Toyota MegaWeb – Tokyo’s Car Themed Magic Box
The reclaimed island of Odaiba is one of several built in the second half of the twentieth century as a way of meeting the increasing demand for land in Tokyo. Dubbed the city of the future, it never really planned out that way as development coincided with the Japanese economic downturn of the early nineties.
Toyota saw an opportunity in what was probably well-priced land purchasing and fortunately for us car enthusiasts built themselves a showcase – an interactive museum featuring both new and old from their collections as well as some tasty treats from other manufacturers. Called the Toyota City Showcase MegaWeb, and no, I don’t know why either, it’s one of the more interesting places to visit in Tokyo for a motoring enthusiast.
Split over two sections, old and new, half a day can be enjoy here and in the surrounding area, with particular attention given to children activities, offering them the chance to drive for the first time.
The new section houses almost all of Toyota’s current range in Japan, some you’ll recognise fom home and some which are unique to the domestic market (JDM), as well as future technologies such as hydrogen development, personal mobility and safety technology. During my visit, there was an exhibition showing the particular cars Toyota were now building in China, some being unique to that market. In another section there was a couple of Surpas next to eight Playstations where visitors could help themselves to a couple of laps of a famous circuit in this very car. Quite a nice, fun touch I thought. Half of the cars you can sit in and poke around, half of the cars are locked.
Next to the new area are a couple of other attractions – Team Labs Borderless, a digital art museum which is well worth a visit for anyone in Tokyo. There the Odaiba big wheel too which is a big, um, Ferris wheel. Maybe worth it if you’re into that kind of thing, and makes the journey more worth it for non-petrolheads.
It’s the classics, however, where things get interesting , car fan or not. Thankfully, despite this ring clearly owned and operated by Toyota, they had diversified this area to include cars from other manufacturers, notably a Ferrari, Dino, a DeLoren and a beautiful Mercedes 280SL, a car I particular like as a classic Mercedes owner myself.
My friend and partner on this trip was Luke, an Australian skating and drifting enthusiast who had two particular cars he wanted to see. Firstly was the first ever Japanese sports car, the Toyota 2000GT, probably the most beautiful Japanese car ever made.
The second was not beautiful at all, but even more important to Luke -the Toyota MR-S Group S Rally car. Built for Group S rallying, but never saw real competition, it now lives on as a nostalgic highlight to compact-mid-engined enthusiasts, particularly former MR-2 owner Luke.
Models, books, not classics and nostalgia filled the remaining spaces. A cafe-racer cafe, a restoration workshop with viewing windows and a souvenir shop add to the experience.
The two train lines which visit the island serve MegaWeb well so it’s easy enough to get to. If you’re in Tokyo, like car and want something FREE to do, check out MegaWeb.