The Toyota Motor Organisation is one of the keystones of Japan’s world-renowned manufacturing industry, and since 1926, Toyota has been the byword for Japanese excellence and innovation. Much of this innovation took place right here in Aichi Prefecture, from the initial plant in the city that came to bear the corporation’s name, to what has now become the city center of Nagoya.
Telling the tale of this remarkable company is the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Just a fifteen minute walk from Nagoya Station, it is a fascinating and fun exploration of the multinational corporation’s history.
Set in an old redbrick building that was once part of the company’s textile factory, the museum, called Toyota Techno Museum for short, tells the tale of Toyota from its beginnings as a textiles manufacturer to its development into an international automobile producer.
The museum is separated into a number of areas, displaying fully-operational machines in the Textile Machinery Pavilion and a number of outstanding mint-condition classic cars in the cavernous Automobile Pavillion, bringing history to life. Enhancing the experience are friendly guides who are all willing share their exhaustive knowledge on the company’s past – in English – making it both an educational and enjoyable day out.
The Toyota Techno Museum is not just a haven for manufacturing nerds, far from it. It is also a fun day out for children as they get to play in Technoland, a hands-on interactive experience in the development of textiles and automobiles. Kids can literally get to grips with the many aspects of automobile manufacturing through a variety of attractions; discovering aerodynamics and wind resistance by getting blown away by the wind tunnel, understanding friction and kinetic energy with the giant hand brake, compete against others to create the correct level of acceleration for engine turning and learn to drive a toy car on the Techno Circuit.
Of course, Toyota isn’t just about cars, and Technoland also has a number of attractions for children (and adults) to learn about weaving. Kids particularly enjoy peddling the Virtual Weaving Machine, weaving a colored wall, or firing water cannons in the Water Jet Threader.
Whether you make a family day trip of it or go alone, take a tour guide or choose to wander around by yourself, The Toyota Techno Museum is an interactive, fully-immersive, educational and enthralling day out.
Where: 4-chōme-1-35 Noritakeshinmachi, Nishi Ward (map)
Getting there: The museum is a fifteen minute walk westwards from Nagoya Station, a ten minute walk from Kamejima Station on the Higashiyama line, or a three minute walk from Sako Station on the Meitetsu line. It is also one of the stops on the Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus.
When: 9:30 to 17:00, closed Mondays (or Tuesdays if the preceding Monday was a holiday)
Admission: Adults 500 JPY; senior and junior High school students 300 JPY; elementary school students 200 JPY
There is not much else in the area, so if you have children you may want to plan your lunchtime accordingly. However, should you so wish, the museum does have a restaurant and a cafe on the grounds.
If you are interested in the history of Toyota, check out our article about just that, here.
And if manufacturing outings get your engine running, so to speak, you’ll probably want to see the Toyota Plant and Museum tour.