends took me to Vary/Jun Racing garage. They guy makes body kits. I didn’t make the connection right away, but he is vary.co.jp.

    In a sense of “historical” in my context (which is about F31s/friends).. it’s doing stuff with them that makes going to Japan even better.
    Like going to Daikoku Futo is awesome.. but with my leopard brother.. 100x better.. and we also pulled an all nighter 11pm to 4am.

    Or going to a place where many Leopard meetings were held (such as Lake Biwa).

    My problem is my sense of “must do” is so broad. I mean, I still have to vise Honda Twin Cam, Amuse, Top Secret. I want to visit Mode Parfume and Junction Produce.

    So it’s planning and every trip, I take in more and more. Then there’s the Automotive bucket list in German, UK, New Zealand… LOL.

  6. Toyotageek says:

    I’ve been fortunate to visit a number of automotive places in Japan, especially Toyota related, from AMLUX, Megaweb and the History Garage, Toyota Automobile Museum, Sakichi Toyoda Memorial House, Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, and the Toyota Kuragaike Commemorative Hall, to other venues like Twin Ring Motegi and the Honda Exhibition Hall, to the eclectic Ikaho Toy, Doll, and Car Museum.

    But my favorite must visit destinations are the homes and garages of my friends….

    Michimoto-san’s and his 2000GT – where else can I can out with his fellow 2000GT owners and cruise the Tokyo nights in a 2000GT?

    The Maehara brothers where Toyota runs in the veins of several generations – where else can I visit the family museum Maehara 20th, have a BBQ with friends and sit in a Toyota Origin?

    The garage of Makoto Dohi, Yotsuba Auto – where else can I visit and hang out with the maestro of Sports 800’s and drive the coutryside of Utsunomiya with a small band of “Yota-Hachis” feeling the open road beneath us, and enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of rural Japan?

    The list goes on, but I’m sure you get my drift.
    Those corporate locations and museums are great, but the best destinations are the ones where memories are with friends. Those are the true must see and do destinations for this Toyotaku. 🙂

  7. エーイダン says:

    I’d have to say the Tokyo Bayshore stretch of the Shuto Expressway…at midnight…..
    or Gunma Prefecture, Japan…more specifically Mount Akagi as a tribute to Initial D.

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