If you know anything about cars, you are probably aware that Toyota is one of the biggest car manufacturers worldwide. But did you know that Toyota is originally from Nagoya? Many people don’t. And there is no shame in that.
But if you do happen to be in Nagoya and are looking to learn more about Japan’s most important (and very first) car maker you should check out one of the Toyota Museums. There are actually 3 of them: the Toyota Kaikan Museum, the Toyota Automobile Museum and the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology.
In this post, I would like to talk more about the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Located in the heart of Nagoya. This museum introduces visitors to the history of Toyota from its beginnings in the 19th century to the giant it is today.
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Textile Machinery Pavilion
What most people don’t know is that Toyota started out as a textile manufacturer. Sakichi Toyoda, with a ‘d’ was a very inventive man. He revolutionized the textile manufacturing industry at the end of the 19th century with his power loom, Type G automatic loom, and original circular loom.
Inside the Textile Machinery Pavilion, you will learn how cotton was transformed into textile over the course of the centuries and how Toyoda’s inventions revolutionized the industry. Making it faster, cheaper, and generally easier to produce high-quality fabrics.
Housed inside the original spinning mill from the early 20th century around 100 different textile machines are on display here leading through the ages.
You might not think looms are all that interesting, but trust me this pavilion and its machinery is fascinating.
Without Sakichi Toyoda’s success and money, his son Kiichiro Toyota could have never even dreamed of becoming the first car manufacturer in Japan.
His story and the story of Toyota as a car manufacturer is told inside the Automobile Pavilion. The gigantic pavilion is split into 4 sections. Starting with the Initial Period of the Automobile Business. Next follows an explanation of Automobile Mechanisms and Parts, Automobile Technology and finally Production Technology.
You will see different car models from throughout the ages as well as manufacturing machinery to build cars from the first assembly lines to produce the first Toyota model AA to using robotics to manufacture modern Toyota models today.
Children can get hands-on experience of principles and mechanisms employed in textile machinery and automobile production inside the Technoland, a theme park type area inside the Toyota Museum.
This area has different experiental attractions for fun learning such as a wind canal, a toy car course, a gigantic weaving wall, a water and air jet game, and more.
A gigantic steam engine is on display inside the museum. This particular one was in use at a spinning mill in Germany from the end of the 19th century. It was later modified to produce electrical power.
In 2005 the Toyota Museum in Nagoya acquired the steam engine to display it and teach about the history of industrial technology. There are regular demonstrations of the steam engine in action.
You can get a lot of information just by following the route inside the two pavilions and reading the signage for all the different exhibits. But if reading isn’t really your thing there is an excellent audio guide you can use throughout the museum.
It works as an app on your smartphone, so don’t forget to bring your earphones. The entrance area has free WIFI which you can use to download the app. Or you can simply download them right now. Here are the links to the PlayStore and AppStore. After that, you don’t need to be connected to the internet anymore.
The audio guide is easy to use, just put in the number at each exhibit and a friendly voice will tell you the story of Toyota in perfect English.
I used this option while exploring the Automobile Pavilion by myself. And I have to say I learned a lot about Toyota as a car manufacturer.
Guided Tours in English
The audio guide is a great option, but the best way to explore the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is with a free tour guide. English language tours take place daily at 2:00 p.m. at the Textile Machinery Pavilion and at 3:15 at the Automobile Pavilion. The tours take around 45 minutes.
You need to register at the pavilion entrance before the scheduled start time.
I have taken the guided tour of the Textile Machinery Pavilion before. It wasn’t a very crowded day and I was the only participant. The tour guide spoke English quite well and was very knowledgeable. The greatest thing about having a tour guide are the many demonstrations throughout the tour. Experiences you wouldn’t have exploring on your own. If at all possible try joining a guided tour for the most immersive experience.
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology at a Glance
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
Entry Fee: 500 yen
Opening Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. closed Mondays
Address: 4-1-35 Noritakeshinmachi, Nishi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 451-0051
Website | Google Maps
Public Transport to the Nagoya Toyota Museum
The Toyota Nagoya Museum is just a 15 to 20-minute walk from Nagoya Station, so you don’t necessarily need to take public transportation to reach it.
The closest train station is Sako Station on the Meitetsu-Nagoya Line just one stop from Nagoya Station. The one-way fare costs 170 yen.
You can also take the Meguru Tourist Loop Bus from Nagoya Station to the Nagoya Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology bus stop. It is the first stop after leaving the Nagoya bus terminal. The tourist bus costs 500 yen for a day ticket and takes you to other tourist spots like Nagoya Castle and the Tokugawa Art Museum.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya is one of the most popular museums in the city. Even if you aren’t into cars and textile production it is worth a visit. You will definitely learn a ton of new things and come out with a new appreciation for the inventiveness of past generations and the great minds that transformed Japan to become a worldwide leader of industry and technology.
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For more things to do in Nagoya visit the Activities in Nagoya page. General information on Travel in Nagoya can be found here. Other popular attractions in Nagoya are the Osu Shopping Streets and Nagoya Castle.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.