There have four Toyota Corollas in my life and a Corona wagon that had CNG in the boot and four gears on the floor, that always felt like a fifth was needed. It was my first car and I loved it. But I’m not a car buff and when the tour guide said we were headed to Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, I initially blanched. Museums aren’t my thing, but this one was fascinating.
The Toyoda family (that’s with a D, the T is in the company name) are a clever bunch having started out modernising cotton weaving looms then, sensing an opportunity, building cars. They unashamedly ripped off the Ford Chev to start with but were soon designing and improving their own models. The rest, as the saying goes, is history, with the humble Corolla one of the most loved cars in New Zealand and Toyota one of the one’s world’s biggest companies.Not far from that museum is another, the Toyota Automobile Museum, which chronicles the history of cars with some models that will have petrol heads openly drooling. So if you are heading to Toyota for the All Blacks game against Italy, both museums are worth a visit.
The next day in Toyota featured a trip outside the small city to the mountain region of Asukecho. After experiencing the concrete jungle of Tokyo it was surprisingly refreshing to see some trees and be back in nature (something we often take for granted in NZ!). The city is made up of a few key areas: Korankei, Old Streets of Asuke, Sanshu Asuke Yashiki. Walking through the old streets gave a great insight into the way of living many years ago in Japan with much of the infrastructure remaining untouched. This region is known for its local speciality, wild boar.
Korankei is famous for its autumn leaves and katakuri flowers. As the leaves take on their autumnal hues, the surface of the Tomoe River is dappled beautifully with the red and yellow of about 4,000 trees. While we just miss out on this during Rugby World Cup, this place is incredibly beautiful all year round. If you want to up your Instagram game this is a place to visit!
City of Toyota Stadium
City of Toyota Stadium will do a great job hosting the match. It’s an easy walk from the train station if you are travelling there for the match from Nagoya, with a few pubs along the way. The stadium was built in 2001 and seats about 45,000 with the upper stands sloped up to 38 degrees so the view is spectacular. If you hang around there’s a festival in Asukecho the next day and the Formula 1 is in Suzuka the next day so those who love their cars could be in for a wonderful week.