Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Toyota's Mega Web

On my last full day in Japan, I decided to visit Toyota's Mega Web in Tokyo. It's located on a reclaimed island. In addition to the Mega Web, there's a fancy mall, a ferris wheel, and other touristy attractions.

The Mega Web is more than a car dealership or car museum. As you walk to the entrance, you see a whole bunch of different Toyotas. Each model can be driven slowly along a short, closed course for $2.50. Even that Century down there can be driven for $2.50. Everything else at Mega Web is free. 

Unfortunately, my California driver's license was useless. In order to test drive a car, I needed a Japanese or international license.

The main building has virtually every Toyota currently sold in Japan, and more. There was even a new Toyota Tundra. Here is an 86 police car. With every car on the showroom floors in the main building, you can sit inside them.
Lots of kids were playing Gran Turismo. They were all driving the Suzuka Circuit.

I don't know what Gazoo Racing is, but they tarted up this Scion iQ.

I couldn't resist driving a couple of laps.

This Land Cruiser drove around the entire Australian continent last year.

Here is the FCV concept. I tried to get a nice shot of it, but it's butt ugly from every angle. I got to sit in a production Mirai as well, and the exterior on that one was no better.

This is an interesting concept. You drive a mixed street and dirt course in a gasoline-powered car with 100ml of fuel until you run out of fuel. Then, you drive the same course with the same amount of fuel in a Prius. You can literally see where your old car ran out of fuel as you pass by it.

And here we have the Century. The term "vault-like" gets thrown around a lot. I've opened the doors of virtually every large German and American sedan. This door was not only heavy, but the closing action was extremely smooth and precise. I don't think it matters much to the owner, as the chauffeur would be opening and closing the door.

The interior was definitely cramped, compared with the long wheelbased versions of the big Germans. Even with the front passenger seat pass-through down, I had trouble contorting my legs through the seat. The fabric is thicker and plusher than any couch I've ever sat in. I can see it feeling very hot or uncomfortable in the summer without the A/C on, but I don't see chauffeurs letting that happen to their captains of industry employers.

I asked one of the nice uniformed ladies working there to open the hood and trunk for me, as I don't think I've seen anyone else do that before on other blogs.

Here is the key. It felt a bit heftier than a normal Toyota key, but it's quite simple.

The trunk is not exactly cavernous.

When I was researching this place, I read about a huge car brochure vending machine. I wanted to buy a Century brochure as a souvenir. But alas, the machine is gone.

With the main building done, I walked through the cheesy mall to the other half of Mega Web, which contained classic cars. The mall had that fake sky you see at the Paris or Venetian in Las Vegas. 95% of the customers were Mainland Chinese.

Toyota is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Crown, and they had every generation lined up.

There was a long hallway. On the right were dozens of Crown poster ads. On the left were hundreds of 1/43 scale diecast models detailing the history of the automobile.

As you go downstairs to the diecast car store, you see this mural of a Celica rally racer. Remember when that car dominated racing and video games?

Outside on the patio were more classics. My mom and dad's first car was this Carina, in the exact same color. In fact, I may have come home from the hospital in this car.

Those taillights are gorgeous.

Toyota TF101.

Here is a Mazda Cosmo MAT. Does anyone know what MAT stands for?

I thought it said Alpina, but it actually says Albino.

That laptop for the F1 car runs on Windows 2000.

Here are a couple of old men restoring cars. You can buy their Toyota overalls at the store. They even come in kid sizes.

I was wowed by the 2000GT's lights.

This was pretty cool. They projected on a big screen every Crown TV ad, ever. I sat there for about ten minutes and they barely covered two generations of Crowns.

Finally, on the way back, I used Yelp and found this ramen place near the Oimachi transfer station in Shinagawa. It did not disappoint. Thanks to Rchen for the suggestion of getting a pocket wifi unit for my trip. I rented one online for around $50 a week. They mailed it to my hotel and I got it upon check-in. It helped my trip tremendously with maps, email, Skype, and just general entertainment. As I left, I just stuck the wifi unit in the mailbox at the airport. It was seamless.

That's it for my trip to Japan. Thanks for reading!


Sjalabais said...

A surprise to read that the Century is tight for a Western driver. The key looks eerily similar to a Camry XV30 key.

F1Outsider said...

Awesome write-up. I just booked a 2 week trip to Japan for next March. I'll be looking to you for some pointers.

Peter Secor said...

Welcome home, did you happen to see any Totota Coronas from the

Ed Kim said...

That Century (one of my favorite cars, BTW), has a cassette deck!! WOW!

Maxichamp said...

@F1O: That's great! Everything is very inexpensive there right now.

Maxichamp said...

@Peter S: I did see at least one 60s Corona at the Mega Web and I think I posted a picture of another one in my Nagoya post.

Maxichamp said...

@Ed: I did not even notice! And it's definitely a new model. The window sticker advertised it as "280PS"! What a weak ass V12 I say.

Francisco said...

That 2000GT is pure Japanese Automotive Sex

The portable fax machine in the car a few pics ago is so late 80's - Why Doc Brown didn't get that update for the Delorean when he was here in 2015 boggles the mind!

Welcome back - you will smile when you see me & the latest

Ping me at francisco.guerrero@gmail.com and lets meet & catch up

Rich said...

Welcome back, that was a fun read.

The Mazda Cosmo MAT? It's an Ultraman livery! Stands for "Monster Attack Team"

Anonymous said...

Re: Albino wheels, I think they were made by Magnetbox in team with Sorny.

Great reading about your trip. I plan on applying for an int'l license before leaving.