Japan is home to a number of big names in the automotive world. One of the greats, Toyota, is based in Nagoya where you’ll find a number of car museums in its honour. Of all of them, though, we recommend heading to nearby Nagakute to visit the excellent Toyota Automobile Museum.
This museum impresses before you even enter. There’s not much going on in Nagakute, and so the huge, oval-shaped building dominates its surroundings. Step inside, and it is clear that the good design in Toyota’s cars carries through to all that they do.
An Exceptional Collection
If you only see one exhibit at the Toyota Museum, it should be the main gallery. This collection does not just showcase Toyotas, but provides a comprehensive overview of the history and evolution of automobiles.
There’s a lot to take in here. The gallery is divided into two floors on the second and third levels of the museum. The second level begins with the dawn of the automobile in the 1890s. It then covers advancements in the 1910s, the elegant styles of the 1930s, and the commercialization of cars after WWII. Highlights include the replica of the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen and the Toyoda Model AA, Toyota’s first car. The third level shows the changes in both commercial and luxury cars from the 1950s onwards. Lastly, the gallery ends with some of Toyota’s hybrid and electric models. A full evolutionary timeline, if you will.
There are 140 cars in the collection. Each one is immaculate, and accompanied by captions and videos so you can see the cars in motion. Car lovers, history buffs, and fans of design and retro styling will enjoy the gallery immensely.
More to See and Do at the Toyota Museum
There are also special exhibits running throughout the year at this world-class car museum. Check before your visit to see what’s on—you might get lucky and see the rare Toyota 2000GT “Bond Car”. This sporty white convertible was designed and built for the 1967 James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’. Only two exist in the whole world, so it is often in storage. However, it is occasionally on display for special events and exhibits.
Other things to see include the Automobile Culture Showroom. This exhibit is packed with car memorabilia such as license plates, models, posters, and more. There is also a restaurant, cafe, library, and gift shop on the premises. Free guided tours are given daily in Japanese, but private English ones can be booked. You can also use an audio guide on your phone in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.
To get to the Toyota Museum, take the Higashiyama Line from Nagoya Station. At Fujigaoka, change to the spiffy Linimo Line. The museum is a few minutes walk from Geidaidori Station.
Admission is ¥1,200 or ¥1,400 for the combo ticket. This also gives access to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya.
Name: Toyota Automobile Museum
Address: 41-100 Yokomichi, Nagakute, Aichi 480-1118
Open: 9:30-17:00 (last admission 16:30; closed Mondays)
Post by Japan Journeys.