Japan’s automotive industry is among the world’s largest and most prominent. Ever since 1960s it has consistently remained the top three countries in the world where cars have been produced in large numbers. The Asian giant has even surpassed Germany in car manufacturing. The automotive industry in Japan flourished so much that it became a leader in automobile production overtaking the United States during the 1980s and 1990s with up to 13 million cars manufactures annually and significant rise in exports.
Japan is presently the third largest producer of automobiles in the world. The country is home to many companies engaged in producing cars, engines, ATVs, motorcycles and construction vehicles. Prominent automotive manufacturers in Japan include Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Daihatsu, Honda, Mitsuoka, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Isuzu, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mazda. The country has also won several international awards in innovative car design. Some of the major awards presented to car manufacturers include World car of the Year, International Car of the Year and European Car of the Year.
Now that we have got a brief insight into automotive industry in Japan, let’s take a look at some of the popular car museums in the country. Major car producers in the country have set up their own museums to showcase innovative designs and history of their respective companies.
Toyota Automobile Museum
The Toyota Automobile Museum is said to be among the best car museum in Japan today. The museum showcases all models of cars manufactured by Toyota company, which played a pioneering role in shaping the automobile industry in the country from the late 19th century till recent times. You will find nearly 120 cars being displayed here. The museum also has a library with over 9,000 books on automobile industry. The Toyota Automobile Museum is open from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Tuesdays through Sundays every week.
Toyota, one of the pioneers in automotive industry, has in fact set up many museums to showcase its history and innovations. The other car museums associated with Toyota that are a must visit to Japan and its capital city Tokyo include History Garage (Mega Web), Toyota Amlux, Toyota Techno Museum, Toyota Kaikan and Toyota Kuragaike.
The History Garage, also called Mega Web, is located on Odaiba in the heart of Tokyo. It is in fact a car “theme park”. Historic cars from the 1950s to 1970s have been showcased here. Some of the displays here also prominently feature Toyota’s racing history as well as racing car replicas. Toyota Amlux is situated in Ikebukuro, and showcases the company’s current lineup of vehicles, including concept cars and latest models. Toyota Techno Museum is situated in Nagoya. It is among the most interesting museums, and showcases the company’s transition from textiles to car production. Toyota Kaikan offers you a virtual tour of how exactly cars are manufactured in a factory.
After Toyota, another key player in the automotive industry is Nissan. The company has set up five Nissan Galleries throughout the country, with two in Tokyo, and one each in Fukuoka, Nagoya and Sapporo. The Nissan Galleries prominently showcase the various models built ever since the company started manufacturing cars. The Nissan Gallery at Sapporo is however the biggest with a display of 10 cars. Apart from popular Nissan Galleries, the company has also set up two other museums as well. These include Nissan Engine Museum, and Prince and Skyline Museum.
The Nissan Engine Museum is situated in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. Here you will see 28 engines on display. The exhibits here also show what actually goes inside the engine plant at Yokohama and also the history of Nissan Motor Company. If you are a Nissan fan and visiting Japan to see the car museums, then your visit would not be complete unless you visit the Prince and Skyline Museum, located in Nagano prefecture. Here you will find 34 Nissan cars on display.
These are only few popular car museums in Japan discussed here. There are many more that remains to be discovered. So, next time you are planning to visit the country don’t forget to visit these interesting car museums and gain rich information about the automotive industry in the country.