Where Are The Coolest Car-Related Hangout Spots In Tokyo?
So you've made it to Tokyo. Now, where's all the cool car stuff at? Here's the thing: although the modified car scene in Japan is crazy big, the ratio of car enthusiasts to non-car enthusiasts is actually pretty low when you consider Japan's enormous population. So if you're just walking around the city aimlessly, you're probably not going to stumble across any car workshops by chance, or see any heavily modified cars roaming the streets all that often… unless you get lucky, of course!
To guarantee that you get to see some awesome Japanese 'car stuff' while you're there, it's always a good idea to plan ahead. Amongst the skyscrapers, flashing billboards and huddled together apartment buildings, there are some really awesome car-related attractions just waiting to be discovered, as long as you know where they are. So if you're short on ideas, here are 3 cool car-related hangout spots in Tokyo that you should definitely check out!
Toyota Mega Web & History Garage.
On one of the many man-made islands in Tokyo Bay you'll find the district of Odaiba - a popular shopping and entertainment area known for its big Gundam robot statue and fantastic view of the iconic Rainbow bridge. It's also home to Toyota Mega Web, which can only be described as a Toyota theme park of sorts - there's a massive showroom displaying all of Toyota's latest offerings (which you can test drive), historic race cars, RC car racing, merchandise including TRD and Initial D goodies, and more!
In the nearby Venus Fort shopping centre there's also the History Garage - it's kind of like a car museum but cooler. There's a huge collection of nostalgic Japanese cars and even other cars like old Cadillacs and Corvettes. Rare gems like the Fairlady Z432 and Toyota 2000GT are also on display, and they're in immaculate just-left-the-factory condition too. There's even a restoration garage, a huge merchandise shop where you could easily spend all of your money, and an Italian-themed café that makes a great espresso.
Mooneyes Area 1 & MOON Cafe.
The SoCal-born Mooneyes brand has had a presence in Japan since the early '80s - yep, Japan has a massive hot rod and customs scene too! The Yokohama shop contains an absolutely massive range of merchandise including car and bike parts and accessories, a garage and an American diner-themed restaurant, which unlike a lot of other Japanese establishments that try to recreate western food, is actually really delicious. It might not be the most Japanese experience, but it's definitely awesome.
Tatsumi Parking Area.
Unfortunately, being in Japan isn’t constantly like living out a scene from the Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift movie, BUT... it can be if you're in the right place at the right time! Parking areas (PA for short) are popular meet-up spots for car enthusiasts, and some are more popular than others. One of the coolest ones is called Tatsumi PA, a rest stop along the infamous Bayshore Route known as the Wangan. It's a fairly small parking area with great views of the city, and if you head there late on a Friday or Saturday night you might just stumble across a bunch of neon-clad Lamborghinis...
TIP: Parking Areas can only be reached by car, as they're accessed via Japan's tolled highways, so you will need a car to get there.
If you're wondering why Daikoku PA wasn't mentioned here, that's because I'm planning on saving that for another separate post. Until then, make sure to check out www.JapanCarCulture.com to learn more about Japanese cars and culture and how you can plan your ultimate car-related holiday in Japan!
Taryn Kelly | www.JapanCarCulture.com
JCC membership: www.JapanCarCulture.com/membership