Curbside Global: Toyota Megaweb – JDM Fantasyland

Our only daughter graduated college and left the house about a year ago to work at a job in downtown Tokyo. She lives in Koto Ward, which is one of 23 wards, or boroughs, that make up the central part of the city. Fortunately, her apartment is only about 30 minutes away from the trendy district of Odaiba, which, in addition to having several of the largest and most modern shopping malls, is host to Toyota’s Megaweb; a combination museum, showroom, and amusement park – a must stop for any Japan Domestic Model (JDM) fan visiting the country.

Megaweb is divided up into three separate facilities. The most recent addition is the History Garage, modeled after a small street in downtown Tokyo, circa 1960s.

You’re greeted by this cheeky Mazda Carol as you enter – CC reviewed the Carol previously here.

After the Carol are a couple of European tourists – an Alfa Spyder and a BMW-Isetta.

Opposite is a Subaru 360 – similar to the one Paul drove.

The museum also features lots of memorabilia from the ’50s-’60s.

The American contingent is represented by, what else, a ’59 Caddy and a ’63 Vette…

The star, as least in my view, is this white Toyota 2000 – hard to believe that when I first arrived in Japan in 1981, I had the opportunity to purchase a 2000 – a co-worker who had a used car business on the side found one, and was selling it for the then significant price of $20,000. Oh, those decisions you regret…

This very nice early Porsche 356 rounded out the street scene.

In a separate room are some beautifully preserved models; a Corona, an early Nissan Bluebird, and a Gen 1 Crown.

Exit the Garage and going through the shopping mall brings you to building #2, the Toyota City Showcase – you’re greeted by this all-original, pristine 1951 Toyopet SA – one of Toyota’s first post-war models.

Think of the Showcase as a large, two-story dealership, except there are no salespersons hovering over you, and every JDM car Toyota offers is available to peruse; climb in, pop the hood, kick the tires, etc.

Having owned several Toyota Crowns, I had to sit in this Royal Saloon – very nice.

Here’s a Camry that’s been modified by the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) folks. You can get this package as an option on your Camry here.

Lots of cutaway models also – this one the fuel cell Mirai. No matter how you feel about this technology, seeing the engineering that went into it is fascinating.

There’s a section for concept cars also – currently on display is the Toyota FT 1 – I’m not a fan of current Toyota styling, but this looks pretty sharp. No info on the engine, but the two exhaust outlets in the rear were coffee can-size.  This may be the upcoming Supra.

After poking through the models on the floor, you can present your driver’s license (Japanese or International) and take a spin in the car of your choice on a 1.3 km closed track – I passed when they said no V-12 Centuries were available that day.

A quick jaunt past the 113-meter tall Observation Wheel is building #3; Joy Ride – here are several areas that allow children and teens to drive a variety of electrical vehicles on a controlled track.

A great way to spend a Sunday – Honda has a similar, though smaller showcase in a different area of Tokyo – it’s on the calendar for a future visit.