Kingdom of Manufacturing | COLUMN | AMAZING AICHI Japan

Kingdom of Manufacturing

Discover Aichi, the "Kingdom of Manufacturing," through Museums




  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing




  • Karakuri Exhibition Museum
  • Misono Shopping Street Karakuri
  • Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
  • Textile Machinery Pavilion
  • Automobile Pavilion
  • Toyota Automobile Museum
  • Automobile Gallery
  • Cultural Gallery
  • Toyota Kaikan Museum
  • Safety Simulator Experience
  • SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
  • Simulator
  • Ekiben
  • Aichi Museum of Flight
  • Flight simulators
  • planetarium
  • Nagoya City Science Museum


Aichi Prefecture is an industrial area where Toyota and other manufacturing companies are active. The prefecture has ranked number one in shipments of manufactured goods within Japan for over 40 years, leading to it being called the "Heart of the Manufacturing Industry" and the "Kingdom of Manufacturing."

The development of industrial robots has contributed greatly to progress in industry. The origin of this robot technology—which now enables robots to move smoothly and precisely, just like human limbs—could be said to be the Karakuri puppets that flourished on festival stages around 300 years ago.

Karakuri puppets were made to move automatically by way of complicated devices such as strings, springs, and gears. The chariot-shaped festival floats that carried these Karakuri puppets were often made in Aichi Prefecture. Karakuri puppets can perform in various ways, including dancing, acrobatics, transforming, and acting out plays based on mythology. They are one part of what makes festivals so exciting. Those crafting the puppets tried to best each other in mechanical engineering and artistic skills, leading them to refine the way these astonishing Karakuri puppets were produced.

The concept of using advanced technology to give shape to emotions, which has continued from the time of Karakuri puppets, is the essence of manufacturing in Aichi Prefecture today. The secrets to that evolution could come to light in museums. Try to discover them yourself!

Karakuri Exhibition Museum

Inuyama City is the hub of Yama float culture (designated as an Intangible Cultural Property by UNESCO) and Karakuri culture. At the Karakuri Exhibition Museum, you can see actual Karakuri puppets, such as those on Yama floats and tea-carrying puppets that were created to bring tea to guests.
Ninth-generation Karakuri puppet craftsman Shobei Tamaya gives presentations and thorough lectures on the puppets daily, and on Saturdays and Sundays, he shows how they're made. It’s a great chance to see right before your eyes how the puppets move thanks to different mechanisms.

Karakuri Exhibition Museum

Misono Shopping Street Karakuri

If you go west from Misono-za—a theater that hosts kabuki and other performances—you’ll find Misono Shopping Street. This street is lined with restaurants and tool shops that are popular with kabuki actors. On the corner of this street stands a 12-meter-tall Karakuri installation. At set times each day, five Karakuri puppets appear in turn and begin a seven-minute play. The scene they perform is one from a famous kabuki play, "Shiranami Gonin Otoko" (Five Men of the White Waves).

*(1) 10:00 AM (2) 12:00 PM (3) 1:00 PM (4) 3:00 PM (5) 5:00 PM (Five times a day)

Misono Shopping Street Karakuri

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

This museum ranked first in TripAdvisor’s Top 20 Factory Tours in Japan ranking, for four years in a row.
The Toyota Group started in the textile industry. Group founder Sakichi Toyoda devoted his life to developing looms, and his cutting-edge technology contributed greatly to the development of Japan's textile industry. His eldest son, Kiichiro Toyoda, wanted the company to manufacture cars, develop Japan's automobile industry, and enrich people's daily lives. This led to the company starting from scratch and taking on automobile manufacturing.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is built on the site of a test plant Sakichi was using to finish building an automatic loom. Its real machines and demonstrations give you a sense of the company's spirit of research and creativity and the importance of manufacturing.

Textile Machinery Pavilion

Take a look at the gigantic weaving machines lined up by era; if you do, you can see that Sakichi Toyoda kept improving his machines over and over, gradually evolving them.
The most impressive view of them all is seeing the Type G Automatic Loom—said to be the greatest technology in the world in its time—weaving cloth in one sequence with a clamor. Looking at it, you can almost see how lively the factory would've been at that time.

Automobile Pavilion

The Automobile Pavilion features recreations of a material testing machine and prototype plant that Kiichiro used to do material research alongside a recreation of the current automobile manufacturing process, giving you an immersive experience that feels just like visiting a plant. During your visit, you'll surely come to understand that manufacturing is really about creating the future with your own two hands. Furthermore, the feelings of those who want to convey what the founders felt and link together the DNA of manufacturing can be felt in every aspect of the exhibits.

[AichiNow] Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

Toyota Automobile Museum

We recommend freeing up plenty of time to visit this museum because there are so many historically valuable automobiles and automobile-related cultural items that it's almost impossible to have enough time to take in everything. Aside from the exhibits, this museum's shop also draws a crowd. Find tons of original merch you can only get here⁠—even just browsing it all is fun! The Museum Curry (instant) and Spanner Spoons (shaped like spanners) that are also available in the onsite restaurant are big hits.

Automobile Gallery

The Automobile Gallery features displays of around 140 famous automobiles from Japan, Europe, and the US, ranging from those created around the inception of gasoline-powered automobiles in the 19th century to current ones. The gallery boasts a lineup of models that were noteworthy in their time, such as the Toyoda Model AA (the first passenger car produced by Toyota), the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (over five meters long), the Ford Mustang (a big hit in the early 20th century), and the Toyota 2000GT MF10 (a famous Japanese car). They'll surely impress you with their luxury. Most of the vehicles exhibited can also actually be driven.

A new permanent exhibition corner called " Japanese History of Car Making" opened on the second floor in April 2022. The exhibition traces around 70 years of history with the goal of showing how the Japanese automobile industry was established. There are currently 12 automobile manufacturers in the country, and this exhibition showcases how each has worked tirelessly to propel the Japanese automobile industry onto the world stage.

Cultural Gallery

The Automobile Culture Showroom within the Cultural Gallery is based around the theme of "mobility and culture." It has about 4,000 automobile-related cultural items on display, ranging from posters to automobile toys, car mascots, and more.
One interesting area is the unique exhibit that traces the history of automobiles from the mid-18th century to the present day through a timeline of around 800 miniature cars. Other notable sections are a collection of multicolored woodblock prints created around 150 years ago, from the Meiji period onward; a corner that outlines the evolution of Japanese vehicles from horse-drawn carriages to rickshaws, railways, and automobiles; and a corner displaying the covers of about 60 automobile magazines published around the world. Here, you can come to understand the diverse automobile culture that humans have interwoven.

[AichiNow] Toyota Automobile Museum

Toyota Kaikan Museum

The Toyota Kaikan Museum in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture is a corporate exhibition hall where you can see what Toyota Motor Corporation is currently doing to "produce happiness for all."
This museum introduces Toyota's various initiatives—such as its latest environmental and safety technologies and mobility and social contribution work—with videos, exhibits, and hands-on exhibits. There are also many new cars that you can sit behind the wheel of on display at all times.


1) Museum tours
Dates and times: Monday to Saturday at 2:00 PM
Price: Free
Capacity: 20 people, on a first-come, first-served basis
Duration: Approx. 30 minutes

2) Safety Simulator Experience Experience
Dates and times: Monday to Saturday from 9:45 AM to 4:15 PM *Reservation required on the day
Price: Free
Duration: Approx. 10 minutes
*You must meet certain conditions to participate, including being over 150 cm tall and weighing less than 100 kg

3) C+walk T Driving Experience Experience
Dates and times: Monday to Friday from 1:45 PM to 3:30 PM
*First-come, first-served basis No additional participants will be allowed once capacity is reached.
Price: Free
Duration: 5 minutes for a test drive only (including lecture time)
15 minutes for a museum-wide tour (including lecture time)
*You must meet certain conditions to participate, including being over 140 cm and under 185 cm tall, and weighing less than 100 kg

*Please check the museum's website for more information on these experiences.

[AichiNow] Toyota Kaikan Museum

SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

Boasting 39 different trains on display, this museum mainly showcases the Tokaido Shinkansen—a high-speed railway connecting Tokyo to Osaka—as well as other trains ranging from general ones to the SC Maglev (Superconducting Magnetically Levitated Vehicle) being developed right now in Japan. Its exhibits and experiences make it easy for you to understand the history of Japan's railways, how high-speed technology has evolved, and the steps being taken to make trains safer, among other things.


The most popular experience here is a simulator that lets you sit in a real driver's seat and drive an N700 series Shinkansen in the same way you would a real one. This experience gives you a taste of the N700 series' impressive speed. The new SC Maglev featured here is another product of Japan's technological capabilities. Visit the mini theater to see what 500 km/h speed feels like—you'll feel the future ahead coming closer.


There are tons of other things to enjoy here, too. Have you ever heard of "Ekiben"?
Ekiben are boxed meals sold at train stations and on trains. They're not just something to eat while traveling—for Japanese people, they're also something special.
Ekiben in each area are filled with local specialties, often packed in boxes with unusual shapes. They really make traveling feel more exciting.
You can buy them at a shop at this museum, so it's the perfect time to give one a try! You can eat them in the rest area, or in an outdoor N700 series train car display.

Merch featuring the yellow Shinkansen called Doctor Yellow is also popular at the museum's shop. Doctor Yellow trains are not passenger trains; they are Shinkansen that run along tracks to check for distortions and measure the signal current. Many people consider them to be lucky as you don't see them running often. Doctor Yellow merch makes for a great souvenir!

[AichiNow] SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

Aichi Museum of Flight

The Aichi Museum of Flight opened on the site of Nagoya Airport in 2017. It's a place that'll make you long for the sky, teaching and showing you what flight is via the many exhibits and experience programs offered there.
The iconic aircraft in the center is the YS-11, the first commercial aircraft built in Japan after World War II.


The YS-11 flight simulator gives you the experience of piloting the plane by taking you through the takeoff, cruising, and landing stages as you control the yoke and three levers (the throttle, flap control, and landing gear levers).
Your mission is to follow the audio and onscreen guides to take off from Nagoya airport, maintain your altitude, and then land at Fukuoka Airport. Flying safely is important. Your flying will be rated on a scale of one to five after you land, so try your best to assume the role of a true pilot and fly the plane perfectly!


The Flying Box lets you virtually experience what it's like to soar above natural and urban spots around Aichi Prefecture with its giant screen and moving seats.
The theater offers three seven-minute scenic flights: a Nature Flight that takes you around vibrant nature areas, a Historical Flight that shows you how airplanes have evolved, and a Fan Flight that takes you around popular spots in Aichi Prefecture.
You can also go up to the roof to see planes taking off and landing right in front of your eyes! Feel free to relax on a hammock while watching the moment they take off from the runway. It's a wonderful view that's hard to tear your eyes away from.

[AichiNow] Aichi Museum of Flight


This commercial area is in Chubu Centrair International Airport, and you can enter for free.

At FLIGHT PARK, you can get up close and take in the full impact of the first Boeing 787 and see actual aircrafts' cockpits and engines. They also have videos, panels, and other resources with information on aviation and airplanes. The Kids Area is filled with playground equipment and is super popular with children from ages 0 to 12. They can let loose and have fun while taking in the awesomeness of the airplane nearby.

The second and third floors feature a Seattle-inspired food court and restaurants (as Boeing was founded in Seattle) where you can dine while taking in the up-close view of the nearby airplane.


Nagoya City Science Museum

This science museum is popular for its planetarium, which was created to reproduce the starry sky as perfectly as possible. The planetarium's dome is the world's largest by inner diameter at 35 meters and has been recognized by Guinness World Records. A curator there will tell you in real time about astrology and about the stars and constellations visible on the day you visit.


The museum is also famous for its Tornado, Electric Discharge, and Deep Freezing Labs.
In the Tornado Lab, the air that slowly forms a vortex meets rotating air currents and strong updrafts to create a tornado. Seeing it rise like a dragon and turn into a tornado is astonishing!
The Electric Discharge lab features two towering Tesla coils that generate 1.2 million volts of powerful electric sparks that are accompanied by intense electric discharge sounds. The strong energy from these electric fireworks will surprise you every time!
The Deep Freezing Lab enables you to experience extreme cold at -30°C for five minutes. If it's cold enough to freeze even your hair, how will it feel? Find out for yourself here!

[AichiNow] Nagoya City Science Museum