You must have heard of Japan's largest automobile manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corporation. But did you know that there is a "Toyota Automobile Museum" in Aichi Prefecture, where Toyota is based, that traces the history of Toyota and automobiles? There are plenty of highlights, such as precious cars and miniatures collected from all over the world. This article will introduce the attractions of the Toyota Automobile Museum. Be sure to visit along with the much-talked-about Ghibli Park that opened in November 2022!
About Toyota Motor Corporation and the Toyota Automobile Museum
The first impression of Toyota Motor Corporation is probably that it is an automobile manufacturer representing Japan. Since starting mass production of automobiles in 1936, its technology has been recognized around the world, and it has now grown into a top brand with annual global sales exceeding 10 million units. Even in your country, you probably see a lot of cars with the “T” Toyota mark.
The Toyota Automobile Museum was established in 1989 as one of the projects commemorating the 50th anniversary of Toyota Motor Corporation. At the museum, in addition to exhibiting the evolution and culture of automobiles, it also holds events such as domestic and international automobile industry research and the "Toyota Automobile Museum Classic Car Festival".
The Toyota Automobile Museum is located along the Linear Motor Train (Linimo) that originated in Japan. Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park which is also home to Ghibli Park that has opened in November 2022 is just two stations away. It is highly recommended to go sightseeing together in the same trip!
"Automobile Gallery" at Toyota Automobile Museum
Featured on the first floor of the Automobile Gallery is a replica of Toyota's first production passenger car, the Toyoda Model AA (1936). The cutting-edge streamline design of the time and the black-painted body are admirably beautiful.
On the 2nd to 3rd floors, about 140 vehicles that are symbolic of each era in Japan, America, Europe, etc. are exhibited in 13 areas. All of the cars are still drivable too!
The dawn of the automobile dates back to the steam car completed in France in the 1700s. After that, electric cars and gasoline cars were built and became parts of people's lives. The classical car bodies of the 1910s and 1920s still look sophisticated and cool even today!
You can also get close to the car body and take a few snapshots all over it.
In the 1930s, the Japanese government stepped up efforts to develop domestic automobile manufacturers. Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (today's Toyota Motor Corporation) and others took on the challenge of full-scale automobile production.
After the war, the standard of living for the Japanese improved. Ordinary people became able to own their own cars. Cars released in the 1960s and 1970s are characterized by sporty designs.
From the 1970s onwards, automobiles entered an era of diversity, such as the introduction of technologies that took air pollution and traffic accidents into consideration, and the birth of models that matched lifestyles. In the 2000s, automobiles powered by hydrogen and electricity were born. Here you can look back on the history of automobiles together with the car bodies displayed.
"Automobile Culture Showroom" at Toyota Automobile Museum
About 4,000 cultural items related to automobiles from Japan and overseas are displayed in one place in the Automobile Culture Showroom.
There are 1/43 scale miniature car models which are the reproduction of historical cars displayed in the Automobile Gallery. All of the approximately 800 miniature cars are exquisite. Time surely passes quickly when you enjoy looking at them.
A nishiki-e (Japanese multi-colored woodblock print) that looks back on Japan's vehicle culture is also on display. Starting with horse-drawn carriages and rickshaws, the paintings of early automobiles and railways are all precious.
In addition, there are about 400 car badges collected from automobile manufacturers, license plates from around the world, automobile stamps, posters, publications, and other materials that even non-car enthusiasts can enjoy. You can feel the charm of cars even more if you appreciate them together with the Automobile Gallery.
Cafe, restaurant and shop at Toyota Museum
The Toyota Automobile Museum's restaurant "AVIEW" mainly offers creative dishes in Western style. In addition to the "TOYOTA 2000GT Hot dog" (1,300 yen) that comes with a special luncheon mat, there are also some seasonal cuisines.
The museum cafe "CARS & BOOKS" is a café pakced with car-related photo collections and art books. You can relax with a book while feeling the sunlight streaming in through the large windows.
Visit the museum shop to create memories of your visit. The most popular item is the "Spanner Spoon" (550 yen) which has a wrench handle. It's an original item that you can buy only at Toyota Automobile Museum!
Food souvenirs are also popular. For example, the “Toyota Automobile Museum Curry” (432 yen), which has a package designed with a popular vehicle, the sablé (140 yen for a set of 4) modeled after famous vehicles, and the Toyota Cut-out Baum Cake (540 yen).
The Toyota Automobile Museum is a satisfying spot not only for car enthusiasts, but also for those interested in design and modern history. Be sure to go and appreciate the precious cars and historical items when you have a chance!
Toyota Automobile Museum
- Address: 41-100 Yokomichi, Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture
- Access: About 5 minutes on by walk from Linimo "Geidai-dori" station
- Opening hours: 9:30-17:00 (Last admission 16:30)
- Closed: Mondays (the next day if Monday is a public holiday), year-end and New Year holidays
- Entrance fee: 1,200 yen for adults, 700 yen for those aged 65 and over, 600 yen for those aged 13 to 18, 400 yen for those aged 6 to 12